All right you turkeys, while many of the foods we’ve been noshing on for the Thanksgiving holiday do NOT make the cut when returning back to a healthy lifestyle, I’m going to show you how to take the legendary sweet potato and continue to enjoy it without any worries of becoming a dough boy (or girl).
When it comes to prep work, this is a super easy, user friendly dish. It’s vegan, whole food, clean eating. Preheat your oven, slice your sweet potatoes cross wise between a quarter and a half inch wide, so that you have a bunch of “coin” shapes in the pan. Coat with oil, sprinkle on the dry seasonings evenly, and put in the oven. I use cinnamon and ginger powders for my dry seasonings. That’s it.
The temperature you bake at is your choice. A higher baking time at a lower temperature results in less breakdown of your food and its nutrients. I like to bake these for an hour at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Another factor is that you need to bake at a temperature that’s lower than the smoke point of the oils you use in the dish. For example, 300 is okay for hemp seed oil and extra virgin olive oil, which have smoke points of about 330 and 375, respectively. The smoke point is simply the point at which the oil starts to break down and you can lose the health benefits of the oil or even end up with a non-healthy product. Hemp seed oil is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the cells and good for the heart. Olive oil (some say it must be extra virgin) is a chief culprit in the popular “Mediterranean diet” that has been said to grant users better management of their cholesterol and heart health.
The oil also serves to help the dry seasonings cling to the sweet potato coins, and as those mix with the natural water and sugar the sweet potato will sweat out in the oven, it forms an awesome outer coating for your taste buds. In restaurants, baked sweet potatoes often come to your table with butter, cinnamon, and loads of brown sugar. But I’ve found that the extra sugar isn’t necessary- the dry seasonings compliment the natural flavor of the sweet potato and I just don’t miss the extra sugar (by the way, cinnamon may help the body regulate blood sugar, too). I encourage everyone to try using whole foods like sweet potatoes and fruits to “reset” your taste buds and reprogram them to have a realistic taste for sweetness, rather than basing your idea of “sweet” off of artificial sweeteners, added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. I can’t overemphasize the importance of removing those additives from your system. They can cause inflammation, and damage your organs.
The thing about eating whole foods is that even when you have carbs, sugars, starches, they always appear in the presence of fiber and nutrients. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, and nutrients like vitamins and mineral at least give you some benefit to eating the food, instead of just jolting your taste buds with no actual benefit. We should really be eating 90% of what we eat for the purpose of lasting health.
The sweet potatoes shown here are the standard orange ones, and some white ones as well. You can throw these in a container and snack on them at work, or reheat them as a side on your dinner plate. They are filling, tasty, and allow you to get your Thanksgiving on any time of year 🙂
Here’s to Your Greatness,