Yorkies and Tryptophan by DeAnn Smallwood

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. Why? ‘Cause of the yummy, delicious, turkey dinner. I also enjoy my nap that comes after I gorge myself on the golden brown, roasted turkey and all the other mouthwatering dishes. It’s due to that culprit…TRYPTOPHAN in the turkey, making my body feel heavy and my eyes wanting to close. Wrong! Let me explain.

Tryptophan is a nutrient. It’s one of the naturally occurring amino acids. Amino acids are building blocks for muscle. They are also a starter compound for our neurotransmitters. Our body can’t make tryptophan on its own. We have to get it from food protein. So here’s the common belief regarding the famous post Thanksgiving nap: Eating all that yummy turkey puts tryptophan in our blood. There it quickly goes to our brain where it is converted to serotonin. Aha! Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can make you sleepy. Look out recliner here we come. Hold on football game while I let that culprit turkey have its way…tryptophan and serotonin at work.

SPOILER ALERT !!! There is no more tryptophan in turkey than in chicken or beef. In fact, nuts and cheese contain more. Certainly there isn’t enough to make you sleepy. The poor bird has been maligned. The “turkey coma” comes from our feasting on the delicious and abundant Thanksgiving meal. We (I know I do) stuff ourselves full to exploding then we nap so we can wake up and indulge in round two of the feast. Pumpkin pie and whip cream comes to mind. Maybe a slice of apple topped with ice cream.

In light of all this, the Yorkies want to know if fur babies (dogs to some) can have turkey Thanksgiving? According to the American Kennel Club, yes, they can. Meat only…no skin. No stuffing, nix on the pumpkin pie, and any other rich ingredients, spices or butter that can cause pancreatitis or digestive ailments. They also can have potatoes if not too heavily buttered, sweet potatoes and peas. So set a plate for these babies after all, Thanksgiving is really all about giving thanks for our blessings. And aren’t these Angels Among Us a blessing?


This blog has been a little harder to write since I no longer have my little Yorkie, Stormy, to help me. She passed away in October. My other two Yorkies, Eli and Peyton, are doing their best and so am I. We miss her. She took pieces of our hearts with her.

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1 Response to Yorkies and Tryptophan by DeAnn Smallwood

  1. sueberger3 says:

    My son went vegan on me and now we have to figure out a new Thanksgiving feast. I’m sorry for the loss of your fur baby. Happy Thanksgiving to you

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