The first day of fall is just around the corner and many of us have already been feeling the effects of the autumnal equinox. With the change of season it’s natural for our bodies to innately shift and crave the fruits and seeds of the season.
Seasons naturally form the foundation for eating and help guide us to a diet that better suits our body and its nutritional needs. When we are in sync with eating seasonally it helps us to adapt more readily to our environment and all the changes it endures.
With this in mind it is so easy for us to forget about this simple, yet highly beneficial concept with our busy modern lives in charge and our quick access to manufactured convenience foods.
Because I understand how little time and often energy the chaotic rat race leaves for us to actually prepare and enjoy our food, I am all about quick and easy meals and snacks that are still packed with nutrition and follow the guidelines of eating seasonally.
I put together this smoothie recipe for a healthy twist on chai tea, which I’ve been craving ever since the cool crisp weather has arrived. Pumpkin, the key superfood ingredient in this smoothie, is loaded with anti-aging and disease-fighting nutrients, including potassium, pantothenic acid (or B5 – the stress vitamin), magnesium, and vitamin C and E.
Pumpkin also contains one of the richest supplies of bioavailable (the degree to which a food can be utilized for absorption) carotenoids on the planet. Carotenoids are what gives plants their rich orange, red and yellow deep pigmentation. They help protect the plants from sun damage and in humans have been found to decrease the risk for various cancers.
In the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest and longest running investigations of contributing factors that influence women’s health, found that women with the highest concentrations of carotenes in their diet had the lowest risk for breast cancer.
Pumpkin Chai Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 cup puréed pumpkin (fresh or canned BPA free)
- 1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or until desired sweetness)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg, cloves, ginger
- 1-2 fresh cardamom seeds
Remove cardamom seeds from shell and grinder together with the rest of the spices in a coffee grinder until powder form. Add this along with all other ingredients to a high speed blender until evenly blended. Pour into your favourite fall coffee/tea mug and enjoy.