Eat Better, Move Better

Posted by Dr. Eric Pragle, DC, LMT

In this day and age, it is not easy preparing a healthy meal.  However, buying, preparing and eating healthy foods has never been so important.  Proper nutrition can give us more energy to follow through with daily activities as well as simple exercising, like walking.  Along with proper spine care from gentle chiropractic, good nutrition, and exercise can help us live a pain- free, productive and enjoyable life.

Preparing a healthy meal can take a lot of time.  Let's face it, with our busy days, sometimes we choose convenience which is not always as healthy.  I'd like to share with you, a strategy, that I like to use for healthy eating. 

Soups are one of the unsung heroes in healthy foods that can be quick, delicious and very good for you.  To choose what soup would be best for you, it's really as simple as thinking about what you like to eat.  If you love broccoli, cauliflower, squash, there's lots of options for you, wild rice, lean chicken, and seafood, which we have a plethora of, here in North West Florida. 

With the Fall season, there's lots of great harvest including some of my favorites; butternut squash and pumpkin.  If you go and pick up a whole butternut squash or pumpkin at the farmers' market or grocery store and follow the instructions for baking them, you can get a ton of squash or pumpkin to be using in soups for the fall or winter.  However, this can take some time but it's well worth it as you can even put in bags and freeze.  A really simple way is just to go and get it canned.  There are some really good options, out there, for canned pumpkin or squash, with really the ingredients being just that pumpkin or squash.  Be careful to look at the salt content, you want to avoid anything to salty.   Once you have your squash or pumpkin on hand, there is enough there for great recipes for different soups.  They are comforting, nourishing and fantastic for you. 

     One of the great things about soups, is they also serve to hydrate you.  We don't always think about staying as hydrated during the Fall or Winter.   But with being inside more and wearing heavier clothing, we actually can get quite dehydrated.  So this makes soup, a great option for helping with this.  I hope that some of these recommendations will help you think of fun and easy ways to incorporate healthy foods into your healthy and active lifestyle.  Remember at Pragle Chiropractic, it is our passion to help you with your health.  Whether that be with the gentle AO treatment for spine alignment, custom massage for tense muscles or recommendations for healthy foods or supplements.  Pragle Chiropractic offers the AO treatment which is a drug-free, non-surgical treatment for migraines, headaches, neck pain, TMJ-Jaw pain, back pain and fibromyalgia.  We understand that you want to get as well as possible as soon as possible so you can enjoy your work and play.

Please enjoy the recipe for Simple Pumpkin Soup.

Prep time - 15 minutes   Cook time- 60 minutesVegan, Gluten Free- Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 sugar pumpkins
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (or sub another non-dairy milk)
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup (honey if not a vegan)
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tops of two sugar pumpkins and then halve them.  Use a sharp spoon to scrape out all of the strings and seeds
  3. Brush the flesh with oil and place face down on baking sheet.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin.  Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away skin and set pumpkin aside.
  4. To a large sauce pan over medium heat add 1 Tbsp olive oil, garlic and shallot.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until slightly browned.  Turn down heat as needed.
  5. Add remaining ingredients, including pumpkin and bring to a simmer.
  6. Transfer mixture to a blender to puree the soup, place a towel over the top of the lid before mixing to avoid any splash.  Pour mixture back into pot.
  7. Add remaining ingredients, including the pumpkin, and bring to a simmer.
  8. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 6-10 minutes and taste- adjust seasonings as needed.
  9. Recipe serves 3-4. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to two days, and in the freezer for up to a month or more.  Enjoy!