Butternut squash soup recipes are my absolute favourite. There are so many different ways of preparing them and fundamentally all of them are quick and simple, bar the peeling of what the Americans call winter squash.
They have a long growing season, ripening in autumn and can be stored for long periods over winter.
There are concerns by those on the paleo, also known as Banting diet, but there are ways of getting around that; more about it lower down.
Carotenes are phytochemicals that are simply vital in the diet for their anti oxidant properties; there are many of them and winter squash comes out tops, literally. Two of them are particularly good for the eyes, namely lutein and zeaxanthin; enjoy your butternut squash soup recipes regularly through late summer and winter.
I recently consulted my optician for the first time in many years; after examining me, he asked if I consume a lot of greens. Spinach and salad lettuce, kale and cabbage, I admitted, but also a lot of butternut right through the autumn and winter. He nodded, confirming the importance of these carotenes, surprised that at 67 there was not a sign of cataracts or macular degeneration; lutein and zeaxanthin are the active agents in preventing three kinds of age related blindness.
Eat more of these butternut squash soup recipes.
Another joy of winter squash is their ability to stabilise the insulin in your body, obviously important for diabetics. They are particularly high in five of the B complex vitamins, intimately involved in blood sugar regulation.
It's controversial I'll admit but my advice is to get most of your vitamins from your food, rather than in tablet form. You see the B complex tablet will help stabilise blood sugar, but it lacks the polysaccharides found in butternut that are also so important for diabetics.
Let your food be your medicine.
Then for the chiropractor, butternut squash is important for its anti inflammatory properties; it contains a significant amount of omega 3.
The ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to ω3 is far too high in the Western diet, promoting inflammation in the body. So we need to lower our seed oils like from corn and sunflower and increase those found in fish, walnuts and butternut, for example.
That ratio in butternut is 22 to 36; that's great as it means it swings your overall balance towards omega 3 and much less inflammation.
Olive oil is neutral in the omegas, and hence it's great benefit.
Your heart surgeon will be pleased too; they are complaining that the inner linings of our blood vessels are increasingly red and inflamed; turn to a daily supply of the omega 3 rich vegetables, fatty fish, freshly ground flax seed and walnuts.
Read more about age related lutein macular degeneration if you have concerns about your eyesight; the whole pumpkin family including zucchini is rich in this vital carotenoid; kale however is the richest source.
Butternut squash soup recipes do not have a high glycemic index even if you add potato. It's a measure of how quickly a food is turned into blood sugar, and then stored as fat, so you can relax is you have a weight problem.
Of interest is that freshly boiled potatoes have a much higher glycemic index as compared to those allowed to cool overnight; enjoy it rather the next day.
In particular on this blog we are going to look at how to lower the GI even further.
To lower the glycemic index of a carbohydrate you need to add extra fat and protein; we are going to do that today with coconut cream and chickpeas to make your low GI butternut soup.
The basic ingredients are
A traditional butternut soup also has a common potato added, but not for your lower GI.
You can add your favourite herbs and spices. For our low GI butternut squash soup recipe, I've chosen a teaspoon or two of curry powder, one star anise and a few strands of thyme from the garden; it is one of my favourite herbs and I bung it into everything.
Butternut, unlike pumpkins, are just as sweet when they are enormous. Those growing in your compost heaps will be huge and have a deep orange glow from the beta carotene.
Jamie Oliver is one of my favourite cooks by the way; he keeps it simple and quick as I like to do. He recommends not peeling butternut; that may be possible in England, but those baked under the African sky have thick and tough skins. It used to be the dreaded part of making this soup until I found someone demonstrating that paring knife with the wooden handle and an agricultural show; it's a gem.
You also need a heavy duty knife for cutting your butternut into rings; the sweet potato is much softer.
Step one is to peel your onion and fry it gently in a lump of butternut or coconut oil.
Step two is to peel the sweet potato with that lovely tool on the left, and toss them onto the onions.
Here's an aside; if you are a busy person like I am, then a pressure cooker is one of the most important appliances in the kitchen. It reduces the time by two thirds, and of course saves electricity too; it's environmentally friendly.
Skinning the butternut is still quite hard work, especially where the neck meets the bulb; eventually it's easier to cut it into rings with your heavy block knife, and finish off with the potato peeler.
A little creature from the wild also likes butternut, but he hasn't done much damage; we have an organic garden, so there are no toxic pesticides.
We are really two families, and this looks a little thin, so I'm off to the garden to dig another sweet potato and pick another butternut.
This one's a big younger with a softer skin; the hens have started enjoying it too, so I'll just cut that out. They simply loved all the butternut seeds.
Make sure you cut off all those hairs on the butternut; they're not nice in the soup.
Toss a packet of cooked chickpeas into the pressure cooker, and I've added a couple strands of thyme; you can't see the star anise. And of course you could add some garlic and whatever.
Add a cup of water, and cook for ten minutes at the highest pressure.
To lower the glycemic index of a carbohydrate you need to add a protein and some fat. In this instance I've added a packet of frozen chickpeas; that's the easiest for me because I don't like soya flour, the other common substance used.
Also we have hummus every day with our green salad, so there's a plentiful supply of chickpeas available. Soak a couple pounds overnight and pressure cook them for half an hour; otherwise they take an age.
Then freeze your chickpeas in small packets and they're always available for stews, curries, hummus and of course your low GI butternut squash soup recipes.
Canned chickpeas are four times the price, and often have a lot of added salt, sugar and preservatives; and there are questions being asked about the plastic linings of tins.
And then blend the whole mixture once it the pressure has dropped, adding the coconut cream; oh, remove the thyme and star anise first.
Refrigerate and enjoy this wonderfully delicious and healthy meal.
For a variation this butternut and ginger soup is very nice; instead of the spice recommended above, fry a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger with the onion, and then follow the same recipe.
Dropping a chunk of cinnamon bark into the recipe has been proven to help weight loss in diabetics, and presumably in everyone.
Whilst the Banting diet is effective your butternut squash soup recipes would be completely banned because of their carbohydrate.
My beef with banting and the paleo diet is that they disallows the healthy low GI carbs along with white rice, potatoes, refined bread and so on.
This Banting diet rebuttal sets out why I believe it is just one more unhealthy way of eating; in the short term it is effective, though. And so has merit over many others.
Simply avoiding the high GI carbs is the way to lose weight permanently and easily; you can virtually eat as much of the rest as you like, within reason.
What are phytosterols is an important subject for anyone like me who wants to have his butter and eat it; they are plant compounds with a structure very similar to animal cholesterol; your butternut squash soup recipes are rich in them.
These phytosterols compete with animal fats at the absorption sites in the intestine meaning that more of that latter get excreted in the faeces instead of finding their way into the bloodstream.
Butternut itself doesn't have any phytosterols but the chickpeas in your low GI butternut squash soup recipes are rich in these cholesterol lowering compounds; so you can even add a dash of cream to the final product, and not feel guilty.
Chiropractic is far more than just adjusting the joints in your spine for optimal movement; it was born out of the naturopathic movement and that means more exercise and better food too; these butternut squash soup recipes are just one small example.
If you are eating a highly inflammatory diet then you can't expect your chiropractic adjustments to be nearly as effective; the joints may be moving better but there will still be pain, redness and swelling.
Turning to an anti inflammatory diet like this butternut squash soup recipe is every bit as important as having a regular adjustment. In fact it may be even more important as that inflammation isn't just affecting your spine; the anger is also spilling over into your muscles, blood vessels and organs.
If you want to get off anti inflammatory medication turn to foods like this butternut squash soup recipe on a regular basis; we enjoy it solidly for about four months in the year, and purchase them periodically when ours are out of season.
The nutritional value of kale reminds us that it is the highest by a large margin in the eye-protecting lutein.