October is all about Pumpkins

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October and pumpkins go together like New Orleans and beignets (yes, I just referenced NOLA in the first sentence of my first blog post).  If you walk down your neighborhood you’ll notice the orange glow & spooky looking faces on nearly every doorstep. Pumpkins are so much more than just a colorful face; they’re jam packed with nourishing nutrients making this seasonal superfood beneficial to your health.

The pumpkin, the king of the squash family, is so versatile that you can eat both the flesh AND the seeds.  The flesh is loaded with vitamin A, which can help improve vision and acts as an anti-aging treatment for your skin (hello beautiful!).  Its low in calories (1 cup equals just 50 calories) and high in fiber (3 grams per cup) keeping you full for longer.  The reason why is because fiber takes longer to digest and keeps your blood sugar levels down reducing the need to snack or overindulge throughout the day.

Pumpkin seeds are what I like to call the good kind of fat because they lower your LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, which keeps your heart happy.  They’re also loaded with Magnesium, which has so many functions like the creation of ATP (the main energy source in our body) and lowers blood pressure levels.  They also act as an anti-inflammatory to your joints, so next time after the gym reach for these magical seeds as a post-workout recovery snack. Lastly, they are high in the amino acid, Tryptophan, which naturally boosts serotonin, the feel good hormone.  Who doesn’t want an instant mood booster?

As you can see the pumpkin is a SUPERfood, so my advice to you is to put down the sugar filled Pumpkin Spice Lattes (or PSLs for short) and go to your pumpkin patch (or farmers market) to get the real deal; your mind & belly will thank you.

Now that you bought a pumpkin, what the hell do you do with it?  See below for my very own Pumpkin Curry Chickpea & Lentil  Stew.

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Pumpkin Curry Chickpea & Lentil  Stew

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups pumpkin, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup raw red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 14.5 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat
  2. Add onion and cook until slightly translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add pumpkin, bell pepper, tomatoes and carrots and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the carrots become slightly tender
  4. Add garlic and cook for another minute
  5. Add curry powder, chili powder, cumin, ginger, salt, pepper and stir frequently for 2 minutes
  6. Add in red lentils, vegetable broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat  and let simmer for 30-40 minutes
  7. The last 20 minutes of cooking add in the cooked chickpeas
  8. Once fully cooked, serve over cauliflower fried rice
  9. Enjoy!

Hungry for more?  Check out Happy Belly Strong and all the services there is to offer.

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