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HALLOWEEN IS HERE: IT'S TIME TO GET CARVING!

Oct 30, 2015

I love Halloween for one overbearing reason: pumpkins!

I love everything about these amazing gourds: their mood boosting colour, the fun I have choosing and carving them and the amazing versatility of this orange fruit in the kitchen.

 Nutritionally, pumpkins are one of the richest supplies of Alpha and Beta Carotenes. Carotenes are the pigments that give pumpkins their beautiful colour. In plants and animals, these pigments protect the plant from sun damage but in humans studies have shown them to have many other health benefiting properties. Beta-carotene has been shown to prevent oxidation of cholesterol which stops the formation of hard plaques that could lead to the narrowing of blood vessels and as a result, the risk of heart problems. Alpha-carotene has been shown to reduce physical signs of aging in humans particularly wrinkles. On top of this, pumpkins contain a host of immune boosting vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, K and E as well as minerals Zinc and Magnesium. Added to this, pumpkins are a fantastic source of fibre working to keep our digestive tract in check. Last but not least, 1 cup of pumpkin contains more potassium than the humble banana helping to restore the body’s natural balance of electrolytes so next time you feel dehydrated or find yourself cramping – consider picking up some pumpkin!

So when you are carving your pumpkin this Halloween, don’t just chuck the flesh away. Consider using it to make a tasty soup, curry, pie or even including it into your post workout nutrition. Haven't tried a pumkin smoothie yet? Well now's your chance.

PUMKIN PUREE

About 7 cups raw pumpkin flesh, cut into cubes

4 – 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil

½ cup dates

1/3 cup maple syrup or to taste

1-2 tsp cinnamon

2 - 3 tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves)

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla essence 

METHOD

Blend/process the pumpkin cubes until they start to form a puree consistency

Add all other ingredients and blend/process until it forms a smooth puree

Add additional spices or sweetness to taste

 

PUMKIN PIE SMOOTHIE

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

½ cup Pumkin Puree

Cinnamon to taste

I handful ice cubes

Optional: 1 scoop (30g) good quality vanilla protein powder

This smoothie is delicious. It is a great post workout smoothie because pumpkin is naturally high in potassium, which helps to balance lost electrolytes, and the cinnamon help to ease inflammation which in turn regulates your insulin levels. I use a hormone free, organic whey protein because my body responds well to this whey but there are a number of tasty vegan protein powders on the market too. Simply place all the ingredients into a blender and whizz up until smooth, adding additional water or almond milk to your desired consistency.

 

Written by Viki Marr

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