While I had a particularly morose and introspective Thanksgiving, I still did like I do every year and go to my relatives house for the annual Turkey feast.
The one thing I did differently this year, was arrive early this year to help my Aunt out with the dinner preparations. What I saw her doing appalled me. I had no idea...
Everything that went into the dinner that she was making, was somehow pre-prepared, pre-cooked, frozen, canned or boxed. Of course, even though I already knew what I was going to find, I still surreptitiously looked at the ingredients of all the "food" products she used. This year, everything...and I mean EVERYTHING had partially hydrogenated oils in it (not to mention MSG). The gravy, the dinner rolls, the stuffing, the pre-made pie crusts for the pumpkin pie...and of course, "low-fat" and "cholesterol free" margarine in place of butter for the mashed potatoes and to spread on the rolls. Even the Turkey was pre-basted with a coating that included this vile franken-food in it.
I tried my best to limit my intake of the foods containing it...I ate turkey meat without any of the skin (oh how I LOVE crispy turkey skin that has been basted with real butter while it's baking....) and used the high fructose corn syrup cranberry sauce instead of the pre-made gravy. I scooped out the pumpkin pie filling and threw out the crust. But in the spirit of the holidays, I did have some stuffing and mashed potatoes, and I spooned the drippings from the turkey pan onto them for a makeshift, non-thickened gravy.
It was a literal "pick your poison" meal.
Since my Grandmother died several years ago, my Aunt had taken over as the host for Thanksgiving every year. My Grandmother used to make everything from scratch. Everything. She would have thrown a fit if she saw my aunt use all of that pre-made garbage....but for my Aunt, who has a big family, convenience and time-saving is more important than actually preparing real, nutritious and wholesome food.
Now, I largely eat a "paleo" diet, but I do follow what Mark Sisson calls the 80/20 principle. For me...Thanksgiving is a real treat. A splurge. It's the one time I indulge in dinner rolls, pie, cake, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the other carbs I normally limit or avoid. But this partially hydrogenated, monosodium glutemate-laced, processed food crap really put a damper on my enjoyment of my annual, much relished carb-binge.
Some might think I may be psychologically ruining my enjoyment of the meal...that one wouldn't notice the difference if you only ate a single meal loaded with that stuff.
As someone who avoids it like the plague, I notice a very real difference in how the stuff affects me over time...namely, asthma and allergies.
Ever since I changed my diet and began eating healthy, focusing on healthy sources of fats, and avoiding processed foods and Omega 6 imbalanced hydrogenated crap, my asthma and allergies that I've suffered from for almost my entire life, have virtually disappeared. For three days after Thanksgiving, I've had multiple asthma and allergy attacks. Is it psychosomatics or a very real inflammatory response to that processed crap?
My allergies and asthma symptoms are largely due to my allergens to dust and dust mites. So the day after Thanksgiving, I cleaned all of my bedding and sheets and vacuumed up my living space. In the past, when I did start to experience mild symptoms, a quick wash in hot water and a vacuuming of my bedroom usually did the trick and my symptoms would disappear.
Not this time. I've used more asthma medication in the past week than I have for the entire year. I believe it really is related to the overdose of hydrogenated vegetable oil that is largely responsible.
I'm finally, completely symptom free again, 5 days later.. I'm thoroughly convinced that the pro-inflammatory hydrogenated oils is responsible for my adverse reactions...especially since asthma is primarily a problem of the inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
Consumption of high levels of partially hydrogenated oils can increase inflammation in the body. In addition, they also can inhibit the enzymes necessary for reducing inflammation, compounding the effect. Inflammation within the blood vessels can trigger the buildup of plaque and damage blood vessel walls.
I'm thinking of offering to host Thanksgiving next year, just so I don't have to eat that poison again...either that, or just eat my own meal with my wife before going over to there house.