If you used canned cranberries or cranberry sauce, as with any canned food, there is a small risk of botulism. The toxin attacks nerves, causing the quick onset of double vision and droopy eyelids, then progressing to difficulty swallowing and breathing. Most of this can be avoided just by making sure the cans aren’t bulging, leaking, or, in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s words, “badly dented.” How badly? The agency advises avoiding the can if the dent causes sharp edges or is deep enough that you can “lay your finger into” it. If you’re on the fence about not wasting food but also don’t want to poison your family, Colorado’s department of health has a detailed dent guide.
The same goes for canned pumpkin. If you’re getting a frozen pumpkin pie, consider that the production of palm oil, a common ingredient in packaged foods, is a driver of rainforest destruction, and you might have a hand in human-rights abuses that will slowly poison your soul.
Notice here (and with the cranberries) that I’m not even talking about the sugar. That’s not something to worry about on days like this, unless you have diabetes or prediabetes—which about one in three U.S. adults do. In such cases, be extremely careful with sugar.
This is the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. It’s the most dangerous consumable thing you’ll encounter by far, even though it’s unlikely to contain bacteria. Alcohol is toxic to neurons and other bodily cells in even moderate quantities. But, yeah, watch out for lettuce.
Many people now use standing desks to mitigate the adverse health effects of sedentary lives and atrophy of the core, but why not standing dining-room tables? I know it’s a bad idea. If you have a better one, fine.
The room in your home you’re most likely to die in is your bathroom. Obviously you need to go to the bathroom. I’d just get out of there as quickly as possible.
With more people traveling this holiday weekend than any other, an estimated 417 Americans will die of automobile-related injuries. Cars are the most dangerous mode of transportation. Air pollution also kills millions of people every year, and automobile emissions are a primary source of that pollution.
About 50,000 Americans die every year of the flu, contracted from people around them. Compare that to national news about 67 people being sickened by lettuce. Novel risks get our attention, but keep things in perspective. If the flu were something new, we would be on national lockdown, and we would demand that every mucous-y colleague go home immediately.
Still, despite all of these possible tragic ends, or because of them, it’s important to appreciate the moment. All living involves risk. Eating and socializing seem to be big parts of why we are alive, however briefly. Your attention during that time is a finite commodity. The more of it you allocate to worrying about potential danger, the less of it you have to give to the good stuff.