The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet/Butternut Squash Soup

The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet/Butternut Squash Soup
By Elaine Bryan

While there are many different styles of eating these days, as there has always been, research continues to validate the many health benefits of eating more plant-based.  And quite a few of us don’t even realize that the foods we eat often have more of an impact on our health than anything else in our lives.  Even over physical activity, managing stress, adequate sleep, social connectedness – because food also impacts all of those areas as well!  And each bite we eat moves us more towards health or disease – It’s all our choice.

What does plant-based even mean?  Dr. Colin Campbell, author of the book “The China Study” emphasizes this: “Nutrition must be wholistic: looking at countless nutrients and mechanisms that control many diseases”.  Over years of experience and research, it has been found that plant foods contain nutrients in the healthiest ratio (except B12 and D) for the human body.  Instead of focusing on individual nutrients, a whole food plant-based diet emphasizes the symphony of nutrient composition that has been proven to be optimal for human health.

For this reason, it has been said that a whole food plant-based dietary lifestyle then maximizes the intake of whole, plant foods and minimizes the intake of processed and animal-derived foods.  The diet lifestyle is centered around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, (legumes), herbs, spices, and nuts and seeds.

The benefits have been shown to be many and include a meta-analysis study done in 2017 at Imperial College in London.  This study looked at populations worldwide and included up to 2 million people and diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and more.  It analyzed over 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake and found the greatest benefit came from eating the equivalent of about 10 portions daily.  In the research, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team estimated approximately 7.8 million premature deaths could be potentially prevented every YEAR if people ate 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day!

This is significant information to know!

It makes sense because the plant-based benefits include many such as reducing chronic inflammation, decrease in cancer risk and slowing the progression of certain cancers, cardiovascular benefits, improvement in immune function, improvement in diabetes and blood sugar management, increase in energy, sleep, mood and mental clarity and much more.

It has been shown that anti-cancer molecules in certain plant foods can be used to create an environment that is hostile to tumors.  This daily intake of these incredible plant foods can then assist in creating the defense mechanisms and environment that can be more protective in the body overall.

One of the plant foods that is beneficial and widely available during the fall/winter and holiday season is squash.  One of the favorites is butternut squash and it can be used to make a warming, satisfying soup or even roasted and stuffed with kale, mushrooms including immune-boosting shitake mushrooms, garlic and onions, some nuts, and quinoa.  All with their own protective, beneficial plant molecules.

Butternut squash itself contains a substance called beta-cryptoxanthin that has been repeatedly found to lower the risk of lung cancer. By eating foods such as butternut squash, it has been estimated that the risk of lung cancer can decrease between 15-40%.  It has also been shown that taking supplements of these plant chemicals or phytochemicals (nutrients) that are in astounding numbers in these plant foods does not have the same effect as eating the plant in whole food and may even increase health risks.  Beta-cryptoxanthin can also be found in tangerines, persimmons, and spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

The butternut squash also has protective lutein and zeaxanthin that is found in yellow fruits and vegetables and can protect your eyes, and the beta carotene in these plants such as squash are beneficial for heart health as well as supporting the immune system. See below for a Curried Butternut Squash Soup that will help keep you warm and nourished this season!

Beta carotene has also been shown to promote communication between cells, which has been shown to quell the growth of cancer cells, according to a 2020 article in the journal Food Science and Nutrition.

Making these plant foods in a large variety of different colors every day into your diet lifestyle a huge win!

For more information about Elaine Bryan, and for even more yummy and nutritious recipes and tips, visit http://www.bodyandsoulnourishment.com/.


Curried Butternut Squash soup

2-3 Tbsp coconut oil or veggie broth, or Avocado oil spray

¾ cup onions or chopped leeks

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½-1 tsp curry powder

3 cups of vegetable broth

2-3 cups of filtered water

1 can of full fat coconut milk

1 medium-sized butternut squash (peeled and diced into 1-2 inch pieces)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

 

Heat the oil, vegetable broth or use avocado spray in a saucepan and add the chopped onion/leeks, garlic and the curry powder (if desired).

Saute a few minutes until onion and garlic are fragrant.

Add in the cubed butternut squash, the vegetable broth and the filtered water to get to the consistency desired.

Note:  You can roast the butternut squash first if desired and then add to the soup and cook less time as the squash will already be cooked.

Cover and simmer until the squash is softened which will be about 20-25 minutes.

If you like the soup somewhat chunky, you can use a masher to mash the ingredients up, or use an immersion blender to blend, or transfer carefully to a high speed blender to blend together until smooth.

Transfer back to pot and add the thyme, salt and pepper, and optional nutritional yeast.  Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk.  Stir and serve!

 

How to Detox Your Body Every Day

How to Detox Your Body Every Day
By Harvey Slater, Holistic Nutritionist & Wellness Coach

Have you thought about doing a detox but don’t know where to start? The word detox is flying around quite loosely these days. People are talking about it a lot! The word “detox” gets almost 30,000 internet searches a month! Many of us come to think that “doing a detox” is some kind of big thing that we have to endure for a week or a month. There are certainly many detox methods out there that would require this kind of mindset. But what if I told you that our bodies were already designed to be in a perpetual state of healthy detox, and all you have to do is make some choices each day to support your body to do what it was naturally designed to do? Sounds too good to be true, right? It’s not! You and anyone can learn how to detox your body in your everyday life just by employing these simple habits, principles, and more.

8 Simple Practices to Support Your Body’s Natural Ability to Detox

  1. Stay Hydrated

A healthy body is considered to be made up of more than 50% water. When we are dehydrated our organs literally shrink from dehydration, and the toxins in our bodies become more concentrated. Hydration allows our body to function better and flush the toxins out instead of hanging on to them. Here is an article from the Mayo Clinic on how much water you should be drinking per day for your body and weight. Creating a simple habit of drinking more water can make a huge difference in how your body functions and how you feel.

  1. Drink Lemon Water in the Morning

Drink a glass of room temperature lemon water or hot water with lemon first thing in the morning.  The lemon alkalizes your pH and stimulates your digestion and liver cleansing function.

  1. Have a Plant-Based Smoothie for Breakfast

The traditional American breakfast is not what it’s cracked up to be when it comes to high quality, efficient nutrition. When you eat eggs, bacon, bagels, and cream cheese for breakfast, you are actually going backwards and bogging your body down from its ability to naturally detoxify. By starting your day with clean, plant-based, easy to digest food, you are giving yourself a morning cleansing boost. Use raw fruits and vegetables, a good, whole-food plant-based protein powder, and plant-based milk like almond, hemp, or coconut milk. You can also find raw greens and other “super-foods” in concentrated powders.

  1. Eat Raw Plants During Daylight

There isn’t some time of day mystic plant energy behind this. It is just a rule of thumb that I use to try to remember to eat raw, plant-based, cleansing foods throughout my workday. In his book, The Food Prescription For Better Health, Dr. Baxter D. Montgomery MD articulates the healing and cleansing benefits of eating plant foods in their raw state or as minimally processed as possible. This can be easily achieved because salad is already the main staple for most people’s lunch menus. Just take it a step further and try having some fun and exploring other ways to enjoy raw vegetables, fruits, sprouted legumes, nuts, and seeds.

  1. Try to Avoid or Reduce ‘The 3 A’s”: Addictive, Acidic, & Allergenic Foods

Some of the top contenders on this list are: Alcohol, coffee, refined sugar, commercial dairy products, highly processed gluten, to name a few. I know, I know! When we start getting into the territory of giving up the foods that we love it changes the entire context of this article from “simple daily habits” to “oh no I can never eat a doughnut again!” For the purpose of this article, just consider cutting back on one or two things here and there and see how much of a difference it makes for you.

  1. Eat Whole, Organic Foods

This is one place where you should definitely splurge at the grocery store. Here is my question: If the objective is to support your body’s natural ability to detoxify on a regular basis, why would you put environmental toxins like pesticides, hormones, and other harmful chemicals into your body? The further along society gets in this discussion, the more compelling the argument for an organic diet becomes.

  1. Drink a Detox Tea

We have a lot of bad daily drinking habits available to us, including but not limited to coffee, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, so why not make a daily habit of giving your liver and kidneys some daily, healthy, hydrating support? You can find a high quality, safe detox tea at your favorite healthy food market.

  1. Establish Sustainable Healthy Habits!

Our bodies are living organisms on a homeostatic continuum. The more healthful, supportive, and nourishing an environment you create for your body, the more easily it can maintain optimal health and wellness, and do its “detox, heal and thrive” thing! By mastering basic healthy lifestyle habits, you can move toward a life of health and vibrance, and away from a life of constantly battling autotoxemia and illness.

I offer a virtual coaching program (for a fee) that can teach you these skills and show you the pathway to mastering your own health and wellness! The program is called “Habitude.” Habitude is defined as: “A habitual tendency or way of behaving.” And that is the foundation of the program. We’ll spend one year, 25 tele-health support sessions, and all the support you need on my virtual “Healthie” nutrition coaching app, mastering a curriculum of healthy living skills that will support you to take the best care of your body possible.

If you’d like to explore this further, I’d love to invite you to a complimentary phone consultation. Schedule your consultation right here!

Meanwhile, enjoy your new healthy insights!

If you enjoyed reading about how to support your body’s natural detox functionality, you might enjoy my website at harveyslater.com

*Harvey also presented a workshop on how to support our own detox functions. To view the recording, visit https://vimeo.com/474879301.