Talking Turkey

Looking to make your Thanksgiving feast more sustainable and organic—or even vegan?


Your options are rapidly expanding!
Unlike those frozen birds that have been bred to reach maturity in only a few months thanks to growth hormones, free-range turkeys have been allowed to roam like those wild birds the Pilgrims enjoyed. Also look for antibiotic-free poultry to help slow the steady proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria.
Organic turkeys have the additional benefit of eating pesticide-free feed. At roughly $3.50 a pound, organic birds provide papery white meat and moist, tasty dark meat.
If price is no issue, heritage turkeys are starting to win over traditionalists. But despite their flavor, these birds tend to be chewy.
Vegans go for Tofurky, a soy-based substitute that comes with its own gravy. But that’s only one of the alternative “birds” out there. A combination of vegetables and plant-based proteins (pea, soy, and wheat), gardein stuff’d turk’y roast comes in individual servings—each stuffed with dried cranberries, long-grain and wild rice, plus traditional seasonings.  Or simply serve plenty of fall veggies: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut and other hard-skinned squash, cabbage, carrots, kale, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes.
Don’t forget organic dairy either. Whether you want just a little butter to melt into  whole-grain rolls or cream to whip for pie topping, organic dairy comes from happy livestock with access to pasture and given organic feed, free of antibiotic drugs, pesticidies, and synthetic growth hormones.
Because fatty tissue in the body harbors environment toxins, we can all benefit from organic fats and oils. Organic foods are currently the only foods certified to be grown without the use of sewage sludge, found to contain pharmaceutical drugs, environmental toxins, and who-knows-what pathogens.  Once again, organic comes up a winner! Comparing matched pairs of foods, organic is nutritionally superior to nonorganic, higher in antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, and lycopene and quercetin.