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Protein Overdose: a throwback Thanksgiving Post – peace. love. quinoa

Nov 18

The post I share with you today is a post I wrote on Nov. 27th, 2008. Back then, I lived in Minneapolis, MN, hundreds of miles away from my family. The few years that I lived in MN brought me ambivalence and sensitivity. I would spend Thanksgiving alone (or with a few friends), I would only go back to Indiana to visit my family once a year: Christmas. As I read through this post over and over again, it brings up a lot of memories. Amazing how some things change but some things just stay the same…. Anyway, enjoy this Thanksgiving Throwback. (it’s so good)

As a vegetarian, the #1 question I am asked is: “How do you get enough protein?!?!”

This question is especially annoying because the people who ask are obviously un-educated as to what a well-balanced meal really looks like (their idea of a hearty meal is steak/pork chops/meatloaf, fried potatoes, a dinner roll, and a diet coke).

For those of you curious: vegetables, soy, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains all contain protein


Over the last few decades, wide spread practical experience of the vegetarian diet, knowledge of traditional cultures, and hundreds of health/diet studies all tell a different story.

  • Too much protein is as harmful as too little, and is linked with shorter life expectancy, increased cancer and heart disease risk, widespread obesity and diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney stress, and bad digestion
  • High protein-diets bring about temporary weight-loss, at the expense of overall health, and people quickly regain weight once they return to a normal diet
  • A varied vegetarian diet with a balance of protein, fats & carbohydrates, and adequate calorie intake provides more than enough protein
  • Complete animal protein is not superior to complete protein from more than one plant source – they give the same result in different ways
  • Protein from plant sources doesn’t include excess calories from fat, toxic residues, or an overabundance of protein, which stresses the kidneys


Protein deficiency is very rare in the US and is generally diagnosed in people living in countries suffering from famine. It’s been estimated that the average person in this country eats two – six times more protein, usually from animals, than is needed for good nutrition.

So then comes the question on Thanksgiving: “Am I REALLY NOT going to eat TURKEY on Thanksgiving??” To be completely honest, if i WERE going to eat meat, TURKEY on THANKSGIVING would be the last piece of meat on my list because I know the facts:

  • There are 300 million turkeys killed each year—more than 40 million during the holiday season alone—for human consumption. Turkeys on factory farms have their beaks and toes cut off without pain relief. They are crammed by the tens of thousands into dark, stifling warehouses where disease, smothering, and heart attacks are common. Today’s turkeys are genetically bred to grow so quickly that their bones and leg muscles often give out under the stress of supporting their huge upper bodies. Millions of turkeys die every year from heat exhaustion, freezing, and accidents during transport.
  • Thousands of free-range turkeys are raised in a single warehouse-like structure forced to stand on accumulated fecal waste and breathe in ammonia fumes. These turkeys are then taken to the slaughterhouse through transport containers where they are hung upside down in shackles. There they cry out in fear and pain as they await their own slaughter. Think of how much it hurts when we get a little speck in our eye, and we might understand the degree of suffering that the turkeys are been forced to endure day after day.

The Union of Concerned Scientists points out that 70 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used to treat healthy livestock… 

Anyhow, due to my family being hundreds of miles away, I am spending Thanksgiving at home, alone, with the pooch. I have resorted to the couch, in boy shorts, un-showered, with Forrest Gump on the tube.

The house next door was on fire this AM? 5 Fire Trucks parked outside of my window, Channel 5 news, & LOTS of firemen (including the Chief).

Throughout the week, I have been busy creating my very own little Thanksgiving meal. On the menu: Sweet Potatoe Souflee, Apple Crisp, Butternut Squash Soup, Black Bean Salad, Minnesota Wild Rich & Squash, Spinach Salad, Jalapeno Cornbread, Apple Cider, Cranberry Fruit Salad, and Pumpkin Pie – mostly made from scratch. THAT’s enough to be thankful for. (did i ever mention that i LOVE cooking in my kitchen??)

I rarely get excited about the holidays, for various reasons. The #1 reason tends to be the many obligations that arise: being expected to show thanks, thinking of thoughtful gifts, (gift-giving is no longer natural – it is EXPECTED), the consumption of garb foods, the guilt of gathering with relatives ONLY once a year , and a years worth of the positive & negative life stories (I feel guilty telling a positive story, when everyone else is living in the negative).

I DO enjoy Gift Wrap. (actually, I’m obsessed. I have a collection of wrapping paper, bows, string, glitteratti, need I go on?!?!) 

OH AND, I do enjoy sending Holiday Cards. 

I have been humbled on this day, Nov. 27th, 2008…. Thanksgiving. I will pour one for all my Turkey homies that were literally plumped to death for your dining pleasure. 


Of Calves and Carnivores” in Oct 2008 issue of Mpls St Paul Magazine.

Tagged with → holiday • PETA • protein • Thanksgiving • throwback • turkey • vegan • vegetarian 



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