Rosemary Roasted Roots

I like to call this recipe the 3 Rs: Rosemary Roasted Roots. Roasting with fresh rosemary is a delicious and balanced way to have them. This makes a great side dish.

Root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, yellow carrots and sweet potatoes are in season now. They are a great source of nutrition we should be consuming on a daily basis. They are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants. Fiber helps in digestion and antioxidants combat disease-causing free radicals, which can damage cells.

Here’s the simple recipe:

2 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 medium parsnips, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 small rutabagas, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 small yam or sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 leek, white part only, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Asparagus Quiche

This quiche is unique as it does not include a crust. The flavors are delicious, so you will not miss the crust. This is a very simple and easy recipe is a real crowd pleaser.

Asparagus has great nutritional benefits and is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Folic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Its high folate content can also help prevent birth defects. So all the women out there who are pregnant or are planning to conceive, should work asparagus into their diets.

Asparagus is also high in potassium and low in sodium. This property, along with its active amino acids, gives asparagus a diuretic effect. This makes it ideal for women around their menstrual cycle and people suffering from rheumatism and arthritis.

I usually make two at a time since it goes so quickly. Serve with roasted potatoes or a green salad. Enjoy!

1 bunch asparagus, cut off the ends, cut asparagus spears into 2

Quinoa Pilaf with Butternut Squash

This recipe is a Quinoa pilaf with butternut squash. Quinoa originates from South America, and is high in protein. It has nice nutty flavor. Combined with antioxidant-rich butternut squash and tomatoes, this make a healthy pilaf. You will love the robust flavors of this pilaf. Enjoy with some plain yogurt on top.

Quiona

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
pinch kosher salt

2 cups vegetable stock or water
Vegetable Mixture

1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil

1 leek, white part only, diced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

1 large red tomato, medium dice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon black pepper and kosher salt

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup golden raisins (unsulphered)

4 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 cup toasted pinenuts

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

In a medium saucepan add the 2 cups of vegetable stock, quinoa and pinch a salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Put heat on low and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Take off of heat and set aside.

In a medium saute pan heat the ghee or olive oil, leek, cumin seeds and cinnamon stick over medium high heat. Let saute for about 3 minutes.

Add the tomato, coriander, black pepper and salt, butternut squash and vegetable stock. Cover, turn the heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes until the butternut squash is tender. Stir in the raisins and spinach. Taste for salt and pepper. Add the vegetable mixture to the cooked quinoa and stir in the toasted pinenuts and fresh cilantro.

Dealing with Hot Flashes

Q: What herbs do you recommend for hot flashes during menopause? And, why do we have them?

A: As our baby boomer population moves into its 40s and 50s, menopause is becoming an important health issue. When women stop ovulating, they experience a decrease in circulating estrogen levels. This in turn leads to increased reactivity of blood vessels and the autonomic system that regulates perspiration.

Hot flashes are also common in women who are receiving anti-estrogen treatment for breast cancer as well as men receiving hormonal therapy for prostate cancer.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the reason women have fewer heat-related illnesses (referred to as Pitta imbalances) during their reproductive years is that they naturally release accumulated heat through their monthly menstrual flow.

According to Traditional Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, the blood is considered the heating principle in the body.

When a woman transitions through menopause, she no longer has the opportunity to release the accumulated fire through her periods and therefore, for a time, may experience hot flashes. The intensity of hot flashes seems to correlate with how abruptly a woman has a decline in her estrogen production. When a woman goes through a surgical menopause, she experiences a very abrupt change in her hormonal levels whereas during natural menopause the changes are more gradual.

A recent study looked at the incidence of menopausal symptoms in Asian woman and found that they were considerably less common and disabling. When they were given hormone replacement therapy, they showed the anticipated rise in blood levels of estrogens, but did not report much in the way of benefits on the subjective symptoms of menopause. Many researchers are suggesting that the difference between Asian and American women’s experience is related to the intake of natural estrogens in their diet.

There are three categories of plant-based estrogens:

Phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones; soybeans, garbanzo, pinto, and navy beans are common sources of isoflavones.

Lignans; flaxseeds, sesame seeds, wheat bran, and olives are good sources of lignans.

Coumestans; alfalfa sprouts, split peas, and lima beans are good sources of coumestans.

Although they are considerably less potent than pharmacological doses of estrogen, these natural substances interact with estrogen receptors in a similar way that our own hormones work. Increasing your intake of these natural plant-based estrogens is an important first step in reducing the severity of menopausal symptoms.

Herbs that have been traditionally used for menopause, including Dong quai, Black Cohosh and Shatavari have not been well studied by Western scientific principles. A recent report from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California failed to demonstrate any definite value of Dong quai in women who were followed for six months.

Research on Black Cohosh, a traditional Native American herb has generally supported its value in reducing uncomfortable menopausal symptoms. Other studies using traditional Ayurvedic herbs are in progress around the world.

Try following a “Pitta pacifying” (heat reducing) program that includes reducing your intake of very spicy, salty, and sour foods and drinking a couple cups per day of tea made with cooling herbs such as spearmint, fennel, coriander and hibiscus. Perform a daily self-massage (with herbal or sesame oil) and surround yourself with cooling, soothing aromas such as lavender and ylang ylang.

Pay attention to balance. Minimize toxicity and maximize nourishment on physical and emotional levels. Give your physiology time to transition through this important stage of life and you will channel your creativity into greater vitality and freedom.

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