Thursday, October 4, 2012


When I think of fall, I think of pumpkins. Few things get me more excited this time of year than pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin shakes, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin fries - pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! When harvest time comes around I crave them more than any other food. There is something so warm and fall-like about them - a richness and depth of flavor that only a season of hard summer work can bring.


And not just beta-carotene. Nope, that beta has an estimated 500 family members. And you thought your relatives were a handful. Actually this family, called carotenoids, actually work best when all together. Just another reason to eat whole, fresh plant foods!

Pumpkins and carrots are both packed with a variety of carotenoids including: beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All are useful, if not critical, in preventing cancer - specifically bladder, cervix, prostate, lung and colon cancers. Some studies have shown a risk reduction of 30 - 50 percent [20 percent in post-menopausal breast cancer]! Moreover, beta-cryptoxanthin has been shown to have strong antioxidant properties which are helpful in fighting off and reducing the risk of many diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. Carotenoids, working as a team, provide enormous benefits for the eyes by protecting them from macular degeneration and cataracts.

Oh, and just so you know, a cup of pumpkin packs in more than 2.5 grams of fiber!


1 banana, halved and frozen
1 c. homemade pumpkin puree
2 carrots, washed and cut into chunks
1 - 2 c. homemade coconut, cashew, or walnut milk milk
juice from 1/2 a lemon
4 - 6 soaked dates + soaking water*
1 T. honey or maple syrup
1/8 tsp. of ground cinnamon
large handful of ice

Place all in blender and blend on high until very smooth. Serve immediately!

Place dates in a 2 cup glass measuring jar. Cover with boiling water, enough to fill to 1 1/2 c. line. Let stand for 10 minutes.

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