Want to Skip the Salad? Try This Tonight Instead.

When you think about healthy eating, salads and green vegetables usually come to mind. But how about adding a little more variety to your plan?

adam-jaime-119568-unsplash.jpg

Roots like carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnips, are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods do, they help regulate them. When roasted, they take on a delightfully sweet taste that is still savory.

Why Eat More Root Veggies?

Long roots – carrots, parsnips, burdock, and daikon radish – are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body. Round roots – turnips, radishes, beets, and rutabagas – nourish the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and reproductive organs.

Carrots and potatoes are the most common root veggies.. Here are a few others to explore:

  •   Beets contain an abundance of antioxidants and are highly detoxifying.

  •   Burdock is considered a powerful blood purifier. This long, thin veggie is a staple in Asian and health food stores.

  •   Celeriac, also known as celery root, is rich in fiber and with a respectable amount of antioxidants.

  •   Jicama is crunchy and refreshing and contains a generous amount of vitamin C. It’s a favorite in its native Mexico and South America.

  •   Onions are rich in antioxidants and other phytonutrients, making them prized for their ability to strengthen the immune system.

  •   Parsnips, which look like giant white carrots, boast a sweet, earthy taste. They’ve also got plenty of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium.

  •   Radish is an excellent source of vitamin C. It’s also rich in calcium, molybdenum, and folic acid.

  •  Sweet Potatoes contain unsurpassed levels of beta-carotene and are also rich in vitamin C, phytonutrients, and fiber.

Excited to add more roots to your diet? Here’s an easy recipe:

Roasted Root Vegetables
Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 25-35 minutes Serves 4 to 6

1 sweet potato
2 parsnips
2 carrots
2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in other favorites, like squash)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  • Wash and dice all vegetables into bite-sized cubes.

  • Place in a large baking dish with sides.

Method:
Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.

Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and make sure veggies are not sticking.

Tip: Any combination of vegetables will work. Roasting one kind of vegetable also makes a nice side dish.


Don’t forget about my New Year Specials:

1) Better manage stress: In my brand new program - 21 Days to Less Stress, you'll receive a daily lesson from me via email for 21 days. It's a great way to start the year off strong and learn the tools you need to have more resilience against stress all year long. Learn more: https://www.gosimplewellness.com/stress-less-program

2) Stop overeating, improve diet, or manage cravings: I have FREE openings for my Conquer Cravings Strategy Session this month. These go fast, and I'll add in sessions as I have time. Sign up here: https://my.timetrade.com/book/Y6YHR

When to Buy Organic

544b78_b6e666c94ece47d1a5f5e72778ad81de-mv2.jpg

Pesticides on your food is more common that you think! Did you know that an analysis of USDA data* showed that 98% of 700 apple samples had pesticides? And yes, they had been washed first. That’s scary stuff considering the potential health risks. 

Exposure to pesticides has been linked to a high number of health issues, including hormone disruption, brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, blood or nerve disorder, birth defects, irritation to lungs and skin, and birth defects. Yikes! This doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life without apples if you want to avoid pesticides. It’s just highly recommended that you buy organic apples vs. conventionally grown.

How do you tell if a fruit or vegetable is actually organic? Check the sticker! If there is a 5 digit numerical code that starts with a 9, it is organic. Codes that have only four numbers are conventionally grown. If you see a five digit code that starts with an 8, that means it is a genetically engineered fruit or veggie and probably should be avoided. More on that in a future post.

But wait! Did I hear you say, “Sara, organic food is too expensive! I can’t buy all this organic produce!” I suggest prioritizing what you buy organic. The Environmental Working Group is one of my favorite resources for this type of information. They have ranked the 12 fruits and veggies with the most pesticides (the Dirty Dozen) and the 15 that have less exposure (the Clean Fifteen). You can save the website on your phone so you can reference it at the grocery store if you forget!

Dirty Dozen 2017

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Nectarines

  4. Apples

  5. Peaches

  6. Pears

  7. Cherries

  8. Grapes

  9. Celery

  10. Tomatoes

  11. Sweet Bell Peppers

  12. Potatoes 

Clean Fifteen

  1. Sweet Corn

  2. Avocados

  3. Pineapples

  4. Cabbage

  5. Onions

  6. Sweet peas (frozen)

  7. Papayas

  8. Asparagus

  9. Mangos

  10. Eggplant

  11. Honeydew Melon

  12. Kiwi

  13. Cantaloupe

  14. Cauliflower

  15. Grapefruit

Is favorite fruit or veggie not on either list? If you can afford it and find it, buy it organic. Otherwise, don’t let it deter you from consuming lots of different fruits and vegetables!

Hopefully this clears up questions about what to buy organic and what is relatively safe to buy conventionally grown. While it can be tough in the moment to shell out more cash for organic produce, remember that limiting exposure to pesticides can protect you from possible future health issues - a worthy investment. 

 

*Data is based on analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the Food and Drug Administration, which tested these foods for pesticides presence 51,000 times from 2000 to 2009.