Nordic Nourishment: Power of our Roots

roots
“I love to make a big batch of mixed roots and to use them for several dishes as the week goes on. That way, I can cook a fresh, healthy meal whether I have more than an hour to cook or I need to make a meal within 20 to 30 minutes.” All photography courtesy of Torkil Stavdal

We all come from somewhere, and the foods from our heritage “run in our blood” so to speak. Our digestive systems develop over years or rather centuries of eating foods that are or were local to where our ancestors grew up. It works the same way for blood types, which is why certain blood types digest some food groups more easily than others.

I enjoy teaching how different food groups affect our bodies because our choices then become ingredient based, and with that, we become more intuitive in our food choices and our meal creativity. Not only is food a tool for creating our daily well-being, but it also becomes our medicine cabinet, allowing us to take charge of our health.

ROOT VEGETABLES: ESSENTIAL FOODS FROM EARTH | Root vegetables are one of the most universal foods, but they have developed an undeserved bad reputation. They bring to mind farmer’s food, which we tend to think of as heavy and dense, and because of their complex carbohydrates, they have been vilified by popular diets, insinuating they are “bad” calories that should be avoided.

We end up avoiding them and seeking comfort in processed foods like white bread, and pasta, which are more deserving of the “bad” label. Why is this the case? No, it’s not because we have no willpower, though most of my clients come in with that belief.

It’s because we naturally want and need comfort foods, and that means starches. Starchy foods calm us, ground us and relax us. It’s natural for our bodies to try to find balance, so when we are stressed and tired, a desire for comfort and relaxation is natural. We must be mindful then of choosing foods that both nourish and nurture us.

ROOTS, TUBERS AND BULBS | Root vegetables include carrots, beets, regular and sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, parsley root and all members of the onion family. Some root vegetables really are roots, while others are tubers and some – like onions – are bulbs. What they all have in common is that they grow in the earth, under the surface of the soil, and become enlarged through absorption of the earth’s nutrients and minerals.

I say it is time we reclaim our relationship with nourishment, get back to our roots and cook foods that feed not only our desire for sweetness, comfort and relaxation, but also our body’s need for good complex carbs that provide us energy.


making roots
MAKING ROOTS:
Ingredients for 4 servings
1 and 1/2 cups of chopped carrots
1 and 1/2 cups of chopped yellow beets
1 and 1/2 cups of chopped sweet potato
1 cup of quartered small grape tomatoes
8 whole cloves of garlic
Ingredients for the dressing:
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
3 tablespoons of untoasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground whole black peppercorn
1 tablespoon of dried barberries (can substitute with other tart berries)
1 pinch of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine all of the dressing ingredients and stir well. Put the veggies in a baking dish and pour the dressing over them. Bake in the oven for 60 minutes. Stir the veggies about 25 minutes into the cooking time. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the baking dish if the veggies seem dry.


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QUINOA WITH ROOTS:
Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 cup of quinoa
2 and 1/2 cups of water
Dash of sea salt
Roots
Olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Directions:
Rinse the quinoa well. Combine the quinoa with the water and sea salt, and bring them to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes until the water is absorbed. Mix with roots and some olive oil, and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with greens.


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ROOT TART
Ingredients for 4 servings:
1/2 cup of toasted pumpkin
and sunflower seeds, mixed
1/2 cup of rolled oats, gluten free if necessary
1/2 cup of brown rice flour
1/2 cup of millet flour
1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of organic thyme
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil or untoasted sesame oil
(plus more to oil pan)
5 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut,
almond or oat milk
5 eggs
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and oil a 10-inch tart pan. Grind the seeds in a food processor. Then combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix. Pour the milk one tablespoon at a time and mix once again. Finally, knead the dough and make it into a large ball.
Press the flour mix into the tart pan. Depending on how thick you want the crust, you will have some dough left over. Press a fork into the bottom of the crust and bake for 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, whisk five eggs with one tablespoon of water per egg and one large pinch of sea salt. Add one and a half cups of pre-roasted roots to the egg mixture and stir. Remove the crust from the oven and fill with the roots and egg mix. Finally, bake for another 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with greens and eat with friends.
This recipe is adapted and altered from a recipe by Amy Chaplin.


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Jeanette Bronée founded Path for Life in 2004 in hopes of bringing awareness to the healing power of learning how our choices affect us. She established the nine-step online Path for Life Self-Nourishment Program based on her integrative, mind-body approach to nourishment, which she developed over the course of a decade by helping clients transform their relationships with food. In addition to her private coaching practice, Bronée is a writer, recipe developer and motivational speaker with a specialty in emotional eating.

PHOTOGRAPHY | TORKIL STAVDAL

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