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Do you remember newsreels before movies, Blackjack chewing gum, roller skate keys, Butch wax, party lines, and cereal with prizes in the box? Did your mom buy her groceries at a particular grocery store just to get that free dinner plate? Did the groceries come with an added bonus – S&H Green Stamps?

The numbers are surprising: The average American consumes 7,000 milligrams of sodium per day. That far exceeds the daily intake recommendation, which is less than 2,500 mg (and even less if you have high blood pressure).

What will be on your dinner table when you dine with your nearest and dearest for the holidays? Thanksgiving (especially) and Christmas are often an open invitation to overeating and drinking too much. Consuming becomes a measure of a successful holiday.

Family and food are everything to Portland chef Josh Gibler. In fact, the one word Gibler uses with heartfelt feeling is “family,” as he remembers holidays as joyous and fun occasions with his large Italian family gathered at his grandparents’ house when he was growing up. Those holiday gatherings were loud with cousins, aunts and uncles, and other grandparents who arrived for Thanksgiving and Christmas, sharing news, stories and laughter.

November and December are popular months for having surgery, as health insurance deductibles are met. But before you go under the knife, first take a close look at what’s on your fork and spoon. What you eat — and how much you eat — can help how your body heals.