Thanksgiving Program

November 21st, 2012

We here at Business Matters wish our U.S. listeners a joyous Thanksgiving! This week’s show takes a deeper look at some of our Thanksgiving traditions. What is the real impact of that big bird in the center of the table? How might we reconsider the impact of our personal offerings to one another? And how are we changed when we truly experience gratitude?

We find that our “meat and potatoes” culture was not always so heavily balanced in the meat direction. Americans consume three times the global average, and our consumption is startlingly higher than it was just eighty years ago. At that time, the average farm owned 23 chickens. The vast changes in the agriculture industry may have gone widely unnoticed by the average American, but in order to understand and combat current environmental and health challenges, assessing the effects of these changes is crucial.

Another thing that has changed significantly since the first Thanksgiving is the idea of commerce. Beyond the commercial interactions that we have today, and even beyond bartering is the idea of the “gift economy,” common among Native American tribes and other aboriginal groups. We discuss the idea of giving without expectation of an equal exchange, yet with the knowledge that we will undoubtedly receive more than what we’ve given, if we give with an open heart.

Finally, we discuss how living life with a grateful heart affects what happens in our experience. We learn about the research currently being done in this realm and discover a key distinction between highly effective and less effective expressions of gratitude.

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Jonathan Safron Foer, Author

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. His book that we discuss in this episode is called Eating Animals. His work has received numerous awards and been translated into thirty-six languages. Jonathan’s newest novel, Escape from Children’s Hospital, will be released in 2014. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.



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Lewis Hyde, Author and Scholar, on Giving

Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. His 1983 book, The Gift, illuminates and defends the non-commercial portion of artistic practice. Hyde is currently at work on a book about our “cultural commons,” that vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past and continue to produce. Hyde teaches during the fall semesters at Kenyon College, where he is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. During the rest of the year he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

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Douglas Vermeeren, Personal Development Teacher, Film Producer

Doug Vermeeren has been called the modern day Napoleon Hill, speaking to audiences worldwide about achievement and goal-setting. His embrace of some of the “softer” skills in life, such as practicing kindness, as success-promoting habits, has set him apart from other motivational speakers and has led him to promote and reveal research on these skills. He produced the film, The Opus, about creating a personal legacy, and is now in production for his new film, The Gratitude Experiment. You can learn more about Douglas by visiting his website,

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For more information about how a reduction in meat consumption would affect the planet:

If you’re interested in a tasty turkey that doesn’t include meat, here’s how the Tippins family celebrates Thanksgiving:

Stuffed Nut Loaf “Turkey”

Ingredients 3 cups hazelnuts 2 cups pecans 1 cup pumpkin seeds 1 cup ground golden flaxseeds 1 bunch scallions 2 lemons, juiced 6 Tbs Bragg’s Liquid Aminos 1 white onion 3 cloves garlic 1 Tbs fresh rosemary (dried is fine as a substitute) 2 Tbs marjoram ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
If desired, soak hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds overnight for easier digestion. Drain and rinse. Put all hazelnuts, pecans, and garlic in food processor and mix well until ground. Add pumpkin seeds and whir until ground. Add remaining ingredients to make a smooth dough.
Ingredients 2 cups prunes, pitted and diced 2 fresh apples, coarsely shredded 1 ½ cups chestnuts or Pistachios (soaked for one hour, if desired) 2 Tbs Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1. Chop nuts in food processor. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Cover the serving platter with a thick layer of the nut loaf and work the sides up, so it will contain the stuffing. Place stuffing inside loaf and top with more stuffing.
3. You can use a rectangular serving dish and make it meat loaf shaped, or you can round it out and go for the turkey shape. We like to add drumsticks that are filled with stuffing. What other kind of turkey has those? You can use scallion ends to stick out the bottom of the drumsticks as the “bones.”
4. Dehydrate up to eight hours at 105 degrees, or eat it as is!

For additional perspectives on the gift economy and how it is affecting modern businesses, see

And to further explore the idea of gratitude, here are some useful links:

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