5-Must Eat Root Veggies

You'll find an abundance of fresh, local and cheap root vegetables this time of year in your local grocery store or farmer's market. Root vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and are delicious!
Not to mention economical!

Here are 5 root veggies you should include in your diet:

Beets - Beets are your Liver's best friend. They improve your liver by thinning bile and allowing it to flow through the liver and into the small intestine more freely. Bile breaks down fat and stimulates peristalsis (digestive tract muscle contractions that move food along) it also reduces the risk of forming gallstones. Beets also protect against cancer, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis and neural tube defects in babies.

Carrots - Carrots are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant which fights free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that disrupt the structure of other molecules, resulting in damage in the body which than can lead to disease.

Parsnips - Parsnips support your digestive system by promoting healthy bowel movements due to its high fibre count. Parsnips are high in folate which is essential if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding. This B vitamin protects a developing baby from neural tube defects.

Sweet Potatoes -Sweet potatoes contain high levels of anti-oxidants. They are known for lowering blood pressure, promoting a healthy cardiovascular (heart) and integumentary (skin) systems, increasing your stamina, are a great source of potassium and iron and are a slow releasing carbohydrate which keeps you fuller longer.

Squash & Pumpkin- Squash contains high levels of Vitamins C & E, antioxidants that decrease your risk of cancer, cataracts and heart disease. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc (helps reduce hair loss) and Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) Omega 3 & 6.

Butternut Squash Soup
• 2 medium butternut squash, each cut lengthwise in half, seeds removed
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 medium stalks celery, chopped
• 1 medium cooking onion, chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
• Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
• 3 ½ cups of chicken stock
• 2 cups water
• Roasted pumpkin seeds and fresh chives for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil. Place squash halves, cut sides down, in lined pan, and roast about 45 minutes or until very tender when pierced with knife. Cool until easy to handle, then, with spoon, scoop squash from skins and place in large bowl. Discard skins.
2. Meanwhile, in 5- to 6-quart saucepot, heat oil on medium until hot. Add celery and onion, and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cumin, chipotle chili, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; cook 30 seconds, stirring.
3. Add broth, water, and squash to saucepot; cover and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.
4. In batches, ladle squash mixture into blender. With center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape, blend squash mixture until pureed. Pour soup into large bowl. Return all soup to saucepot and heat through. Garnish each serving with pumpkin seeds and chives. Makes 10 1/2 cups.

The information presented here is not intended to replace professional medical care when needed. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for disease diagnosis, therapy choice, medicine selection and dosage. 

Supporting your Nervous System

It seems like the last few weeks have been a blur. Searching for a home is stressful to say the least. I feel like I have been going through the daily motions of life and not stopping to "smell the roses" like I try so consciously to do. Being a mom, working full-time, taking care of my father and most recently a first time home owner is wearing me down. Before I have a nervous breakdown I need to take my own "Registered Holistic Nutritionist" advice and smell the freakin' roses before my Nervous System back fires on me.  Below is a handout I give to some of my "stressed out" clients.

The Nervous System is the master control center in the body. It is designed to allow rapid internal communication by detecting and responding to constant changes inside and outside the body. None of our body systems (Digestive, Cardiovascular, Immune, Lymphatic.etc) are capable of functioning alone as they all work together to maintain homeostasis (balance). The Nervous System is the chief of all the systems.

Here are some recommendations to support and keep your control center healthy.
Reduce or eliminate caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Heavy daily caffeine use (4 to 7 cups of coffee a day) can cause: insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, nausea or other gastrointestinal problems, fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, headaches and/or anxiety.

Reduce or eliminate cigarette smoking. "Many smokers perceive smoking as a way to calm stress, when, in fact, what they're doing is satisfying nicotine cravings and withdrawal," says Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society. "In many respects, smoking — or the delay in having a cigarette — is the cause of stress."

Drink two liters of pure water daily. Avoid tap water and water softeners. Replace tea and coffee with herbal teas and restrict intake of alcohol. Alcohol decreases the function of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible for muscle co-ordination, maintenance of balance and posture.

Consider taking a high quality Vitamin B complex and a proper ratio of Calcium:Magnesium (facilitate nerve conductivity).

Incorporate these potassium rich foods in your daily dietary regimen which support the adrenal glands: raw almonds, avocados, yams, lettuce, lentils, spinach, pineapple, strawberries, kale, bananas and brown rice.

Incorporate foods rich in EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) which are beneficial for hyperactivity in children and nervous system conditions such as, depression and "burn out", in adults. Some of my favourite EFAs sources are flax seed and salmon.

Practice stress management: yoga, long walks (without your blackberry), shiatsu, massage (massage will also help with skeletal and muscular problems)....

 deep breathing meditation and spiritual readings.

How To Meditate: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Art and Science of Meditation [ILLUSTRATED]Meditation For Dummies (Book and CD edition)Stages of MeditationThe Soul Of Healing MeditationsThe Meditation Bible: The Definitive Guide to Meditations for Every Purpose (... Bible)