Monday, October 26, 2009

Focus on Food: Root Vegetables

The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded and rooted, increasing our stability, stamina, and endurance.

Roots are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they regulate them. Since they absorb, assimilate and supply plants with vital nutrients, roots likewise increase absorption and assimilation in our digestive tracts. Long roots include carrots, parsnips, burdock and daikon radish. Round roots include turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas. Long roots like burdock and daikon are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar, moods, and alleviate cravings.

Recipe of the Month: Roasted Root Vegetables
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 sweet potato2 parsnips
2 carrots2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in your favorites, like squash)
olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Wash and chop all vegetables into large bite-sized pieces.
3. Place in a large baking dish with sides.
4. Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil.
5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
6. 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 1: Roasted veggies can then be pureed and made into a delicious, nourishing soup!

Tip 2: Wrap a whole head of garlic in foil and place it in the oven with the veggies. It will become soft and sweet and you can spread it on bread, crackers, potatoes etc. Yum!

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