carrot and ginger soup recipe

I love carrots.  I love carrots with tzatziki.  I love spiralized carrot noodles.  I love carrot cake.  I love carrot juice.  I love the color orange.

You get it.

Carrots are good for you and are one of the easiest foods to prepare for a quick snack or to add to your favorite dishes.

In addition to loving carrots, I also happen to love soup.  The more colorful the soup, the better I find.

Oddly enough, despite my obsession with carrots, I had never made a carrot based soup.  I would add chopped carrots to many of my soup bases, but I never thought to make the carrot one of the stars of my soup show.

Until the other day, that is.  I had an abundance of carrots and wanted to make soup.  My go-to soup is usually butternut squash or broccoli, but I didn’t have either of those items on hand.  Just lots.  Of.  Carrots.

And a bit of fresh ginger for digestion.

As a result, creamy carrot and ginger soup happened.

 

Flour and dairy free, this soup can be with chicken or vegetable stock (for vegetarians).

Carrots get a bad rap sometimes from low-carb and keto communities, but they are, in fact, excellent for you.

 

Carrot and ginger as a combination is both high in vitamins A (Beta-Carotene), C, and K but also high in fiber, vitamin B6, and potassium and loaded with potent anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.

With just over 100 calories per cup, this soup is perfect for a light lunch or starter before the main course.

I only added a bit of salt and pepper to season my carrot and ginger soup, but you could get inspired and experiment with different spices to create your version of this very basic recipe!

carrot and ginger soup recipe

What’s your go-to soup recipe?  Do you love carrots as much as I do?

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how to cook pasta like butternut squash noodles

Happy Monday!  What did you do this weekend?  I had a good one for several reasons, but the three most important ones were definitely because it was SUNNY BOTH DAYS!

I ran 7 miles on Sunday (with ZERO knee pain), AND I got to meet Neil from none other than, Neil’s Healthy Meals and his lovely wife, Lynne on Saturday!  Neil, Lynne, Luke, and I all got together for lunch and had great laughs, food, and general conversation.  I love meeting bloggers I follow in real life!

So, back to the topic at hand today:  BUTTERNUT SQUASH NOODLES!

I’ve had a BUNCH of emails, comments, and in-person questions about my veggie noodle “porn” as one of my pals called it.  We’ve gone too far as humans, right?

Actually, who am I kidding?  LOOK at this zoodle …errr voodle errr …boodle…

how to cook pasta like butternut squash noodles

 

Whatever you call it, it’s magnificent!  I am a former pastaholic.  I put my hands up and admit it.  So when I tell you the following fact, it’s the absolute truth:  I have eaten actual pasta twice in the last eight months.  

Some people are super skeptical about purchasing a spiralizer.  I get it.  My first purchase was the Veggetti.   

I started out making zoodles (zucchini noodles), and at first, I was like, “Ugh, whatever, they suck.”

SO open-minded of me, right?

I stuck by my Veggetti, and I kept using it to make things like cucumber-based salads, carrot-based salads, and regular and sweet potato fries/pancakes.

Then I got an actual sprializer and started playing with the big kids:  Turnip, celeriac, cabbage, and most importantly BUTTERNUT SQUASH.

squashnoodles

So much more than a beautiful veggie

Cooking spiralized noodles has become a sort of trial and error process, for me.  Firstly, I had to contend with the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit heats switching to a British oven.  Secondly, I am SUPER picky about food texture.  I don’t like my veggie noodles watery and, if I’m making them for a pasta dish, I want them as close in texture to pasta as possible.

There are people who are afraid of change, and the idea of making vegetables into pasta is just something they downright fear.

Side-note:  I feel like there are people who read my blog who were not even born when Wayne’s World came out.

Whatever, I’m old.  It bears repeating.

Obviously.

BUT back to butternut squash noodles.

I’ve discovered there are three rules for cooking butternut squash noodles with PASTA texture:

  1. You must use your Blade C. (I ALWAYS get A and C backward.  Apologies!)
  2. You must cook the noodles FRESHLY spiralized.  (If you store them in the fridge for a few days they will leak moisture and shrivel up into nothingness in the oven. )
  3. You must cook them at a LOW heat (about 125 Celsius/ 250 Fahrenheit) for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, tossing around the pan every 12-15 minutes.  (My oven takes about 53 minutes, to be exact.)

Your butternut squash noodles will have the most amazing texture if you follow these rules!  My husband devoured/loved my slow cooker marinara sauce best on our noodles.  When you can wrap your veggie noodles around your fork and bite down on that perfect texture, you’ll be like, “spaghetti who?”

..and it started from one amazing veggie!

IMG_20150412_183825087

Happy butternut squash noodle making!   Get creative or keep it simple. This vegetable in noodle form will seriously make you think twice about grabbing a box of pasta next time you’re at the shop.

Did I also mention it takes almost NO effort to make butternut squash noodles?

I’ve shared this before, but Ali over at Inspiralized.com has a great tutorial for how to prep and spiralize just about anything that can be spiralized.  Check out her tutorial here.

You might also like to see more of my spiralizer recipes here.

[Tweet “3 Rules For Cooking Spiralized Butternut Squash with Perfect Pasta Texture #Spiralized #VMeatlessMonday #CleanEats #GlutenFree via @BeetsPerMinute”]

Have you jumped on the spiralized noodle bandwagon yet?

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intuitive exercise fueling | post-workout foods to eat

Is it Thursday again?  Of course, it is, and this means I can TOL with Amanda at Running with Spoons.

Okay, truth be told, I am an “intermittent” intermittent faster, so I don’t always eat pre-workout.   I also prefer to exercise in the morning, so the way I fuel my workout is less about food and more about how I’m going to get moving.

However, there’s nothing wrong with people who prefer to eat pre-workout, and for some folks, it’s the best thing for their body.  This post isn’t about when you fuel your workouts but HOW you fuel them.  I like to fuel intuitively, and I call this process “Intuitive Exercise Fueling.”  

The intuitive fuel is all about listening to your body and giving it what needs to get you through and beyond your exercise sessions!

 

When I’m FINISHED working out, I’m all about getting the right food into my body asap.

In the past, this post-workout feeding could get a bit scary.

I have been on just about every eating plan there is, and none of them ever worked for me.  The one way of eating that does work for me (and I highly recommend for anybody recovering from an eating disorder) is intuitive eating.

As an intuitive eater, I tend to refuel my body after workouts with what my body is craving.  As long as you’re getting in your caloric needs and base macros, your body will be able to recover, build, and maintain muscle. Typically, after my exercise session, I crave protein; which makes sense — especially after exercise — as the body needs to replenish amino acids from protein to promote muscle repair and growth.

Protein powder is a great way to ensure you take in the correct amount of protein and a great option for adding to smoothies and snacks for your pre/post-workout refuel.

A typical post-workout meal for me could be:

  • Fruit and plain unsweetened yogurt mixed with protein powder
  • Protein shakes with hazelnut milk, frozen berries, protein powder, rolled oats, and PB2. 
  • Quest Bars or homemade protein bars
  • Gluten free protein pancakes with fruit and agave

intuitive exercise fueling | post-workout foods to eat

I try not to be too strict with my pre/post-workout meals.  If my body is craving something sweet, I usually will add some cocoa powder or dark chocolate chips to add that bit of sweetness and satisfy my sweet tooth.

It’s important to give your body what it needs and to listen to it when it calls out to you.  And this is the basis of eating by intuition.  Eating well after exercise also replenishes your glycogen stores and helps to keep your energy levels high and your body functioning optimally.

[Tweet “Intuitive Exercise Fueling is all about giving your body what it needs pre and post-workout #fuelyourworkout #protein #intuitiveeating via @beetsperminute @ETBFit”]

Even though I use the power of intuitive eating pre/post-exercise, I don’t use it as a free pass to make unhealthy decisions.  To be honest, once I’m done sweating my ass off, the last thing I really want to reach for is a processed and highly refined food product.  

I just eat the macros I need and let my body take care of the rest!

***************This post was inspired by ETB Fit.  For more information on their energy sources please check out their Pre-workout Energy page!**************************

Do you fuel pre or post-workout?  Do you use protein supplements?

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natural detox foods

Happy Tuesday, #FitFam!  I’ve joined the link party again with JessJill and all of ya’ll.

This week I have something a little unique for our topic “Natural Beauty” — my guest, Ella James!   Ella is a writer and contributor for Consumer Health Digest, where she specializes in writing articles about Health, Beauty, Pregnancy, and Skin Care Treatments.

We all know (or at least we’ve heard) that beauty is truly skin deep, am I right? As a nutritional therapist, I have learned how nutrition can affect not only our health but also our appearance.  Simply being aware of what is lacking in our diets can not only improve our overall health, but also the version of ourselves we present to the world.

When it comes to our #FitFam, it’s safe to say that we all put in the time and effort to live a healthy and active lifestyle, both of which help us to shine from the inside out.  Speaking personally, in the past, I have struggled with issues like acne, oily skin, fatigue, dark circles, IBS, and some other conditions.  However, all of these conditions improved (and some diminished entirely) as soon as I made improvements to my diet and made healthy habits a priority.

Since today’s topic is all about natural beauty, I thought it would be fitting to share one of Ella’s articles for Consumer Health Digest15 Foods that Boost Your Body’s Natural Detox Power.   

When our bodies are naturally functioning at an optimal level inside, it shows on the outside.  And optimal functioning not only makes us feel our best, but it enables us to look our best too.

So without further delay, please enjoy Ella’s informative article and video, and let’s learn to beautify ourselves from within with natural detox foods.

15 Foods that Boost Your Body’s Natural Detox Power

Overview:  Several factors including environmental pollution, food, medications, lifestyle habits and by-products from body functions result in accumulation of toxic substances in the body. Without proper elimination of these toxins, you are at an increased risk of health problems including diseases and conditions. Here are 15 foods to boost your body’s natural detox power:

  1. Cucumber: A widely cultivated plant whose vines yields cylindrical fruits commonly used as culinary vegetables. It is rich in B-vitamins, vitamins C, and K. Its antioxidant properties make it useful as a detoxifying ingredient.
  2. Whole grains: They are rich in fiber essential for cleansing the colon. Their rinds/coatings are rich in minerals that help in detoxification.
  3. Garlic:  It has been used medicinally for centuries. It contains high amounts of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and liver function. Due to its antioxidant properties, it helps flush out toxins from the blood stream. It also has healing properties and fights certain types of cancer and heart disease.
  4. Broccoli: Recent studies indicate that broccoli contain sulfur, an essential mineral that helps the body get rid of toxins from the body. Also, it lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. It has been used in treating high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and bacteria-related infections.
  5. Turmeric:  It is commonly used to make a curry to give food a bright yellow color. It is obtained from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that has been used in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. It promotes digestion and addresses conditions like jaundice, menstrual problems, bloody urine, chest pain and colic.
  6. Red bell pepper: It is loaded with vitamin C, which helps in the breakdown of toxic substances into digestible material. Each red pepper has more vitamin C content than from 3 oranges.
  7. Sunflower seeds: They are rich in vitamin E and selenium. They increase liver’s ability to eliminate toxins and also prevent cholesterol build up in the circulatory system. Organic forms are the best because they are rich in fat and oil that easily soak up toxic chemicals found in processed foods.
  8. Grapefruit: It reduces cholesterol levels, promote digestion and prevent kidney stones.

  9. Walnuts: They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, essential in flushing out toxins from the body.
  10. Mung beans: Their use for medicinal purposes dates backs thousands of years by Ayurvedic doctors. They are easily digestible and help in the absorption of toxic residue from the digestive tract.
  11. Watercress: They have antioxidant properties that fight free radicals from the cells and boosts cleansing enzymes in the liver. They are also a natural diuretic
  12. Artichokes: they are rich in a compound called cynarin, which promote natural production of bile juice essential for improved digestion.

  13. Citrus Fruits: They are rich in vitamin C, which plays a significant role in the fight against free radicals in the body.
  14. Turnip Greens: They are rich in antioxidants and sulfur, which helps fight environmental toxins and heavy metals from the body. They also contain phytonutrients that activate and regulate actions of detoxifying enzymes.
  15. Lentils: They have high fiber content that helps in elimination of toxins, lowers cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

Conclusion:  Toxins from the environment, food, drugs and other sources can accumulate in the body and make you prone to illnesses. These 15 foods can naturally improve your body’s ability to eliminate toxic substances that can harm your health. Detox your body occasionally using these natural foods to stay healthy.

A very special thanks, again, to Ella for sharing her informative article with all of you!

Ella James is an aspiring author who is pursuing Health Services Administration degree from St. Petersburg College. She is an active contributor to Consumer Health Digest, which is a leading Health News Website. Her interests include reading and writing about Pregnancy, Parenting, Health, Fitness, Beauty and Skin Care.

Connect with Ella!

Twitter | Facebook 

References:

https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/colon-health-center/

https://www.glozine.com/lifestyle/health

https://www.colonhealthmagazine.com/

Do you eat any of these detoxifying foods regularly?  Do you focus on beauty from the inside out?

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is all sugar created equal| sugar facts

So, there’s a lot of buzz, hype, and confusion about eating sugar, right? Is it good? Is it bad? Am I eating too much?  Well, this post comes after much thought and years of research, reading, and also working with people who are looking to change their eating habits.  It’s easy to get confused about sugar, and truthfully, trying to get to the bottom of the truth about sugar, is enough to make you stress eat a Snickers, am I right?  If you want to navigate your way through the (not so sweet) confusion when it comes to sugar and your diet, you need only to ask this one question to solve sugar confusion.  

is all sugar created equal| sugar facts

 

By now, it’s almost a broken record to hear about how sugar is the enemy, and it no doubt is public enemy number one in obesity (childhood and adult), heart disease, and diabetes at the moment.  The truth is, most people don’t know the difference between the different types of sugars that are in the foods we eat.

 

A sugar calorie, unrefined

Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose.  What are monosaccharides?

Monosaccharides are the simplest units of carbohydrates and the simplest form of sugar. They are the building blocks of more complex carbohydrates such as disaccharides and polysaccharides.  Some examples of monosaccharides are cane sugar, honey, agave, and molasses.

A disaccharide is a sugar composed of two monosaccharides and is formed when two sugars are joined, and a molecule of water is removed. For example, milk sugar (lactose) is made from glucose and galactose whereas cane sugar is made from glucose and fructose.

Polysaccharides are formed by three or more monosaccharides.  Some examples of polysaccharides are starch (corn, white potatoes), cellulose (fruit skins and seeds), and pectin (soluble fibers such as dried beans, flaxseed, and nuts).

Let’s break it down further.

Glucose:  A simple sugar or a monosaccharide because it is one of the smallest units which has the characteristics of this class of carbohydrates.  When oxidized in the body, (metabolism), glucose produces carbon dioxide, water, and some nitrogen compounds, and in the process provides energy which can be used by the cells.  In the human bloodstream glucose is referred to as “blood sugar.”

Fructose: Sugar found in fruit and honey.  Used as a sweetener for soft drinks and processed food.  Processed solely by the liver. Fructose, particularly in liquid form (outside of whole fruits and vegetable liquid form) is not to be confused with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).

Sucrose:  Basic table sugar, also found in fresh fruit.  When sucrose is consumed, the enzyme beta-fructosidase separates sucrose into its individual sugar units of glucose and fructose. Both sugars are then taken up by their specific transport mechanisms.  The body will use glucose as its primary energy source and the excess energy from fructose, if not needed, will be poured into fat synthesis, which is stimulated by the insulin released in response to glucose.

Galactose:  Is a monosaccharide commonly occurring in lactose. Also called brain sugar.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Also known as glucose-fructose syrup. A combination of fructose and glucose made by processing corn syrup. Enzymatic processing converts some of the corn syrup’s glucose into fructose to produce a desired sweetness. The resulting syrup is sweeter and more soluble. HFCS 55 (mostly used in processed foods) is approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose.

Dextrose: Another name for glucose.

Maltodextrin: A highly processed powdered sweetener enzymatically derived from any starch, resulting in a mixture of Glucose, Maltose, Oligosaccharides, and Polysaccharides. In the US, the starch is usually corn, rice or potato; in Europe, it is commonly wheat.

Maltose: (aka Malt Sugar) Starch and malt broke down (mashed) into simple sugars and regularly used in beer, bread, and baby food.

Stevia: Also known as sweet leaf, sugar leaf. Stevia plants are dried and subjected to a water extraction process. 300 times sweeter than sugar with zero calories.

Sucralose: (aka Splenda) An artificial sweetener that is 600 times as sweet as table sugar, twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3.3 times as sweet as aspartame.

Sugar Alcohols: Also know as polyols, derived from a plant sugar which is extracted by differing means, then reduced and then hydrogenated, then recrystallized. Part of their structure resembles sugar and part are similar to alcohol, yet they are neither sugar nor alcohol, they just resemble their molecular structure. Contain about 2.6 calories per gram. Occur naturally in plant products such as fruits, berries, starches, seaweeds.

Are you dizzy now?  That’s not even all the sweet substances out there, but these are the main culprits in most of the foods on the market today — especially processed foods.

Sugar:  Not good vs. bad, but better vs. worse.

When talking about the body’s metabolic processes, and the fact that we need glycogen in our body to move, breathe, and function; it can be difficult to think that eating something with sugar isn’t a good choice.

Also, sugar — by its very makeup — IS carbohydrate, which is something we need to produce and store glycogen for all of our essential body functions.

So, c’mon, if I have to eat carbohydrates — including sugar — how can it be so bad??

In the description of sugar types I posted above, you can see that fructose, which is a sugar found in honey and fruits, is processed solely by the liver.  But wait, fruits are good for you, right?  Yes, fruits are good for you.  Here’s the deal, eating an apple, as opposed to a teaspoon or two of table sugar, or sucrose (which is part fructose) is different.  Why?  When it comes to sugar calories, they are NOT all created equally.

are all sugar calories created equal?

The raw truth about sugar calories

Low carb, no carb, paleo, and IIFYM (just to name a few) are eating plans that discourage the consumption of refined sugar, and some of those plans even prohibit fruit due to its sugar content.

While I agree that when it comes to your overall health, sugar consumption is something to keep in check, however, it’s where you’re getting your sugar calories from that is an intricate part of your overall health.

Look, sugar is somewhat unavoidable — it is a naturally occurring ingredient.  One way you can break through the sugary confusion is to ask yourself this simple question — to this complicated question:   “In addition to the sugar in this item, what other benefits will I receive by choosing to eat this food?” If you can’t list any actual health benefits to consuming that food, it’s probably safe to say that it’s not the best form of sugar to be eating.  Let’s take a look at the two examples below.

Soda vs. Fresh Juices

I’ve heard this before, “if a glass of fruit juice is just as sweet and just as many calories as a can of soda than I’m going to have the soda.”  While 12 ounces of soda and 12 ounces of juice are close in calories and sugar content, there is a significant difference between the two beverages and how they affect the body.

A can of soda has 140 calories, 39 grams of processed sugar (HFCS), and no fiber, so, therefore, it has ZERO health benefit.  Whereas, a glass of fresh fruit and vegetable juice has 177 calories, 32 grams of natural fructose sugar, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, vitamins A and C, Iron, calcium, and potassium.

Milk chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

One ounce of milk chocolate has 38 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 4 grams of sugar and no added vitamins, minerals or nutrients.  Dark chocolate also has 38 calories, 2 grams of fat, no saturated fat, and 4 grams of sugar, however, dark chocolate also contains antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, iron, and Vitamin B12.

Wow! A lot of information.  Let’s summarize it all.

Sugar comes in a lot of different forms.  Some types of sugar come in the form of “empty calories” or “nutrient sparse” foods such as many processed foods, candy, soft drinks, and concentrated juices.   While eating sugar may seem unavoidable, you need to ask yourself which health benefits are closely associated with the sugar containing foods you’re about to eat.  If you can’t find a single vitamin, mineral, or nutrient in a sugary product in question– you won’t be missing out by giving IT a miss.  Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are essential to our diet.  We need a balance of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to fully absorb the nutrition in the foods we eat.  While it’s okay to enjoy an occasional chocolate bar, ice cream, and other sweets — they are not the best source of energy for our bodies.

While your body DOESN’T know the difference between table sugar and fruit, your body DOES know the difference between foods with fiber, protein, simple and complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

If you get the proper stuff to your mouth, your body will do take care of the rest.

Have you ever been confused by sugar? Do you live a limited sugar lifestyle?  If you had 10 minutes how would you fit in something healthy?

***Helpful resources I used in addition to my nutritional knowledge about sugar to create this post.

SF Gate

Nerd Fitness – Super Awesome Blog, btw.

 

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