October is almost here, bringing with it visions of fall colors, pumpkins, trick-or-treating, as well as the start of the months-long holiday party season! It’s difficult to maintain willpower in the face of all the sweet-treats and unhealthy comfort foods that we encounter on a weekly basis from October through the first week of January. Pumpkin pies, apple pies, pecan pies…while the first word of each of these is actually quite healthy, it’s the “pie” part where we usually run into problems. Gluten, sugar, dairy…pies can be gastrointestinal and metabolic nightmares for many people! But they are soooooooo good! They smell amazing, and it’s an excuse to eat whipped cream (hmm, more dairy!) “I’ll just eat a small piece, right?”
Given the addicting nature of sugars and flours, it can be easier to abstain all together, than to risk the blood sugar/insulin roller-coaster ride that comes with their intake. If you can commit to getting sugar (and possibly grains and dairy) out of your diet, you will be more satisfied with the natural sweetness of whole foods, rather than relying on the refined sugar of a pie to satisfy a holiday sweet craving. I’ll tell you how to prepare one of my favorite healthy fall “treats” below:
Cut one acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place it face down on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook it in the oven for 45 minutes on 350. Pull it out of the oven, and while it’s still warm, sprinkle it with a light dusting of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of sea salt. Add one or two tablespoons of coconut butter to each half of the squash, and give it a good swirl. (You may need to warm up the jar coconut butter in a bowl of warm water, it tends to separate at room temperature.) The coconut butter gives it a nice heart-healthy sweetness, and the spices combine with the natural aroma of the squash to make it smell amazingly like a cross between pumpkin pie and pecan pie!
Give it a try this fall when acorn squashes are plentiful and affordable and let me know what you think! I think this Rainy Drink That Won’t Destroy The Results of Your Hard Work is the perfect complement!
Photo: wiki commons via http://www.usda.gov/oc/photo/02c0431.jpg