In 1621, 90 Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe made a two-day journey on foot to Plymouth Plantation to break bread with the Pilgrims for what is traditionally known as the first Thanksgiving. After a two-month, 3,000-mile voyage aboard the Mayflower and a winter in which they may not have survived without the help of the Wampanoag people, the Pilgrims were extremely thankful.
Only one written account of the first Thanksgiving exists and turkey isn’t mentioned. The main course was likely duck, which was plentiful in the waterfront village, and venison, a gift from the Wampanoag. The meat was probably roasted over an open fire. Seafood, cabbage, onions, corn and squash were likely served as well.
Regardless of what my kids might tell you, I’m not old enough to have attended the first Thanksgiving celebration. But there’s one thing I can tell you for sure – there were no processed foods whatsoever.
This is a tradition that can make Thanksgiving healthier and a lot more fun. Continue the tradition of all-natural foods, made from scratch. Think about how you could bridge generations by making the preparation of your Thanksgiving feast a part of the festivities, introducing younger generations to old family recipes.
As for the turkey, deep frying seems to be a popular trend, but that’s so unhealthy. We’re talking about the Thanksgiving turkey, not an order of fries. A roasted or smoked turkey is definitely the way to go – just like that first Thanksgiving.
Replace salt, cream, butter and sugar with fresh herbs, spices and seasonal vegetables that add just as much flavor. Serve a platter of raw vegetables as an appetizer and fresh fruit for dessert. Most young children are more likely to eat fruit than pie, and we should encourage that.
One thing many people may not realize about the first Thanksgiving is that there was a lot of singing, dancing and games. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching football, get on your feet, run around and have some fun!
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and have an eight-ounce glass of water before bed and when you get up the next morning. On the day after Thanksgiving, go vegetarian for the day, with lots of dark green leafy vegetables and fruit – and keep drinking plenty of water. You’ll need the energy to battle the crowds at the mall.
When it comes to our diet and taking our health back, Thanksgiving is just like any other day of the year. We simply need to make smart choices. It’s perfectly fine to have a slice of pie on a special occasion as long as one slice doesn’t turn into two or three.
This is the year of the family, and no holiday says “family” like Thanksgiving, and I encourage you to make good nutrition and food preparation a fun part of your family tradition. On behalf of the Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies, I’d like to wish you and your family the very best for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
Information about the first Thanksgiving is courtesy of Scholastic.com