Curried Pumpkin Soup File photo


We have so many choices to ponder when we consider which diet plan to choose, it can make our heads spin. When it comes to planning our holiday feasts, it's hard to contemplate missing out on our favorite stuffings and pies and the rest. What if we could ”have our cakes and eat them too,” so to speak. A healthier option to consider for the upcoming festivities is a more nutrient-dense paleo version of your family favorites. Or find and explore new options; I'll share two recipes below.
The ”paleo” diet is modeled after what our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic Age, which began about 750,000 to 500,000 years BCE and lasted until the end of the last ice age about 10,500 years ago. During this time, human diets consisted of high-quality and nutrient-dense animal protein and fats, wild plants, insects, seafood, seeds, nuts and wild (mostly tart) fruits. Because there were no feedlots, fats from wild animals were good-quality and in the correct balance. Paleolithic diets supported our species' survival because unlike a low-fat diet, available fat-soluble nutrients promoted their physical and mental health and longevity.
During the later stages of the Paleolithic Age, humans learned to use fire to cook, making it safe to eat more vegetable foods, whose ingestion before cooking would have frequently led to illness and often death from toxins present that were destroyed by cooking. Present-day edible plant life has over time been hybridized to remove most toxic compounds.
We are all different and do not all have the same dietary needs, but experience has taught me that a diet closer to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate may be a better choice for most people instead of a low-fat, high-carb diet as many promote. Listen to your body, and as author Michael Pollan says, ”Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
Make sure that whichever diet plan you choose, half of your plate is loaded with veggies – even on Thanksgiving. Here is a tasty and warming soup recipe as a starter, and a yummy veggie side dish, courtesy of Natural Grocers. Salud!

Curried Pumpkin Soup
(6 servings)
Ingredients
5 cups organic vegetable stock or water
1¼ cups organic yellow onion, diced (about half of a large onion)
¾ cup organic celery, diced (3 to 4 stalks, ends trimmed)
½ teaspoon organic hot chili pepper, seeded and diced.
4 large organic garlic cloves, crushed
1½ teaspoons organic curry powder
½ teaspoon organic ground cumin
1½ cans organic pumpkin
2 teaspoons real salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon organic ground black pepper
1½ cups organic, unsweetened, dairy-free milk, or half-and-half alternative
2 tablespoons organic cilantro, finely chopped
Directions
Place the vegetable stock in a three-quart pot over high heat. Add all of the ingredients except the soy creamer (milk or half-and-half) and cilantro. Cook until onion is soft, approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the creamer and transfer to a blender (transfer in batches if necessary) and blend until creamy. You can also use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot.
If using a blender, return the soup to the pot and stir in the cilantro. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Serve hot!

Lemony Herbed Cauliflower Roast
(4 to 6 servings)
Ingredients
1 large cauliflower
1 cup vegetable stock or water
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1½ teaspoons sea salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (try smoked)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chiffonade (sliced in long strips) fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh, flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chiffonade fresh sage
1 teaspoon garlic granules
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Place the water in an 8-inch by 8-inch casserole dish. Add the cauliflower. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and top with ½ teaspoon real sea salt and the black pepper. Use your (clean) hands to evenly coat the cauliflower.
Cover with aluminum foil, being sure not to have the foil contact the food, and bake until cauliflower is just tender all the way through, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil.
Change oven setting to high broil. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the outside of the cauliflower turns a crispy brown. Remove from the oven.
Place the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Baste cauliflower well before showing off, slicing and serving.

Source: By Chef Mark Reinfeld, Vegan Fusion and
The Doctor & The Chef, via Natural Grocers.