Rosemary for the win When it comes to fall and winter cooking, rosemary is one of my favorite go-to’s. Its warming flavors capture the cozy weather vibes so well. I feel like kale and butternut squash with a generous sprinkle of rosemary is an ideal […]
It’s Gravy Baby Turkey or not, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without gravy. Traditional gravies are obviously made with the turkey pan drippings, cutter, cream, and regular all-purpose white flour. None of which are suitable for a vegan and or paleo-friendly recipe. So here ya […]
Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast
For those skeptics our there, just hear me out for a second. Sweet potato may not jump to mind as a traditional breakfast food option. But really, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Sweet potatoes basically taste like dessert, but they are quite versatile and pair with both sweet and savory.
When going paleo, low-carb, or gluten-free or giving up grains altogether, breakfast beyond smoothies can be tricky to navigate. Fortunately, sweet potato bread, muffins, pancakes, and even savory loaded sweet potatoes and patties are all a thing.
But what about a nice warm bowl of oatmeal? Can anything really stand in for that breakfast stand-by? Maybe not entirely. But we can get pretty close: enter sweet potato mash.
While sweet potatoes clearly are not a direct substitute taste-wise, they do provide a similar consistency and the same warming comfort a hot bowl of oatmeal serves up on a cold winter morning. And if you throw them in the food processor for just a few seconds with the skins on, you’ll wind up with a smooth yet slightly chunky consistency similar to oats with the bits of skins mixed in.
They’re sweet but not overly sweet, provide a solid dose of real food nutrition to start the day, and can take a variety of toppings and add-ins just as well as the best bowl of oatmeal. I like to top mine with blueberries, chopped pecans, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of unsweetened coconut. But really, as with oatmeal, the sky’s the limit.
Sweet potato mash also works perfectly as a side dish, with or without the toppings. And of course it can stand in for a healthy dessert alternative!
Sweet potato health benefits
But first, the benefits. Sweet potatoes are chock full of carotenoids, which are full of potent health benefits due to their rich phytochemical concentrations. My favorite: cancer risk reduction. Increased intake of carotenoids has been associated with reduced risk of multiple types of cancer. Interestingly, they might also help protect us from harmful UV sun rays. Research has found that supplementing sunblock with daily intake of carotenoids before (and during) sun exposure can help reduce the rate of sunburn and sun damage, likely because it slows the absorption of UV rays.
Sweet potatoes have also got you covered on the Vitamin A front: one cup provides over 200% of the recommended daily intake, as well as 50% of your Vitamin C and Manganese, making them an excellent immunity-boosting staple. They also provide a substantial amount of the B vitamins and biotin, plus copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorous, and fiber.
Not only are they high in antioxidants, but they are contain anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show a reduction in inflammation in nerve and brain tissue following sweet potato consumption. The phytonutrients prevent demyelination caused by excess fibrinogen, which has implications for diseases like multiple sclerosis. The research so far backs it up – I won’t argue with that!
In spite of their relatively high GI rating, sweet potatoes have been show to actually improve blood sugar regulation, even in people with Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, another class of nutrients found in sweet potatoes called glycosides have been shown to contain antibacterial and anti fungal properties.
The Upshot: Nailing the Breakfast Game
While research into all of these potential health benefits is ongoing, the upshot is clear: eat your sweet potatoes!
In order to maximize the bioavailability of the nutrients (aka how efficiently your body absorbs the nutrients), adding a little fat to your meal is a good idea. Sweet potato and avocado is one of my favorite combos.
But you can easily add just a little olive oil to a dish, or to keep it sweet, I like to add coconut oil. For those who aren’t fans of the coconut flavor, unrefined coconut oil has no coconut flavor.
Sweet Potato Mash
A paleo, grain-free, gluten-free alternative to breakfast oats.
- 2-4 sweet potatoes depending on size
- 1 tbsp coconut oil refined or unrefined
- Toppings of choice. My favorites include: pecans, walnuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, cacao nibs, blueberries, dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, warming spices, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for a touch of added sweetness if desired.
Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a nice and bake at 400F for 35-50 minutes (depending on size; they should be soft when fully cooked).
Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor, add the coconut oil, and blend until thoroughly mashed. Option: scoop the insides from the skin and mash with a fork.
Scoop into a bowl, add toppings as desired, and eat up!
Healthy Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip Pumpkin season is officially upon us. We have pumpkin and squash and sweet potato versions of everything. But pumpkin pie-inspired delicacies are in a category of their own. With the holidays coming up I wanted to make a healthy version […]
Gut bacteria: The key to health All disease begins in the gut. ~ Hippocrates We have 70 trillion cells in our body. And we have 100 trillion cells in our gut. Meaning the gut bacteria we house far outnumber our own cells. There’s a reason […]
Cleanse your system the fun way
What is a Cleanse?
Who should cleanse?
- If you wake up feeling less than vibrant or energetic. If you feel like crap all the time. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below.
- If you struggle with keeping the weight off. As it turns out, not all calories are created equal. Sugar and refined flour have a unique effect on the body’s metabolism, and often trigger hunger and cause people to overeat. Not to mention, sugar triggers inflammation.
- If you’re addicted to sugar, carbs, or salty food-like junk. The fact is, it’s not your fault. It’s the sugar and the flour and the chemicals and the concerted efforts of the food industry over the years to hijack our brains so we become addicted, repeat customers.
- If you’ve never done a cleanse or detox. These days, all of us could use a little reset. And most of us could do with a little more self-care. Cleansing allows you to focus on self-nourishment. You and your body are your top priority for over a week. How great is that?
But wait, cleansing sounds hard!
When not to cleanse
The cleansing process
Bottom Line: It’s worth a shot!
Signs you need a Cleanse
- have trouble sleeping
- get headaches
- gain weight easily, especially in the belly
- feel exhausted and depleted
- feel a lack of focus and energy
- have trouble losing weight
- experience bloating or gas
- have digestive complaints
- have excessive sinus problems
- suffer from joint pain
- have acne, eczema or other skin problems
- feel stuck, unmotivated, or irritable
- feel stressed and overwhelmed
- experience mood swings
- crave sugar or starchy food
Symptoms of Toxic Overload
Below is a list of the many symptoms of toxic overload:
- weight gain or loss
- belly bloat
- painful gas
- frequent belching
- joint and muscle aches
- muscle tension
- skin eruptions
- inability to focus or concentrate
- foggy brain
- mood swings
- flu-like symptoms
- allergic reactions
- runny nose
Watermelon is good, and good for you Seriously, what’s more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? In life, I rarely think, I want some watermelon. But then summer rolls around and I take my first bite and I’m like oh yeah, this stuff is […]
Detox Me, Maybe? Juice cleanses. Detox programs. Cleanse supplements and detox teas. These days, these products are ubiquitous in the world of wellness and nutrition. But what’s all the hype about? Why is detoxing beneficial and really – is it? As with all things health […]
Pass the Cheese Please… Or not.
So one of the things I miss most since I upgraded my diet after diagnosis is cheese. I am not alone. Cheese is one of the foods people miss most when they go dairy-free or vegan. I briefly dabbled with going vegan in the past but cheese was my downfall – I didn’t want to give it up. It’s just soooo gooooood. The textures, the nuanced flavors, the saltiness, the creaminess, the chewiness. It’s so darn satisfying.
Dairy-free’s the way to be Being dairy-free certainly has its advantages. I feel great, my skin seems to have improved, and my eczema doesn’t flare anymore. But it also has its downsides: cheese! Or the lack thereof to be clear. Like many others who cut […]