Fall brings a sweet assortment of memories to my mind. In grade school years, I remember our teachers discussing pilgrims and Indians, feasts and friends. Thankfulness and later generosity during Christmastime were definitely the overarching themes of our lessons towards the end of each year. In high school and college, this is when the anticipation of classes letting out for holidays began to grow, and I’ll admit doodling quite a few pumpkins in the margins of my notes. As an adult, I now look forward to decorating my house with pumpkins, gourds and swags of fall leaves. And since I live in Texas, as soon as there is even a hint of crispness in the air, I begin itching to break out my fluffy sweaters and tall boots – despite the fact it is still 75 degrees out. I also yearn for fall scents such as pumpkin spice and cinnamon to fill the rooms of my house, and I start thinking of things I can bake for friends and neighbors. Fall might not last very long in the lone star state, but I try to stretch it out as long as possible! Most importantly, I remember how Thanksgiving is something we should celebrate during every season, not just Fall. It is a lesson that never gets old and how tragic if it did! We have so much for which to be genuinely thankful, and as we mature as Christians I believe those things become even clearer. Some are spiritual gifts such as our salvation, His grace, and the Holy Spirit. Others, in my opinion, include very practical blessings such as sunsets, landscapes, and the food He designed and provides for us to be nourished and satisfied.
I was reminded of this as I was getting my hair done this past weekend. My beloved British (and very chatty) hairdresser mentioned a program on the Discovery Channel which investigates the “truth about food.” She recalled the amazing discoveries regarding food’s power to heal, so to speak. One episode chronicled a group of men who, after eating four cloves of raw garlic every day for several days, had a significant reduction in arterial blockage. “And did you know that sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children?” she asked. The most extreme experiment involved a group of people who normally ate very poorly, but were assigned a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables for 12 days. They lost weight, but that was not the variable of interest. Rather, the scientists wanted to see if the subjects’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels improved. The results were significant as the average reduction in cholesterol per person was 23%! My hairdresser even shared her newest beauty secret—tomato paste. Apparently, another experiment conducted on the show hypothesized that the lycopene (an antioxidant) in one tablespoon of tomato paste would improve the elasticity and general appearance of one woman’s troubled complexion when consumed every day for two weeks. The results must have been convincing, because my hairdresser now swears by it.
Although I was thrilled to hear of nutritional science making primetime television, I had to chuckle at the fact that not much of the results of these studies surprised me. Simply, God knew what He was doing when He created garlic, sugar, fruits and vegetables not to mention everything else we know to be healthy and whole foods. God has provided us such an abundant array of foods – the cream of the crop–for nourishment and taste! And you don’t need to eat them in large amounts or in replacement of complete food groups to receive their benefits. Simply, incorporate a variety of these yummy “God foods” into your diet every day. And yes, most of them are plant foods. The foods of
Fall are only a few examples of His divine creativity–pumpkin, winter squash, apples, pears, carrots, potatoes, broccoli and hearty greens to name a few. I encourage you to enjoy them this season and practice thankfulness each time you see these foods of fall. First Place’s pumpkin soufflé is wonderful, for example, and full of beta carotene, potassium, and vitamin C. Look for other healthy recipes using these foods currently in season and remember to always practice thankfulness for what God has provided–the best of the best!
To good health,
Erin Dubroc, MPH, RD, LD
First Place Registered Dietitian
Erin Dubroc is the First Place Registered Dietitian.
Erin is a native Houstonian, blessed with a loving family and wonderful husband, Matt. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science from Texas A&M University in 2003 and has since been completing her Master’s in Public Health and Registered Dietitian (RD) program at the University of Texas School of Public Health in the Houston Medical Center. Her recent academic career has focused on theories and methods for designing, implementing, and evaluating nutrition and other health education programs.