Words On Wellness • Turkeys
Most Americans associate November with that ‘turkey time’ of year and the celebration of Thanksgiving feast. Whole menus are planned around the bird, who is a direct descendant of the wild turkeys we enjoy watching in our fields and woodlands. If you every wondered what wild turkeys eat, you should know that they are some of the most diverse feeders in the bird world.
If turkeys planned a thanksgiving feast, it would include: acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, all seeds and grains, huckleberries, blackberries, thimbleberries, raspberries, strawberries (they love berries), wild grapes, crabapples and other small fruits, small lizards, slugs, snails, snakes, flower heads, buds, roots, bulbs, succulents and cacti, worms, grasshoppers, caterpillars, tender greens, plus sand and small gravel for grit to aid proper digestion. Basically a nutrient-rich diet with enough roughage to process it – exemplars of sound nutritional practice.
They naturally adapt their diet to what is available in the season but must swallow their food whole. The material is stored in the bird’s crop to be digested little by little with the help of the gravel-filled gizzard. This means after eating, turkeys will usually roost quietly for several hours while they digest their meal. That’s what most of us need to do after a holiday meal as well. We have a much different digestive tract, which works faster, but even so, our digestion is always improved by slowing down after eating. Resting in quiet activity or even a nap, for at least 20 minutes after a meal, can boost the initial digestion in your stomach and allow the contents to pass along easier into the small intestine. This reduces any tendency towards hiatal hernia, heartburn and indigestion. Relaxed activity for the two hours after eating facilitates better absorption of nutrients and more efficient passage of waste.
Turkeys also demonstrate how eating with family can be a mellow and joyful experience if we keep it simple. Just listen for their water-flowing-over-rocks call in the early mornings and around sundown as the group leisurely grazes and talk with each other while doing so. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of this season, but you might consider letting turkey medicine slow you down.
Photo by Michael L. Baird.
Karin is at http://rainbowconnection.net.