It’s easy to give gratitude and feel a sense of connectedness during the holidays- it’s all around us. It’s easy to give gratitude for the people that you love and the traditions that you have- it’s swirls in the air abundantly.
Having gratitude and appreciation for those things is so important, but for many it stops there.
We often forget to have gratitude for our bodies and our emotions. For our strength and capability. For our physical health and the fact that we have a choice in the food that we use to nourish our bodies. We forget.
But, remembering that we are abundant in healthy foods and the mere choice to pick those foods that will give us abundant energy and healing, is a gift all on its own.
Not everyone has that luxury.
But we do!
With the spirit of giving and gratitude infiltrating every moment of your day during this season, why not create a new focus?
Let’s focus on giving thanks and gratitude for our health and our bodies and the food that supports us! When we appreciate and honor ourselves and our physical bodies, we are much better able to serve and appreciate the other goodness in our life.
Nourish your body, nourish your soul. That’s my motto.
Here are my three favorite Fall foods to nourish your body:
Sweet potatoes are such a powerhouse! They improve digestion, promote weight-loss, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, soothe asthma and bronchitis, reduce arthritis pain, treat stomach ulcers, control diabetes, and they help people to quit addictions such as drinking and smoking. I found that sweet potatoes helped me with overeating and craving sweets.
If you want to control those sweet cravings and/or if you suffer from any of the above, make sure that sweet potatoes are a part of your regular healthy nutrition plan!
Sweet Potato Nachos (gluten free; vegetarian)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 pound sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick – about 3 small))
- ½ red onion (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 medium tomato (diced)
- ¾ cup puréed lower-sodium mild or medium salsa
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 avocado (diced)
- ½ cup plain regular or Greek yogurt (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°. In a small bowl, combine salt, cumin and chili powder; set aside.
- Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place sweet potato rounds and onion, intermixed, on prepared baking sheet; spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with seasoning mixture. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until potatoes are just soft. Remove from oven.
- Toss beans and diced tomato with salsa. Top sweet potatoes with roasted onions, bean-salsa mixture and cheese. Bake an additional 4–6 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven, top with avocado and yogurt, and serve.
PER SERVING (¼ of recipe): 412 cal, 13g fat (6g mono, 1g poly, 6g sat), 28mg chol, 628mg sodium, 54g carb (12g fiber, 15g sugars), 16g protein
These tasty little numbers are strong in anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and anti-tumor properties. They are also a fabulous source of vitamin A, C, E, and folic acid.
Pomegranates are super effective in maintaining healthy blood circulation, making them a good addition to help regain strength after a long illness. They are also good for clearing up the skin, reducing inflammation, and treating sore throats. They are also traditionally used for heart-related problems, stomach disorders, cancer, dental problems, osteoarthritis, anemia, and diabetes.
Roasted Squash and Pomegranate Seeds on Arugula (gluten free; vegan)
Serving tip: For easier eating, remove the squash rind with a paring knife just before serving.
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 medium (1.5 to 2 pounds) acorn squash, seeded, cut into 12 wedges
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Salt and pepper
- 3 1/2 – 4 ounces arugula
- 3/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- Preheat oven to 450°. In a small jar, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, and cardamom. Set aside. Shake just before using.
- Lay squash wedges on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn wedges over and repeat. Roast for 15 minutes; turn slices and roast 15 minutes more, until browned and tender.
- In a large bowl, mix arugula, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts. Toss with half of the dressing. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates; top with roasted squash wedges and drizzle with remaining dressing. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
PER SERVING: 113 cal, 33% fat cal, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg chol, 2g protein, 19g carb, 2g fiber, 9mg sodium
Brussel sprouts are super high in vitamin K, the vitamin essential for promoting strong bones. They are also high in vitamin C, A, and B6. This delicious little veggie packs a punch in getting you high levels of thiamin, folate, manganese, copper, calcium, iron riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. The potassium content helps control the heart rate and blood pressure by balancing the rather high sodium. They are low in saturated fats and cholesterol and are high in fiber.
A study done in the Netherlands, has linked brussel sprouts to possibly having the ability to fight cancer and other diseases due to it’s ability to beautifully detox the body and rid it of toxins.
Just make sure that you do not overcook these bad boys — Overcooking destroys not only the nutrients, but the flavor, consistency, color and, most noticeably, the aroma!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Pecans Recipe (gluten free; vegetarian)
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup ghee
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 sweet apple, cored and diced
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/3 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 cup grated Zamorano cheese (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- In a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, combine the Brussels sprouts, shallots, salt and pepper and mix together.
- Pour the white wine into the dish and place spoonfuls of ghee on top of the sprouts, making sure all areas of the dish have ghee.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the lemon zest, apples, pecans, thyme and (if using) Zamorano. Stir to combine.
- Return the dish to the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until sprouts and apple pieces are tender.
How can you write these foods into your holiday meals? How can you incorporate these foods into your every day meals? Let’s start by doing a little cooking with the recipes above!
Creating a nourished body and a foundation of health balances your hormones, stabilizes your blood sugar, and soothes your emotions so that you can better appreciate all the blessings that surrounds you each and every day!
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