October 2003

Just a few nights ago I gazed at the sky to see the most beautiful sight, a huge full moon. It immediately brought to mind a favorite Scripture passage, Psalms 19:1-2. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” Later, I heard a news reporter mention the beautiful full moon, and learned some interesting facts that only confirm the words we read in these verses.

Years ago, even before our months were given names, each of the 12 full moons were given a name. The name of the full moon that we witnessed on September 10th is called the “Harvest Moon.” The annual Harvest Moon is defined as the full moon that arrives nearest to the fall equinox, which is September 23. All full moons rise about the time the sun sets, then the following night the moon will rise about 50 minutes later, with the exception of the Harvest Moon. This special moon seems to rise at nearly the same time for several nights. True to form on September 11th, it did not wait 50 minutes. The Harvest Moon is set apart by the fact that it allows farmers at the climax of the current harvest season to work late into the night by the moon’s light. I believe the Harvest Moon reveals to us a wonderful display of God’s knowledge.

Harvest time brings to my mind thoughts of grains. It is a very busy time on every farm. I was raised on a farm and witnessed the harvest of wheat and maize, with fond memories of playing in a barn filled with maize. It was not until I joined First Place that I learned the benefits of eating foods high in fiber.

Fiber and colon cancer are back in the news again. After several disappointing studies, two new studies have now reported that fiber is indeed protective against colon cancer. These new studies suggested that the key to cancer protection might be in eating at least 30 grams a day. Even if colon cancer protection was not a benefit, fiber helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diverticulosis, and constipation.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that according to a study at the University of Washington in Seattle, eating high-fiber cereal and whole-grain bread may decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack.

We are bombarded today with all types of meal replacement products that appeal to our busy lifestyle. Don’t be fooled by the nutritional claims you see on various shakes and bars. All health officials agree (unless they are on the payroll for one of these companies) that no matter what nutritional claims are made, “real food” is your best choice. Added vitamins, minerals, and promises of balanced nutrition cannot make up for what food contains naturally. Bars cannot replace the range of nutrients found in different foods you eat each day, from the wide variety of minerals in grains to the anthocyanins and carotenoids in fruits and vegetables. Take the time to plan meals, and fill your pantry and refrigerator with healthy high-fiber food choices.

Check your CR to see how many whole grain products you are consuming. Breakfast is a great place to start adding fiber to your plan. For example: a serving of whole grain cereal with a cup of skim milk and a sliced banana, or blueberries, will contain at least 6 or more grams of fiber. The same is true by adding frozen berries and a few raisins to a cup of non-fat yogurt. Add a slice of whole grain toast, or toss some whole grain cereal in the yogurt. An egg, cooked in a nonstick pan, with a slice of whole grain toast, a cup of skim milk, and a serving of fruit is another great First Place breakfast. All of these require 2 – 5 minutes of preparation.

Taking the extra time now could save many of us future time spent in the waiting room of a physician. Taking the time to choose and prepare meals high in fiber could also be your way of saying “thank you” to God for that wonderful Harvest Moon.

May God Bless Each of You,

Kay Smith
First Place Associate Director

Kay is the associate national director of First Place and has been on the First Place staff since 1987.

Kay is a popular speaker at retreats, seminars, Conferences, FOCUS Weeks and Workshops across the country. Kay is the First Place food exchange expert and writes a monthly article in the First Place E-Newsletter on nutrition. She also was a contributing writer to the Today Is the First Day devotional book. Her delightful personality and love for people endears her to everyone she meets, and they quickly become her new best friend.

Kay and her husband, Joe, live in Roscoe, TX. They have two children and five grandchildren. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit, and the three oldest grandsons are all involved in numerous sporting events, which Kay and Joe attend as often as possible.