How many times a day do we have to choose between what we want and what’s good for us? Water or soda? A good nights sleep or a movie? Workout or skip (again)? Saucy pasta dish or veggies? It’s not very often that we get to have our cake and eat it too, or in this case, our carbs! Not only does pasta pack a whopping 200 calories per (small) serving, but it’s 200 calories of highly refined, simple carbohydrates. A big bowl of pasta alone is exactly the kind of meal that results in spiked blood sugar, inflammation, and ultimately insulin resistance. That’s completely ignoring the excessive salt, butter, cheese, cream and preservatives found in the sauces usually coating those pasta dishes.
So if we want to keep our bodies running at optimal condition and give them every possible chance of fighting off the pathogens that we are sure to encounter, then we have to say “good bye” to the comfort food for good, right? Of course not! There is absolutely no reason why we can’t find a way to enjoy our favorite dishes, while fueling our body with the best possible nutrition. One of the first items on the swap list is easily pasta. As our knowledge of the drastic effect that our diet has on our health increases, more and more possible pasta substitutions continue to arise. In this instance, we’re using roasted spaghetti squash for its texture, and slightly sweet flavor, to perfectly pair with the strongly herbaceous flavor of a quick and easy basil pesto.
Right out of the gate, swapping out the pasta for squash gets rid of 3/4 of the original calories. More importantly, we’re trading inflammation and high blood sugar for the improvement of digestion, our bodies ability to repair itself after illness or injury, and even the slowing down of the aging process with fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. And that’s the least impressive part of the dish! The raw basil leaves in the pesto are proven to target and inhibit the growth of new blood vessels that would feed abnormal cells, including cancers, and even to control levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. But the nutritional powerhouse of this dish is clearly the raw garlic blended into the creamy pesto. Along with its own anti-inflammatory functions, benefits to heart health, and natural antibiotic properties, raw garlic also contains a rich phytochemical content. Phytochemicals are the compounds produced by certain plants as their own top of the line defense system against viruses, bacteria, and even parasites. Even more fascinating, is that these defensive properties can be transferred to anyone consuming them, as long as the cells are aptly lysed and the compounds are fully released into the host body. Therefore, the blending of raw garlic into a sauce allows for the complete and total dissolution of the garlic cells, fully releasing the phytochemicals to be consumed and utilized by our own bodies. Further still, the strong flavor of the raw garlic is a natural way to increase flavor while decreasing added salt to the dish.
It’s highly unlikely that we will always be able to find an enjoyable way to accomplish everything that we need to. Workouts are often taxing, the birthday cake for the colleague at work will always be there to tempt you, but all the more reason to find the best ways to fuel and supplement our minds and bodies whenever we can. What better way to start, than with a beautiful, comforting, nutritious helping, of roasted spaghetti squash with basil pesto and fresh tomatoes.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash Recipe:
1 Spaghetti Squash
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Preheat oven to 400°. Cut Spaghetti Squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seed section in the middle. Rub the oil, salt and pepper over the exposed flesh of the squash and then flip cut side down onto a baking dish. Roast in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until softened. Allow to cool slightly before using forks to shred the squash.
1 C Fresh Basil Leaves (Tightly Packed)
7-8 Cloves (about 1 bulb) Fresh Garlic
1/3 C Shelled Pistachios
3/4 C Feta (or Parmesan) Cheese
1/3 C Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Add all ingredients to the blender and allow to blend fully until smooth. May add water if necessary to thin to desired consistency. Spoon over warm shredded spaghetti squash and top with chopped fresh tomatoes, more cheese, and shredded basil.
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Produced by Vogt Media
Bruschetta is a classic Italian dish that consists of a toasted crostini, rubbed with garlic and a high quality olive oil, and topped with a combination of more garlic, diced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and more olive oil.
Steph and the girls assemble a colorful, vitamin-packed salad!
How many times a day do we have to choose between what we want and what’s good for us? Water or soda? A good nights sleep or a movie? Workout or skip (again)? Saucy pasta dish or veggies? It’s not very often that we get to have our cake and eat it too, or in this case, our carbs!