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Happy Turkey Day or whatever!

by Denis Faye - The Nutrition Nerd | November 25, 2010


Between you and me, I’m not a huge Thanksgiving guy. I don’t eat meat, I’m slightly put off by the concept of binging-as-celebration, and I have one of those weird dysfunctional families that doesn’t need a major holiday to get together. So, yes, I suppose I’m a bit of a November Scrooge.

But I’m working on trying to get into the spirit. So it is with much joy and, um, thanks (I guess) that I present the Thanksgiving edition of The Real Fitness Nerd!

Oh, who am I kidding? Here’s another reason to avoid Thanksgiving: According to a new study from McGill University, aggressive behavior actually decreased in men when they were presented with images of meat.

The idea that meat would illicit aggressive behaviour makes sense, as it would have helped our primate ancestors with hunting, co-opting and protecting their meat resources. Kachanoff believed that humans may therefore have evolved an innate predisposition to respond aggressively towards meat, and recruited 82 males to test his theory, using long-established techniques for provoking and measuring aggression. The experiment itself was quite simple – subjects had to punish a script reader every time he made an error while sorting photos, some with pictures of meat, and others with neutral imagery. The subjects believed that they could inflict various volumes of sound, including “painful,” to the script reader, which he would hear after his performance. While the research team figured that the group sorting pictures of meat would inflict more discomfort on the reader, they were very surprised by the results.

“We used imagery of meat that was ready to eat. In terms of behaviour, with the benefit of hindsight, it would make sense that our ancestors would be calm, as they would be surrounded by friends and family at meal time,” Kachanoff explained. “I would like to run this experiment again, using hunting images. Perhaps Thanksgiving next year will be a great opportunity for a do-over!”

Why is that a bad thing, you ask? Well, guys, that may be news to you and me, but clearly women have known this since the moment we set foot on Plymouth Rock. This clearly indicates that Thanksgiving is a fiendish plot to neuter us! The pilgrims and the Native Americans were going at it like rabid wolves: men killing men needlessly, as men should. But then, suddenly, the ladyfolk yelled, “Let’s party, boys!” and busted out a turkey, maybe some ham, probably jerky – I’m pretty sure they ate a lot of that given there was no room for refrigerators on the Mayflower – and BAM! Out of nowhere, the guys were all sitting side-by-side at the table, drinking mead, having a nice meal, and making popcorn necklaces and corn husk dolls for the kids. Completely wrong.

Fortunately, hard winters and a general lack of hunting skills lowered meat supplies, thus foiling the plans of those frontier femme fatales and allowing the menfolk to cowboy-up and resume the senseless violence that makes a nation great.

So don’t fall into the trap tomorrow, fellas. Walk away from the bird. As it turns out, vegetarianism es mas macho.

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