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How To Plan A Safe And Delicious Thanksgiving; The First Ironman With Down Syndrome

Thanksgiving food and staying safe around the holidays. Plus, the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon.

On this Tuesday, Nov. 24 episode of Sundial:

Planning a Safe And Delicious Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving is going to be different than ever before.

With COVID-19 cases rising, many families are forgoing the classic dinner and resolving to meet virtually over a platform like Zoom.

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Still, some families are meeting in person. TSA reports suggest that even though travel will be less than last year –– the number of travelers is worrying experts.

The CDC recommends not seeing anyone outside your household. Gatherings with people outside of your household can increase your chances of getting COVID-19.

“I understand that this traveling is happening. What I start thinking about is the health facilities in the area and how close they are to be able to handle these conditions,” said Dr. Eudene Harry, the medical director for Oasis Wellness in Central Florida. “Let's not let our guard down while we are traveling, because it's really important to pay attention to that. Sometimes we can get back into old patterns and it's really important that we not do that.”

Harry joined Sundial to talk about how you can keep your loved ones safe this holiday season.

How To Plan A Safe Thanksgiving

Also this holiday season, you might be setting a smaller table, but that’s still no reason to skimp on a traditional grandiose feast.

“I see people wanting to do like a turkey breast versus a whole turkey because a lot of people are trying to be mindful to not have more than six or eight people in the house. And that's a lot of turkey. When you got an eighteen-pound bird,” said chef Norman Van Aken on Sundial. He hosts the program “A Word on Food,” which can be heard on WLRN on Saturdays.

Gretchen Schmidt, the editor of Edible South Florida, and Karen Stanley, the owner of MK Takeaways and Yummy In My Tummy also joined Sundial to talk about some ways to cook up a low key meal and make the holidays special this year.

Cooking Up A Low Key Meal This Thanksgiving

The First Ironman With Down Syndrome

Chris Nikic is the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.

That includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.22-mile run. He finished the race earlier this month in less than 17 hours in Panama City Beach, Florida.

But Chris wasn’t always in ironman shape, as a teen it took him six months to really learn to ride a bike on his own. He’s also endured open-heart surgery and more recently, extensive ear surgery that left him homebound for two years.

“You have to live a happy life. Whatever you do, do it with a smile,” he said on Sundial.

Chris and his father, Nik Nikic, adopted the philosophy of getting better by just one percent each time –– not testing the limits, but instead incrementally achieving just a little more than the day before.

“He's an example to others like him,” Nik Nikic said on Sundial. “That's what we're hoping with the message is to everybody, when they look at Chris, they look in the mirror and they say, ‘you know what, I could probably be a little bit better. I could probably do a little bit more.’ And if that helps people become a better person, then I think God has given him a great purpose.”

The First Ironman With Down Syndrome

WLRN Sundial intern and production assistant Suria Rimer contributed to this story.

Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.