Amazing Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole Recipe for Healthy Digestion
FOOD FOR THE TUMMY AND THE SOUL
Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole
3.5 lbs sweet potatoes (about 5 medium-sized sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (moistening to the body)
1/3 cup honey (moistening to the body)
1 large egg (nourishes the blood)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (good for circulation and blood sugar regulation)
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger (aids in digestion)
Kosher salt (good mineral source)
¾ cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish.
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place.
Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer the sweet potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly.
Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth.
Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
Mix the pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the sweet potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.
Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with friends and family to share gratitude, food, and love. We come together to nourish our bodies and souls with comforting foods and to celebrate the blessings we enjoy all year. Since this is a holiday that is centered around the ritual of sharing food, I would like to share with you some tidbits about food medicine and digestion from the viewpoint of Chinese Medicine.
Eating is one of the most important things we do to keep ourselves healthy and happy. Unfortunately, many people experience indigestion, heartburn, bloating after eating, and irritation along the digestive tract. Some experience these issues even if they are eating a healthy diet. It is important to remember that our digestion is not only influenced by what we eat, but also by the manner in which we eat.
To improve digestion, have meals at regular times. For optimal metabolic function, you should eat something every 3 hours. Whenever you eat, you should sit down in a calm atmosphere. Eating standing up, eating while doing stressful work, and eating in loud and chaotic environments are all taxing to the digestive system and lead to indigestion and improper absorption of nutrients. Chew your food well. Chewing is the first step in the digestive process, and it is a very important step! It helps break down foods before they get to the stomach, which makes digestion easier and more efficient. Each bite of food should be chewed at least 30 times. Some Chinese medicine teachers insist that each bite should be chewed 100 times! Eating more slowly is also more relaxing, and you will find that you enjoy your meal times more.
Eat warm, well-cooked foods. The digestive system is like a fire or a cooking pot. If we consume cold or raw foods, the body has to work harder to “turn up” the fire and the result is indigestion. To keep the digestive fire active, add ginger to dishes or drink ginger tea with meals. Avoid excess. Excess refined sugar, greasy foods, spicy foods, dairy, and large meals lead to sluggish digestion and weight gain.
Luckily, Thanksgiving is a time when we can be more leisurely about eating our meal. Take this time to practice sitting down, relaxing, and eating slowly, and feel the difference that this makes in your digestion. If you do end up eating too much and feeling overly full, here is an exercise to help reduce the feeling of fullness: Digestive Qigong ( pronounced “chee-gong”). Qigong exercises unite movement, breath, and awareness with the goal of promoting healing and wellbeing. This one is very simple.
Sit or stand with your spine straight. Relax your abdominal muscles and let your belly “pooch out”. Begin breathing deeply, making sure that each breath makes your abdomen inflate slightly. Now put your hands, one on top of the other, over your navel. Begin making clockwise circles around the navel with both hands, pressing inward very gently. Make 30 circles in one direction, keeping your breath deep and steady. Then make 30 circles in the opposite direction. Repeat this process three times, for a total of 90 circles in each direction. This will help stimulate the digestive tract and help the food move along more quickly. It is also very relaxing!
Written by Lily House, L.Ac.