Sweet Root Vegetables: Diet Breaker or Maker?

Sweet root vegetables such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, beets, carrots, turnips and rutabagas seem to remind us of the holidays and the cold winter months. But, what about eating these root vegetables in the spring or even in the summer?

Many of my clients shy away from these vegetables due to their starch content thinking eating them will make them fat but nothing could be further from the truth!

Not only are sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots and these other root vegetables high in vitamin A or beta-carotene, which improves the health of our skin and prevents acne and other skin disorders but they are also high in vitamins C, D, E, G and K. In addition, eating these vegetables can also greatly reduce our cravings for sweets. These root vegetables contain natural sugars that elevate your blood sugar gently rather than delivering a quick, unhealthy jolt provided by simple, refined carbohydrates. They are also healing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and help remove toxins from the body. Some claim that eating these vegetables helps lactating women produce more milk and helps relieve cramps and PMS.

Below are some of my family’s favorite recipes:

Butternut Squash & Coconut Soup
1 butternut squash (you can also use 2 sweet potatoes)
1 can of unsweetened, organic coconut milk (you can buy this in most health shops)
4 dried dates
6 tbsps maple syrup
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice

Take the skin off the outside of the butternut squash, cube and take out the seeds. In a small bowl, soak the dried dates until soft. If you have a Vitamix blender then place the cubes of butternut squash inside the blender and blend on high until fairly smooth. Add the dates, coconut milk, maple syrup and spices and blend until smooth and hot.

If you do not have a Vitamix, then place the butternut squash on the stove top and cook until soft. Drain the butternut squash and dates and place them in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the coconut, maple syrup and spices and blend until smooth. Truly this soup is delicious, healthy and so easy to make!

Sweet Potato “French Fries” (My children LOVE these!)
2 large sweet potatoes (and/or carrots, beets or regular potatoes)
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground pepper
Dried oregano and rosemary (optional)
Maple syrup

Cut the sweet potatoes or other vegetables into thick fry-size slices. If you are using carrots or beets, make sure you peel them first. Place on a baking sheet and liberally douse with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and perhaps a little pepper and, if your crew is adventurous, oregano and rosemary. Place in the oven and cook at 350 degrees until golden brown. You will need to make sure to turn them as well. Serve with a side of maple syrup (high in iron) for dipping!

Raw Carrot Salad
2-4 large carrots
Olive oil
Sea salt
Optional: bed of mixed lettuce or spinach
Optional: raisons or avocado

Grate carrots. In a small bowl, hand-mix the carrots with a liberally dousing of olive oil, sea salt and the juice of ¼ lemon. I love to put this on a bed of spinach. For those who want it a bit sweeter, you can add a handful of raisons and for those who want it to be a more substantial meal, slice avocado on top.

1 Comment

  • Jeffrey
    July 28th, 2014 at 11:21 am



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