Friday, November 25, 2005

L-Tryptophan and the Sacred Turkey; fact or fiction?

I want to take a poll among my readers: Who has experienced the state of post Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey Lethargy? I used to think it was an urban legend ( being tired was just a result of eating too much food, I thought)...until yesterday when I fell prey to its undeniable power.

It being the day of Thanksgiving, I partook of a great feast around one in the afternoon. The thing was, my plate wasn't particularly piled high with food. I took moderate portions of most things on the table, and yet, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of acute drowsiness throughout the afternoon. It's a family joke that I always have to seek refuge on the couch and lie down near the end of a long meal. But eventually, as time wears on, I generally perk up again. This time, I felt droopier and loopier throughout the day. The only thing that kept me awake was the knowledge that I shouldn't sleep with my contacts in my eyes, and I had no way to remove them, my solution and case being at home. Ah well. It wasn't an awful thing; it was actually kind of pleasant to be groggy. Being tired makes funny things even funnier.

Brad and Nate were talking about L- tryptophan, the chemical thing in turkey that makes one feel sleepy. ( For pictures of their carcass picking prowess, visit Penny's blog.) I thought about it and wondered if perhaps the Indians used to have some sort of explanation for this phenomenon in the form of a tale about the Revenge of the Turkey. I imagine it would go something like this... Turkeys are sacred birds and should not be eaten. ( Who knows? Maybe this is the reason for the later conflict between the natives and the settlers. Although, I suppose the natives never would have consented to eating that dinner in the first place if they had known it was turkey...But then, I am totally making this up... Sigh. The pitfalls of historical revisionism...But BACK to the fake legend at hand...) If a turkey is killed, the spirit of the butchered turkey ( that sounds funny- I think of only cows and pigs as being butchered- but why shouldn't it apply to poultry as well?) comes back to haunt the eater and afflicts him by causing him to sink into a state of severe sleepiness, thus exacting revenge upon his predator. Hmmm...Kind of a wimpy revenge, I guess, but then, the Turkey doesn't strike me as a particularly powerful or valiant creature. Ben Franklin and I are in sharp disagreement there. I believe I have mentioned before on this blog how he wanted to make the Turkey our national bird. Well, I guess, in a backwards kind of way, it kind of has become our national bird. I mean, practically the whole nation eats it on the same day of the year. How much more unifying can a bird be?

Somehow, I don't think bald eagle would taste as good...but that is neither here nor there...

13 comments:

KW said...

THANK U FOR WRITING ANOTHER NEW POST, as I am writing this while my poor,itchy, sick child lies on the couch and I can at least surf while I'm here.....speaking of tiredness..

Loreo said...

I am a turkey-makes-you-tired believer! At least on Thanksgiving! I had to lie down on my Mom's couch for a little while so I could get my strength up for the puzzle! And then Zoe and William fought over who was going to lay right next to me.

Jill said...

I was totally wiped out on Thursday too! Only I figured it was from fixing the meal and drinking Martinelli's, which always makes my blood sugar dip. But maybe there is something to the turkey thing. The chemicals they put in turkeys are pretty scary. The less we know the better!

DJ said...

I don't know if it is true or not, but I've seen ads on tv about the effect, so hey,it must be true, right?

Cause if it is on tv, EVERYBODY knows it's true! lol.

I wish I knew. Maybe you should get a gov't grant and do a study. I will be a test subject, as long as the turkey is nice and tender :) haahaha...

Me said...

I'm always sleepy after turkey, to be sure! I hear bananas have that tripto stuff too... but I ate them every day for breakfast in India and never felt sleepy afterwards. Maybe the turkey thing also has to do with the fact that we EAT it right before siesta time...?

lis said...

Turkey being our national bird: very clever! I haven't really noticed the sleepy bit myself, but then I am unusually sleep resistant...

TripleNine said...

I'm half asleep all the time anyway, so I don't usually notice it. Maybe I'll join you in your experiment and eat turkey every night before I go to bed to see if I sleep better or not.

Laughter said...

Hahaha...

the Joneses said...

According to Snopes.com, this is indeed an urban legend. According to them, the real culprit is the massive intake of carbs (mmmmm - stuffing!) we ingest with the turkey.

--DJ

DJ said...

Ahh, and who is this "supposed" snopes? are they trustworthy? maybe they read claires blog, then made up a website to fool everyone! Conspiracy, that is what I say!

the Joneses said...

Ryu, thus saith your older cousin: "You need to engage in serious meditation upon Isaiah 8:12."

--DJ

DJ said...

Lol!!!!

KW said...

Encore, encore......