Bodies Beautiful & Potatoes Sweet

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Beautiful Body Types 
Almost all of us have a distorted image of our body, often due to the importance our culture places on outward appearance and the onslaught of media images of airbrushed models and celebrities. On a daily basis, we talk to ourselves in ways we would never speak to another. Imagine speaking to a child the way you speak to yourself about your body. It would devastate and squelch a child. It affects you similarly, causing stress and emotional pain in your body, which can make improving your health or losing weight even more difficult. 
Think of all the intelligence, creativity and time you spend on improving, altering and judging your appearance. Who would you be and what could you accomplish if your valuable resources weren’t used this way? Constant emphasis on the external makes us discount the great presence and intelligence that is housed by the body. It makes us forget the magic of our internal rhythms and fail to acknowledge the beautiful bodies we have. 
The body you have right now is incredible! It never misses a heartbeat, it maintains homeostasis and it miraculously digests whatever you put in it. It is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence and love. By focusing on the 1% you don’t like or wish were different, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% about your body that is beautiful, unique and delightful. 
What would your life be like if you were simply at peace with the body you have? You may wish to make your body healthier and stronger, but could you do that out of love and respect for your body instead of the opposite? Could you begin to treat yourself with kindness, to limit the negative self-talk and to reconnect with your inner wisdom? Take a minute to imagine what that would feel like. It would mean celebrating your body rather than punishing it. It would mean nourishing your body rather than depriving it. It would mean a chance to watch your body flourish when treated with care and respect. 

Food Focus: Sweet Potatoes 
Sweet potatoes are on everyone’s mind this season. They seem to go hand in hand with the holidays, and fortunately, eating these and other sweet vegetables needn’t be limited to this time of year. Cravings for sweets can be greatly reduced by adding sweet vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, beets, squash, turnips and rutabagas to your daily diet. Sweet potatoes elevate blood sugar gently rather than with the jolt delivered by simple refined carbohydrates, so there’s no energy crash after you eat them. Much higher in nutrients than white potatoes and especially rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes offer a creamy consistency that is satisfying and soothing. They are healing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and help to remove toxins from the body. They can increase the quantity of milk in lactating women and can lessen cramps and premenstrual symptoms. If you don’t have any sweet potatoes in your kitchen, go out and buy some (organic and local if possible) and try the recipes below.   ©Integrative Nutrition
a variety of sweet potatoes with a pinch of cinnamon, thyme & parmesan cheese
This is a fast recipe that you can bring to the table any day of the week.   I am partial to the mix of sweet and savory flavors happening in this dish.

4 Sweet Potatoes (I used a variety of Garnet, Jewel & Japanese)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 pinches of cinnamon
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice sweet potatoes in 1/2 inch disks
3. Coat potato disks with melted coconut oil and place on a baking sheet
4. Sprinkle with a few pinches of cinnamon and salt.  You can put more or less depending on your taste.
5.  Roast potatoes in oven for about 20 - 30 minutes until you can easily poke potatoes with a knife.
6.  Transfer sweet potatoes onto your serving platter then sprinkle with fresh thyme and grated parmesan.

sun kissed sweet potato mash with pistachios
SUN KISSED SWEET POTATO MASH               serves 4 - 6
This take on sweet potatoes adds a pleasant unexpected but delicious sunny flavor to your side dish! Another plus is that this dish tastes great hot, room temp or cold.

2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (garnet or jewel variety)
1/2 cup light coconuts milk
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup pistachios (chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.  Clean sweet potatoes and wrap each potato in foil.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 1 hour.
3.  Sweet potatoes will be done when they are easy to fork and feel pliable when you give them a squeeze (WITH OVEN MITT ON!)
4.  Let potatoes cool for about 10 - 15 minutes then unwrap out of the foil and peel off the potato skins.
You can discard the skins.
5.  Place the sweet potato insides into a mixing bowl.  Add coconut milk, orange zest, vanilla, maple syrup and salt then mix until smooth.
6.  Transfer sweet potato mash into a serving dish and top with pistachios.


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