Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Root Root Roots!

I love the fall.
I love the way the light makes all the colors more muted, and the air gets cool and blustery, making me eager to wear my boots and wrap myself up in a scarf! It's the perfect weather for a heaping serving of warm roasted root vegetables!

Let's get rooted!

The root of any plant is its anchor and foundation; roots are essential parts of the plant that support and nourish it. I like to think that root vegetables lend their properties to me when I eat them, making me feel more physically and mentally grounded.

Roots are also a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates. This means it takes a while for the body to digest them. Rather that spiking our blood sugar (which happens when you eat simple carbs like white bread), they help to regulate our blood sugar levels by providing a steady source of necessary sugars to the body over time.

This is why I recommend eating root veggies at... Lunch Time!

I like to eat a big lunch. It's usually my biggest meal of the day. Root veggies are great because you can eat a lot of them with out adding a lot of calories or fat. Some do have a lot of sugar, but again, the body takes a while to break them down, which means you get to burn these calories over the course of your afternoon, keeping your body satisfied and energized! This can help stave off pesky afternoon sugar cravings, helping you resist the 3pm cookie run.

Long roots like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. So now our lunch is helping us stay sharp for those hard-to-stay-awake-for afternoon meetings.

Round roots like turnips, beets and rutabagas are nourishing to the stomach, spleen and pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate moods. Happy days!

The best part about root veggies is that they are simple to prepare. I recommend cooking a big batch on a Sunday afternoon and then building your lunch around them all week. Here is a simple recipe and some lunch ideas.

Roasted Root Veggies


1 sweet potato
2 carrots
2 parsnips
2 turnips or rutabaga
1 onion
1 head of garlic separated into cloves and peeled
(you can add beets, but I find they are easier to roast whole on their own and then add)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Wash and peel all veggies
Cut into approx 1 inch pieces (keep garlic cloves whole)
Place all veggies (except garlic) into a baking dish and drizzle generously with olive oil
Add salt, pepper and herbs and toss with your hands, coating everything evenly
Place in oven for approx 45 minutes stirring occasionally
Add garlic cloves after about 20 minutes
Remove when veggies are tender and golden

(If you have never prepared some of these vegetables, simple guidelines for buying and prepping can be found on www.ehow.com)

Some lunch ideas:
  • Make a veggie sandwich! Take two slices of multi-grain bread, spread some goat cheese and smoosh the veggie in, top with arugula and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the whole thing. This makes a great warm sandwich if you have an oven or panini press, or you can just toast the bread.
  • Add a large serving of veggies to some salad greens and top with a few slices of avocado.
  • Toss veggies in with some leftover brown rice and add a protein (chicken breast, tofu or a hard boiled egg)
  • Leave a comment to share some of your ideas!
Taking in IN... Take a moment wherever you are sitting. Place both feel flat on the floor and take a deep breath. Imagine that you are a beautiful plant, with roots spiraling downwards. Connect to the feeling of being rooted, strong and stable.

If your roots are healthy, and your soil is rich, then you can spend your day growing up towards the sun. If your soil is poor and your roots are unhealthy, then the wind or element of the day will easily trample you down.

What helps you to feel rooted? Make a list of three things that anchor you, and vow to do one of them each day to connect you with this feeling.

Picture credit: Root Veggies, by Brian Zimbler

Finally, I couldn't resist throwing in this video of one of my favorite songs - with an appropriate title...

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