Friday, September 15, 2017

Favorite Fall Fruit and Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, fall nutrition powerhouse

It's economical and healthy to pick up scrumptious fall fruits and vegetables including sweet potatoes, apples, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and pears at a local farmers market, grow them in your home garden, or get sale items in the produce sections of neighborhood markets. 

Updated 7/10/2023

Fresh seasonal fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients needed to maintain wellness. Produce mentioned in this post is at the peak of flavor in the fall. 

In-season local produce is usually less expensive and fresher than stuff that is imported and/or has to travel thousands of miles to get to your market. 

Most of us know it's important to serve the freshest foods we can find at the most economical prices, don't we?

Note: I’ve mentioned this before in earlier posts, but it bears repeating. I encourage my readers to purchase certified organically grown foods. 

Ongoing research on organic foods shows that the likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchase of certified organic products. 

Now Back to my Fall Favorites

Sweet Potatoes are Healthy, Tasty, Fall Favorite
yellow and orange fleshed Sweet Potatoes, and deep purple skinned piece of Japanese Sweet Potato

SWEETPOTATOES and yams are comfort foods for me. Perhaps it's mouthwatering taste is the same reason that this tater is so popular for Thanksgiving dishes and autumn meals. 

Although sweet potatoes and yams taste sugary, eating them without butter or other fatty toppings is helpful in lowering your glycemic index and reducing your hunger and sweet cravings. 

Orange or golden yellow fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and nutrients including Vitamin C. Eat the skin as well as the rest of this vegetable to reap the best nutritional reward. 

Sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium, Vitamin B6, and magnesium too. All work to lower stress, and munching on a sweet potato is a healthy way to fill yourself up without filling you out. 

Sweet potatoes and yams are rich in beta-carotene, which can prevent Vitamin A deficiencies, promotes healthy eyesight, and generates retinol production for healthy skin. 

For a treat you and your family are sure to love try this delicious Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts recipe from Katie Koteen at Well VeganIt combines two of my featured veggies and is so delicious.

Apples are Tasty, Healthy, and Fall Favorite

APPLES are juicy, loaded with goodness, and make a perfect snack when you’re at home or on the go. Farmers nowadays grow thousands of varieties, ranging from sweet to tart. 

Red and Golden Delicious are among the sweetest apples. Pink Lady and Crispin are sweet and tart combined. Braeburn and Fuji apples are slightly tart. Granny Smith apples are the most tart, but retain their texture best during cooking. 

Whole apples are a much better nutritional choice than apple juice. Whole apples are richer in dietary fiber. Juicing drastically reduces the polyphenolic phytonutrient concentrations found in the whole fruit. 

Apples are loaded with vitamin C, and almost half of an apple's vitamin C content is just under the skin. That’s why it's important to eat apples with their skins. 

Apples contain insoluble fiber and water, which provides bulk and liquid in the intestinal tract that cleanses and moves food quickly through the digestive system. In addition, apples have soluble fiber, pectin. This nutrient helps prevent cholesterol from building up in the lining of blood vessels, which in turn helps prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease. 

Taste wise, apples are their best from September to November. Eat those that are organic and grown local for best flavor.

Tasty, Healthy, In-season Fruits and Veggies
Miso Sesame Seed Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa, Beet Greens, and Brussels Sprouts

BRUSSELS SPROUTS are strong (bitter) tasting and yet I love them. This dark green veggie has special cholesterol-lowering benefits. The most nutritious way to cook them is to steam them. 

The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract, when the sprouts have been steamed. 

Want to lower cholesterol levels? Eat more steamed Brussels sprouts. This bold tasting green vegetable tops the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. 

Total glucosinolate (a phytonutrient and anti-cancer agent) content is greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, or cauliflower. 

Consuming one cup of Brussels sprouts at 38 calories provides 195 percent of the DV for vitamin K, 125 percent of vitamin C, 3 grams of protein, and 10 percent or more of vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folate, potassium, and manganese needs for the day. Brussels sprouts fulfill your DV for calcium, with 37 mg per cup. 

Recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts is simple and satisfying.

I purchase 2 cups of Brussels sprouts or roughly a pound. I like those that are sold loose or on the stalk. That way, it's easy to pick and choose the best. Select small Brussels sprouts, as they are the most tender and sweet.

Clean off wilted outer leaves and cut off bottom. Soak for a few minutes and then rinse in cool water. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise, and place in a baking dish. Mince 5 or 6 cloves of garlic and sprinkle on sprouts. Pour 1/4 cup water over the sprouts and stir so water and garlic is spread throughout.

Roast in a covered baking dish or roasting pan in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 1/2 an hour.  

Test to see whether the sprouts are thoroughly cooked. Brussels sprouts should be crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. If they aren't crispy on the outside, brown them uncovered for 10 minutes more.

Drain off any water that remains and place on a platter or into a serving bowl. 

Drizzle on 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. Add fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste. If you'd like, add a splash of fresh squeezed orange, lemon, or lime juice for zing.

Since Brussels sprouts are in- season fall, winter, and early spring in most places, it's a great veggie to serve in those seasons.

Sprouts make a delicious addition to Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, Easter, and Passover meals. 

Brussels sprouts are fall veggies that's nutritious and easy to make,

BUTTERNUT SQUASH is a favorite too. It is a type of fall/winter squash that has a sweet nutty taste and tan-yellow skin. The flesh is bright orange. 

Peel off the skin and roast the squash until tender. It makes a tempting side dish along with lentil or bean and rice burritos. Cut butternut squash into chunks and add it to a tossed salad. 

Butternut squash is low in calories but high in many nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.

PEARS are a luscious yellow, green, brown, or red skin fruit that keeps us hydrated. It contains a lot of water, and packs a variety of helpful nutrients. 

Each medium-sized pear provides about 24% of the Daily Value of fiber. Much of its fiber is in the form of pectin, which reduces cholesterol and decreases the risk of heart disease. 

The fiber in a pear also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, ensures bowel regularity, and reduces the risk of colon cancer. 

Pears are an ideal snack food that is a good source of vitamin C, and provide 190 mg of potassium. Pears have phytonutrients, including anti-inflammatory flavonoids, anticancer polyphenols and anti-aging flavonoids. 

Studies regarding pear nutrition have linked the fruit’s consumption with lower levels of constipation, kidney stones, high cholesterol, and even diabetes.

Well folks...that's my take on Favorite Fall Fruit and vegetables. Eat color intense fall produce to maintain your health as well as enjoy their distinctive flavors.

This post is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Although I research and fact-check every post, if you seek medical or nutrition advice, see a health care provider.

Before you go, please take a moment to comment. 

Scroll down, and comment at the bottom of this post. Please no links in your comment as I won't publish it that way.

Please tell me about ways you like to serve fall fruits and vegetables. 

What new tips or facts did you learn about fall fruits and veggies? 

Why not let me know what are your fall favorites?

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Focus on Sacral Chakra Energy to Balance Emotions, Creativity, and Sensuality

Balance Sacral Chakra at Colors 4 Health

The Sacral Chakra (2nd Chakra) radiates powerful energy to balance emotions, sensuality, and creativity. It helps you feel pleasure in daily living, and the main color associated with it is orange.

This post has been updated 7/31/23

Envision orange if you need support. It will help you get through difficult life challenges. 

Do you ever feel in a rut or lack enthusiasm for doing something new? To reduce sacral chakra energy blocks, identify those places in your body, mind, or spirit where you feel stuck. 

Then, create an affirmation for it to shift thinking from negative or neutral to positive. 

Use affirmations to help you open up to possibilities, instill a sense of hope, and increase motivation to move on. 

Here's some that I wrote. Perhaps the following will give you a better idea of how to begin. It's important to affirm each affirmation aloud.

Sacral Chakra Affirmations

"My emotions are messengers; each helps me recognize what I am feeling."

“My senses are finely tuned, bringing me great pleasure.”

“I am a creative, sensual human being who relishes living fully in each moment.”

"I care for, respect, and love my body and it is strong, healthy, and serves me well."

If you desire greater intimacy with your partner, serve up chakra energy in a meal that’s chock full of orange fruits and veggies. Orange nutrients from plant-based foods makes passion multiply and may inspire you to express your love for each other in a very real way.

Gaze at orange to increase creativity. Orange is an excellent accent color to use in an art studio, your office, or clothing you select. Wearing orange can also help you move forward in life after tragedies or losses.

The Sacral Chakra’s element is water, an energy that’s characterized by flow and flexibility. If you suspect there’s an imbalance in this chakra, walk in nature by a lake, ocean, stream, or river. 

If you can't travel outdoors, envision "water blue or white." They are additional colors for the Sacral Chakra. 

Use your imagination to help you recover from imbalances in this chakraLooking at pictures of water images, re-enforces the idea of personal expansion, as you visualize a broad and limitless sea. 

When you see your favorite body of water, doesn't the color nurture you? Remember to drink an adequate amount of water to keep hydrated and nourish this chakra.

Encourage fluidity in your body, mind, and spirit by dancing or getting off your seat, or lift yourself off the couch to participate in swimming or other forms of exercise or moving mediation. 

Balancing the 2nd chakra in this way helps you treat yourself, others, and to the world in a flexible, freeing way. 

In the body, the Sacral Chakra is located below the navel in the Spleen area. On a physical level, the Sacral Chakra is believed to affect the reproductive system, sexual and reproductive organs, the lumbar plexus, bladder, and kidneys. 

To keep this chakra finely tuned, maintain a healthy sexual life, dance and play creatively, and honor it by respecting your body. 

Seek treatment for any addiction including alcohol, drugs, food, or cigarettes.

On a spiritual and emotional level, this chakra is related to your sense of prosperity and abundance. It's the center from which you create. 

This chakra represents your emotional body, defining the extent to which you are willing to feel your emotions and to what extent you feel them. 

Notice if there are any feelings you’re holding onto. Make a commitment to process those emotions in a healthy way. 

If you find it difficult to process your feelings on your own, ask for help from a friend, clergyman, or mentor. If you still have difficulty dealing with strong emotions, go to a support group that addresses that issue or seek professional help.

When the second chakra is balanced, you are productive, focused, and accomplish all you set out to do. When you sense a block in this area, you feel frustrated, emotionally shut down, or nervous. 

An effective method that helps calm you or lift your spirit, is to apply a few drops of 100% essential oils: sandalwood, orange, jasmine, juniper or geranium in a carrier oil like jojoba, almond, or olive to the sacral chakra area balances it. Before using, read essential-oil-safety-tips.

Sound can help align this chakra, and chanting VAM is helpful when you're feeling out of kilter. Here’s a YouTube link to Sacral Chakra Meditation from Meditative Mind. Enjoy listening to Sacral Chakra music and use sound vibrations to heal and balance.

Devote time each day to focus on sacral chakra energy and the colors orange, water blue, and white. 

All my tips, including using sound and meditation, can help you go after your goals and succeed. The sacral chakra is like a good friend, one that inspires passion, creativity, and honors your emotions as you get on with your day.

Please let me know you're out there by commenting in the section below. 

What new things did you learn about the Sacral Chakra? 

Do you think this information will help you? Let me know that too.

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