We all get stuck in ruts from time to time. Same breakfast, same lunches and a few dinners that are on rotation from week to week. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating the same thing, but our bodies very much benefit from variety. Aside from just the basic nutrients that our bodies receive from eating a wide array of foods, our guts are the ones that require it in order to do their job properly. As we've come to understand, we're actually feeding our gut and in particular the bacteria residing in it. These little bacteria basically dictate our health and well being.
Our bodies contains 100 trillion of them with an estimated 7000 different species. Like fingerprints, no two individuals have the same combination of bacteria. These reside on every surface on our skin, our urogenital tract but the majority reside in our gut. If that's not impressive enough, 80% of our immune system is located in our gut as well, so it is no surprise that a deficiency in proper nutrients, and consumption of processed food and refined sugar, wreaks havoc on our health.
Very few of us stop and think about this on a daily basis, unless we're driven to the point where we have to question the very act of how what we put in your bodies truly affects our health.
This is where variety comes in. Eating a wide range of foods, not only fuels the body but fuels the gut bacteria, which are responsible for either keeping us healthy or making us sick. Evidence shows that a diet full of varied vegetables and fruits, with good sources of fat and protein, provide a larger nutritional profile which boosts the body's ability to heal. On the other hand, a diet consisting of processed food, sugar and high in trans fats, negatively impacts and feeds pathogenic bacteria causing a host of problems. Everything from autoimmune diseases to, mental health disorders, heart conditions and cancers, can all be traced back to the gut. As Hippocrates so wisely said some 2000 years ago: "All disease begins in the gut"
One of my favorite ways of incorporating a wide range of vegetables and flavors is by roasting them with spices. Here is one of my favorite lunches, which incorporates raw and roasted veggies.
Roasted Vegetables over Quinoa with Honey Lime Dressing
Roasted Vegetables Ingredients:
- 2 sweet potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1 zucchini chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil or more
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 2 cups water or broth (I used bone broth)
Honey Lime Dressing:
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- avocado cut into small pieces
- mixed greens
- toasted flax seeds
- chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss veggies with spices and olive oil and roast for 20-30 minutes or until soft. Be sure to toss them from time to time. Meanwhile, rinse your quinoa and add to a pot with 2 cups broth or water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed. Prepare your greens and cut avocado into small pieces.
In a small mixing bowl mix lime juice, honey, cumin and salt and set aside. Add avocado, and drizzle with dressing, and top with seeds and nuts.
To assemble, create a bed of greens, place quinoa on top, add your veggies, avocado and drizzle with dressing. Top with seeds and nuts.