Thanksgiving & Gratitude for Food

abundance-assortment-basket-1458694.jpg

Autumn is a beautiful time of year.  While the summer warmth is gone and the days are shorter, this stunning season brings vibrant colours and a crop of amazing produce with it.  The stunning gold and red leaves, and the crisp autumn air, means that there is no nicer time to go walking in nature.  I love the crunch of crispy leaves underfoot and I can’t help but make sure that no leaf is left uncrunched!

Truth be told, Thanksgiving is not a celebration I know much about.  It isn’t something that I have ever celebrated and I don’t know anyone who has, other than my American family and friends.  It is an event that I only know about through TV, movies, and radio.  So, when I was asked to do a blog and some recipes on the topic, I thought I should do some research.

I have to say that the premise of Thanksgiving as a holiday is a beautiful one.  For those of you who don’t already know, it originates from the time when the first settlers (the Plymoth Colony) went to America and landed in Massachusetts. 

They found it to be a very harsh environment that was too difficult to grow food to survive.  Nearly half of the colony died in the first winter.  With the help of a local Native American, who showed the settlers how to use fish to grow crops on sandy land, they managed to survive their first year.  In November 1621, the settlers gathered their crops for a celebration.  It lasted three whole days and was shared with the Native Americans.  That’s how Thanksgiving was born.

For me, giving thanks for our food is something that we don’t do regularly enough.  Food has become so readily available to us, often in forms that have no resemblance to their original form.  We regularly eat packaged foods with no thought or comprehension of how it was grown or who grew it.  The idea that Thanksgiving brings people together and creates mindfulness surrounding the origins of our food is wonderful, and should be celebrated more often.

So, even if Thanksgiving is not a holiday that you have celebrated in the past, why not try it this year?  Invite some friends or family over for a special meal and talk about your food, where it came from, and how you prepared it to make it so delicious!

Thanksgiving Veggies & Fruits to Get Your Hands on

Some of my favourite vegetables are ready to harvest in autumn and I have included them in my Thanksgiving recipes.  I am only highlighting two of them in this post, but there are lots more and I have packed as much as I can into the recipes that I have prepared for you.

Beets

Beets are one of my favourite vegetables.  You can create some great dishes with them and they are full of health-promoting nutrients.  They are increasingly being used by athletes to improve their performance due to their high content of dietary nitrates. 

Beets can increase blood flow by helping more oxygen to get to the muscles.  Adding beet juice to your diet also makes the body’s energy production more efficient.  A 2009 study measured the oxygen intake of 8 men cycling bicycles and found that those who drank the beet juice could do the same amount of work with 19% less oxygen.  This is just one of the incredible benefits from eating this vibrant vegetable.

Check out my Root Vegetable Nut Roast in the recipes section for an amazing way to eat beets that will satisfy everyone around the table.

Pumpkins & Squash

Pumpkins and squashes are delicious, and are ready for harvest in the autumn around Thanksgiving.  These guys can be used in so many ways.  They are delicious when roasted, taste great in a curry, and the even make amazing and healthy pasta sauces.  Check out my recipe for Pumpkin & Crispy Mushroom Carbonara if you don’t believe me!  Pumpkins and squashes are high in fibre and are slow release carbohydrates, meaning that they add sweetness to a meal without giving you a sugar crash afterwards.  They are also packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight.

Blackberries

I love picking and eating wild blackberries.  They taste delicious and are one of the healthiest berries there are.  They are packed full of anthocyanin, the antioxidant pigment that gives them their deep black colour.

Anthocyanin is a great immune-booster, as well as being linked with the prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity. Eating blackberries is good for your vision, brain function, fatigue, and recovery from exercise.

Check out my Mini Apple and Blackberry Crumbles in the recipe section for an easy thanksgiving desert recipe.

 

Sources

Bailey SJ, Winyard P, Vanhatalo A, Blackwell JR, Dimenna FJ, Wilkerson DP, Tarr J, Benjamin N, Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of low-intensity exercise and enhances tolerance to high-intensity exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Oct;107(4):1144-55. Epub 2009 Aug 6.