FUNCTIONAL FOOD | Soup for the Soul
As I mentioned on my previous post, with the cooler weather the foods we crave are definitely different. Our bodies naturally reach for richer, slightly more dense foods because it wants to have enough body fat to keep us warm in the cooler months. So I’ll say it again: Don’t be afraid to add a little more of the nutritious, delicious, whole food sources of natural fats!
Coconut meat, avocado, olives, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans are all excellent sources of good fats. All of these beauties provide our bodies with the fats that we need to function properly: our brains, our skin and our bodies, literally, crave them; and when we aren’t getting enough, they start to demonstrate telltale signs.
Warming foods such a lentils, beans, sweet potatoes, yams, brown rice and quinoa are other delicious foods that can be so comforting in the winter. Plus, they provide us with such a huge variety of nutrients that keep us feeling healthy on the inside and looking hot on the outside!
But I guess you are thinking: “Oh, Gina, but all those foods contain so many carbs!” And your point is? These foods contain complex carbohydrates (and they also contain good amounts of
protein by the way) which provide slow, stable releases of energy plus a ton of fiber, and a huge array of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium–the relaxation mineral which is essential for a good night’s sleep–; B vitamins much needed for healthy hair, eyes, liver, and a healthy nervous system; phosphorous for energy production and strong bones and teeth, zinc which supports our immune systems, our thyroid, and even our adrenal glands (which help us manage stress); vitamin E for glowing skin, and antioxidants to keep us feeling young, just to name a few!
An obvious winter favorite is soup. Today I’ll share my favorite cauliflower soup!
1 organic cauliflower head
1/2 yellow onion sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 small sweet potato or ½ a large one
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 cups vegetable broth or water
Sea salt to taste
Toppings: 2 tbsp hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat your oven to 375 ºF.
2. Wash your sweet potato. Trim off the ends but do not remove the skin (it contains a lot of the nutrients!). With a knife, stab the sweet potato, making tiny holes all over it. Wrap the sweet potato with baking paper, so that it is fully wrapped. Place in oven and cook for about 45 minutes, until soft.
3. While the sweet potato cooks place coconut oil in pan over medium heat. Mince garlic. Add garlic, and then the sliced onion. Cook for a few minutes. Add in the cauliflower, the turmeric, the cumin, and the salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, mixing everything around so the onions don’t burn.
4. Add in the vegetable stock or water.
5. Remove the sweet potato from the oven and place all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
6. Top with hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C and K, while also providing good amounts of fiber, phosphorous, potassium and B vitamins. It is part of the cruciferous vegetable family which all contain compounds that can help to prevent cancer.
Sweet potato is an excellent source of nutrients. It contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, fiber, carbohydrates and even a little bit of protein. Remember to always leave the skins on as the some of these nutrients can be found in greater amounts in the skins.
Turmeric is one of those multi-taskers which can do just about anything. It has significant anti-inflammatory effects, while also providing other extremely powerful antioxidant activity. If that wasn’t enough, turmeric (also known as curcumin) can inhibit the growth and formation of certain cancer causing agents, while also increasing the body’s production of cancer-fighting compounds (such as glutathione). I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you! Just know that it’s worth adding to your stews, curries, teas, and anything you would like it on.
Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.
If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.