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It’s the season of savoring! There’s no better time of year to cozy up in the kitchen and sit down for a nourishing, belly-warming meal. We sat down with FD Chef extraordinaire “Gem” to learn a few nutritional tips and tricks, and how to whip up her favorite fall recipes!
FD: What is one nutritional tip that you think everyone should know?
Gem: The more you savor your food, the more effectively your body will absorb the nutrients.
Our digestion works most efficiently when our parasympathetic nervous system is turned on, when we are relaxed and not in the stressed-out “fight-or-flight” mode. Laughing, spending time in nature, and hugging are three of many ways our bodies switch into “rest and digest” mode. At mealtime, sit down to eat, in a chair, at a table, with the nice plates, and minimize any distractions like phones and TV.
What is one food myth that you want to clear up?
Gem: There is no one diet that works for everyone. Our body compositions, preferences, ancestries, upbringings, and even our unique populations of helpful bacteria in our intestines, will dictate which foods our bodies thrive on.
How do you balance being indulgent with being health-conscious?
Gem: I pay a lot of attention to my cravings and how they affect my physical, mental, and emotional health. The quality of my sleep, meals, hydration, and stress levels will affect how I want to eat throughout the day. So if I notice at 9pm that I want to indulge myself, I have some insight on where this craving comes from. I’m not a fan of denying myself joy, so I’ll enjoy the treat, then take note for tomorrow on what steps I may take to get myself back on track (like going to bed earlier, or eating a more substantial lunch).
Roast the squash ahead of time to have this salad on the table in a pinch. Because radicchio is such a hearty leaf, you can even dress everything during dinner and have the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch ready to go.
Roasted Kabocha Squash
1 kabocha squash (2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch black pepper
2 heads radicchio, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
½ cup pecans
½ cup pomegranate seeds
½ ounce mint, leaves coarsely chopped
Creamy Shallot-Dijon Dressing
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch black pepper
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Yields about 14 muffins
Everything tastes better marbled. When swirling the batters, less is more. One too many strokes will diminish the effect.
1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 freckled bananas
¾ cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted (but not hot) coconut oil
Please note that First Descents does not conduct nutritional research studies, nor does FD encourage readers to ensue any dramatic dietary or nutritional shifts without first consulting a doctor or certified nutritionist.