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The Globe - - OPINION -

We’re putt i ng t oo much t urkey on our f orks. We’re scoop­ing up t oo big a port i on of sweet pota­toes on our spoons. I t ’s no sur­prise t hat many peo­ple gain over f i ve pounds of weight dur­ing t he hol­i­day sea­son.

There’s no end of hol­i­days at t his t i me of year. And holi days usher i n days of endl ess eat­ing. We won­der how much sig­nif­i­cance a hol­i­day would gen­er­ate if f ood were not part of t he day. Thanks­giv­ing, Hanukkah, Christ- mas and Kwan­zaa bring f orth t houghts of t he past, prayers, sym­bols and, of course, l ots of f ood.

Thanks­giv­ing has come a l ong way since i t s be­gin­ning but we still gather f or a big meal j ust as t he Pil­grims and t he I ndi­ans did i n 1621. We en­joy t he mem­o­ries of t he f i r st Thanks­giv­ing i n which t he Wam­panoag I ndi­ans of Mas­sachusetts and Rhode I sland pro­vided some of t he f ood f or t hose hun­gry Pil­grims in Ply­mouth, Mass. Ac­cord­ing t o l egend, Cap­tain Myles Stan­dish, who sailed f r om Eng­land with t he Pil­grims on t he Mayflower, presided over t he meal.

Pres­i­dent Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton be­lieved in Thanks­giv­ing but it was Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln who pushed for a Na­tional Thanks­giv­ing Day in 1863 to be ob­served on the last day of Novem­ber. In 1939 Pres­i­dent Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt moved the hol­i­day for­ward a week to the sec­ond from the last Thurs­day in Novem­ber in or­der to stretch the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son. This did not work out and, in 1941, Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt and a Joint Res­o­lu­tion of Congress moved the hol­i­day to the fourth Thurs­day of Novem­ber.

This year, 2012, and again i n 2017 and 2018, Thanks­giv­ing will be ob­served on t he f ourth Thurs­day of Novem­ber but t hat won’t be t he l ast Thurs­day of t he month. Thanks­giv­ing i n 2013 will be on Nov. 28, i n 2014 on Nov. 27, i n 2015 on Nov. 26, and on Nov. 24 i n 2016. Hanukkah be­gins on Satur­day night, Dec. 8, Christ­mas and New vear ’s Day are on Tuesdays and Kwan­zaa, will be ob­served f r om Dec. 26 t o Jan. 1 with a f east on Dec. 31.

On all t he hol­i­days, a f east i s part of t he ob­ser­vance. As we r ecall t he past, we eat and eat. Some­times we get sleepy f r om t he t r yp­to­phan in t he t urkey. Why at hol­i­day t i me, are we able t o eat so much? I t could be t he wine or j ust t he end­less con­ver­sa­tion f r om f am­ily and f r i ends.

The av­er­age per­son eats more t han 1,600 calo­ries at Thanks­giv­ing. To r uin your eat­ing en­joy­ment we of­fer some calo­rie sta­tis­tics f or t he Thanks­giv­ing meal: 6 ounces of white meat, dark meat or cured ham are ap­prox­i­mately 340 calo­ries. A half- cup of stuff­ing will con­tain about 180 calo­ries and 500 mg. of sodium and 4 grams of f at. A half- cup of cran­berry sauce 250 calo­ries, half- cup of gravy 150 calo­ries, half- cup of mashed pota­toes 150 calo­ries, a half- cup of can­died sweet pota­toes 150 calo­ries. A half- cup of sweet pota­toes with marsh­mal­lows 300 calor i es and 20 grams of su­gar. One piece of pecan pie 480 calo­ries, one piece of ap­ple pie 400 calo­ries, one piece of pump­kin pie 180 calo­ries.

En­joy t he hol­i­day! Just swal­low l ess.

Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man can be reached at tcgn@mont­gomerynews.com.

Dr.mil­ton Fried­man

Health& Sci­ence

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