Drewpy, Itchy and Achey (b 1997, 2000 and 2003) were the fodder for Alison’s writing until they staged an intervention and said ‘Its embarrassing, Mom — make it stop’. Hmmph. So while she stopped publishing a weekly column in about 2013, the internet never goes away 🙂
If you’re feeling a little touch of turkey-itis this week o Thanksgiving, don’t blame it all on the bird. Your fatigue has just as much to do with your Aunt Gertrude’s stuffing and your Uncle Marty’s glass raising cheers of thanks.
Everyone blames Tryptophan, the apparent sleep agent in turkey but I did a little carving out of the truth. The turkey is a wild and crazy friend enjoying a night out with pals – not a date boring you with his early memories of the farm.
Yes, your main course has Tryptophan and in the body, that produces niacin. Niacin jumps right in there and produces the oh-so-calming, nappy time serotonin. Mmmm, big breath now…in through your nose … out through your mouth. And while this serotonin is indeed a sleep regulator, there’s a problem (and it’s not as far a stretch as the snooze bar). For Tryptophan to be the main suspect in slowing you down, it needs to be taken on an empty stomach and most definitely without protein. Good job, my dear Watson. So Tommy the Protein-packed Turkey is not working alone. Let’s get back to the scene of the crime – the buffet line – and the stuffing. What do we really know about Aunt Estelle anyway?
We know she carted in the high on the carb-o-meter gizzard-packed stuffing. It’s these high carbs that make the pancreas secrete insulin (not often that I can fit the word secrete into a column). Boom! Insulin makes competing amino acids check out of the bloodstream and in to the muscle cells, leaving a high level of Tryptophan swimming in the blood which makes you feel a smidge sleepy. But the Tryp to Snoozeville isn’t over yet.
In docks the gravy boat and you stir in the very fats that slow down digestion. Your stomach sucks all the energy out of the rest your body to deal with what came down the oesophageal pike. So the captain, your brain, sends out a message to return to your seat and settle in for the journey.
Alcohol gets a big pat on the back for its contribution to the nap-needing, too. By dessert, Uncle Marty has expressed thanks by way of a toast to family, sunny days, the CBC, Don Cherry, Viagra and shelled peanuts. Booze is a depressant for the central nervous system.
And overeating. Is there a big enough plate in the Country to lay host to the Thanksgiving Day feast? We shove, squeeze, jam and hoist food into our mouths with one hand while we reach for another buttered roll with the other. In the mere presence of turkey, we become pigs. It’s a ‘he who eats the fastest, gets the most’ world.
As the meal comes to an end, with Uncle Marty sleeping with his hand still gripping the wine glass and Aunt Estelle reminiscing about her Grandma Trudy that passed down that stuffing recipe, we push back our chairs and decompress. This relaxation, after an action packed, family filled holiday, provides the slow down and stretch out that’s the final straw to break the groggy camels back. You’re too pooped to even think about the yummy leftovers.
You lean back on the couch and cover your mouth with your hand as you let out a big yawn (and then reach for a napkin because you find a little piece of pumpkin pie on your upper lip). Soon, you snuggle back in and realize what you’re really thankful for. You’re thankful you’ll wake up after your nap – Tommy the Turkey has sadly sung his last swan song.
Hope the holiday was lovely for you all. I’m thankful you keep reading so I can keep writing.0