Last Thanksgiving my family came to my house and cooked. And by house I mean two bed one bath 800 square foot apartment. And by family I mean my sister, her cat, my mom, her dog, my dad, my grandma and my grandpa. Oh and don’t forget I was there too. A little cramped. But I was working holidays and weekends and it allowed me more time with my family. I hadn’t seen them in a while so I was excited.
One of the first things my sister says to me is, “Why are you still tan? It’s Thanksgiving. Did you fake bake? I can’t believe you would do that.”
Nope. As a health coach I stay away from tanning booths. My answer to her: carrots.
I love carrots, its one of my favorite veggies. So easy to prepare and you can pair it with just about any type of dip: almond butter, hummus, guacamole…I even love carrot juice. It was that, carrot juice, that I had been obsessed with just before Thanksgiving.
The same substance that make foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and oranges orange, can also give you a fake tan (aka. carotenoderma or carotenemia). These carotenoides, (including beta-carotein, lycopene, and lutein) have different health benefits and are also pigments that contribute to your skin’s natural color. If eaten in excess, they can accumulate in the skin, most noticeably seen in the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. They can also give your skin a natural glow (read fake tan).
It was at this point that I realized I needed to back down just a bit on the carrot intake and switch up some of my root vegetables. Fall is a great time to explore these sweeter veggies and ground yourself from the light and airy feeling from the summer.
Long roots, like burdock, carrots, parsnips and daikon radish, are excellent blood purifiers. They help improve circulation and increase mental clarity. Round roots, like turnips, radishes, beets and rutabagas, are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs. Round roots, can help regulate blood sugar, moods, and alleviate cravings.
In general, 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. If you are craving something sweet try adding more root vegetables into your diet. Here’s a recipe full of many different root vegetables!
Roasted Root Vegetables
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 parsnips
- 2 carrots
- 2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash and chop all vegetables into large bite-sized pieces.
- Place in a large baking dish with sides.
- Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
- 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.
* Any combination of vegetables will work. Roasting only one kind of vegetable also makes a great side dish.