Know your turkey facts … don’t believe the turkey hype! The holidays are here; time to loosen the belt buckle, stretch out on the couch, and nap from all the turkey you stuffed yourself with.
If you’re like me, you may have heard all your life that turkey makes you so tired from all the tryptophan it contains, which is just a fancy word for an acid that blocks the consumption of protein and, in combination with carbs, releases feel-good chemicals in your brain called serotonin. But, as it turns out, turkey actually has less tryptophan than chicken.
Here are some additional fun facts about the gobbler that may make you feel a little bit better about indulging this holiday season.
- Turkey doesn’t make you sleepy, overeating does. As we discussed above, the amino acid tryptophan, found in almost all types of poultry, is not the culprit for your two hour nap on the couch. When you ate a plate of wings at your last football party, you probably consumed the same amount. What does make you tired is the heavy, carbohydrate loaded meal in the middle of the day. If you want to avoid the sleepy feeling, try eating your dinner off of a saucer instead of a full sized plate. You’ll eat half as much and skip the “crash” feeling later.
- Turkey has protein. And a lot of it. Protein keeps your blood sugar balanced and your stomach full, so it’s a great lean-meat choice if eaten in a regular portion along with some veggies.
- It’s low in fat… If you take the skin off (that would be the most delicious part) and stick to white meat instead of dark (again…delicious).
- Get your vitamins! Turkey is chock full of iron, zinc, potassium, B6 and niacin.
- You can buy it organic…which means skipping all those nasty pesticides and herbicides. And, if you shoot your own, you’ll know it was grass fed and humanely treated until its last days. (Plus, you get to feel like a rock star for successfully hunting it.)
- You can…wait for it…GRILL it! Dissolve 1.5 cups kosher salt and .25 cups brown sugar in 2 gallons of cold water. Add herbs like rosemary or thyme, along with onions and garlic. Let the bird sit in the brining liquid overnight. Rinse well, place over indirect charcoal heat, cover, and grill for 2.5 hours or until the meat thermometer reads 175 degrees. Bam.
Now you’re informed and ready to be the know-it-all at the Thanksgiving table this year. Armed with these tips, you’ll be wide awake and drawing on your loved ones’ faces with a sharpie while they’re in dream land.
Without all the turkey hype … just the turkey facts.