Quick tips for a safe and healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving-turkey-shared-via-creative-commons-by-Betty-Crocker-RecipesAs tens of millions of us set out to feast and give thanks, some thoughts about making the holiday safe and healthy:

Turn off the e-devices when driving

When driving to see friends and family, shut off the electronic devices, please, and forgo the apps on them, as long as you’re the one behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Administration says that, after a half century of declines, traffic fatalities in 2015 recorded their largest percentage leap in a half century—and in the first half of 2016, the figures are up 10.4 percent more over last year (17,775 road deaths). Officials say distracted driving is reaching deadly levels, especially as motorists tap devices and apps to send meaningless texts or take selfies. This already has proved fatal to innocent others, including  multiple-vehicle wrecks.  I deal in my practice with the tragic aftermath of the carnage that vehicles and negligent drivers can inflict. When you’re behind the wheel, you’re responsible for what can become a multi-ton missile. Be safe. If you’re under the influence—due to alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs— rely on a sober, designated driver.  Or take a taxi or tap Uber or Lyft. Or sleep on the couch or floor. We’ll be thankful you did.

It’s a feast for family and friends—not a verbal boxing match

Try to remember that the folks you feast with are loved ones, no matter how different their political views may be. The 2016 presidential elections are over, and they won’t be redecided in a tongue-lashing over turkey. If you must discuss politics, religion, sex, money, or other challenging topics during holiday gatherings of family and friends, keep the collective stress and blood pressure in check with reasonable discourse.  Don’t take lightly that the just concluded campaign was unusually stressful for all too many Americans.

Just to keep things in perspective: If you think your Thanksgiving will be challenging, take the time to read about two political families and how complex the conflicting health care roles of some young members will make their get-togethers. These are interesting times in the clan of former Secretary of State George Shultz and his grandson Tyler, who was a whistleblower in the meltdown of the high-tech blood testing firm Theranos. It’s also true for the extended Trump family, where Joshua Kushner, younger brother of the president-elect’s favored son-in-law Jared, has reasons to support the Obamacare that his GOP family wants to dismantle.

Try to eat healthy

Moderation matters.  A typical Thanksgiving dinner can be a giant diet buster, adding 3,000 calories from one sitting. As one dietary organization says on its site, “Stuff the bird, not yourself.” Remember that sugary or alcoholic beverages only amp up the calorie count. Before the televised sports dominate the day, build in time for a walk before and after the meal.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I’m thankful that you read my posts.


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