What the Pilgrims Ate: The Health Benefits of Autumn Cooking
I love Autumn. It is one of my favorite seasons, and I never go without celebrating every single day between October and December. Usually I do this by going outside and feeling the crisp cool air on my skin, giving thanks that I can stand outside without sweating after two seconds under the sun, and, of course, making healthy fall recipes.
What do you like to do during the autumn months? Let me know below…
Autumn cooking often revolves around pumpkins and squash in my house. I love cooked squashes of all forms, whether it be pumpkin, butternut or spaghetti squash (spaghetti squash makes great “noodles” for gluten free spaghetti!). These warming foods not only provide a wonderful taste and feeling of fall, they are also packed full of amazing nutrition.
I always wonder what it was like during the Puritan and Pilgrim times. You only ate what was in season, what you grew. I know it wasn’t exactly like what they tell us in school or on television programs, but I like to imagine them having pumpkin, squashes and gourds around the kitchen this time of year. Pumpkins, after all, would have supplied them with necessary vitamin A and C. One cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains around 245% of your daily vitamin A content! Insufficient intake of this vitamin could lead to the susceptibility of viral infections, something the Pilgrims could not afford.
Vitamin A is also incredibly important for the hair, skin, nails and eyes. Many people know that during the winter months, the skin can become dry and brittle. Try incorporating more pumpkin into your diet during these colder months, and see what happens (also, find a good organic moisturizer). Sweet potatoes, a root vegetable, is also a great vitamin A source. These are the only potatoes I eat, because they are much lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes, and they’re much more nutrient dense. I only tend to eat them in the fall months. I imagine the Pilgrims did too.
By the way, the diet of the Pilgrims that I am mentioning are only in my imagination, based on bits and pieces of “history” I have picked up along the way. I know that they had a tough time, and they certainly did not have the amount of food that is available to us today. However, since this is only a story from my own mind, we’ll say it’s true for the time being. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s move on…
Sometimes I think about the Pilgrims eating butternut squash, as it is a recent addition to my diet since Fall of last year. I imagine them boiling it, mashing or cubing it, making a soup out of it, etc. It’s a good thing, too, that the imaginary Pilgrims ate this, because research has shown that it helps the lungs, protects against heart disease and provides anit-inflammatory properties.
Do you have any favorite Autumn foods? I will be posting fall recipes here and there for the remainder of the season. If you have any recipes you would like to see, please let me know. You will for sure see many pumpkin recipes (my favorite–the benefits of pumpkin are extraordinary!).
Until then, this is The Healthy Advocate.