Healthy Pumpkin PieNovember 25, 2009 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Tomorrow we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a time when many Americans reflect on countless blessings that are often taken for granted. The most fortunate among us will have the opportunity to spend this holiday catching up with family and friends. During these joyful gatherings tradition dictates that there be a feast that is shared by all. As the meal concludes, most households consider it customary to include a delicious dessert known as pumpkin pie.
Dessert is rarely thought of as health promoting. However pumpkin pie is a rather unique example of a treat that can easily be modified into a genuine health food. There are several key reasons for this: a) pumpkins are abundant in a class of antioxidants known as carotenoids; b) they’re low in sugar, but an excellent source of fiber and potassium; and c) they may play a role in protecting against hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
It turns out that pumpkins contain a phytochemical known as trigonelline (TRG) which may improve glucose tolerance and reduce the development of fatty liver. TRG is also found in coffee beans and could very well be one reason for coffee’s positive reputation with regard to diabetes incidence. (1,2,3)
The antioxidant pigments (carotenoids) that give pumpkins their distinctive orange color may also play a role in discouraging elevated blood sugar and insulin levels. Several recent studies have found a strong association between serum carotenoids and the likelihood of blood sugar disorders such as hyperglycemia and type-2 diabetes. Those with higher concentrations of antioxidants in their system appear to be at lower risk of blood sugar abnormalities and all the complications that go along with them. (4,5,6)
As a side note, science tells us that cooking pumpkins can actually increase their antioxidant potential. Furthermore, adding healthy fats and spices to these fruits tends to improve the body’s ability to assimilate the antioxidants in them. If we combine what is currently known about carotenoids, TRG and blood sugar with this additional information, it forms the basis for proclaiming that pumpkins should be on the top of any healthy dessert list. (7,8,9)
I’ve devised a rather simple, all-natural and low carbohydrate recipe for a crustless pumpkin pie that I’d like to share with you. I’m using Truvia as a stevia source because it’s widely available. Other stevia products should work equally well – it just may require some experimentation in order to find the right balance of sweetness.
Healthy Fellow Pumpkin Pie
a 16 oz can of pumpkin *
a 12 oz can of coconut milk *
10 packets of Truvia or similar stevia products
3 organic, omega-3 eggs
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract *
1/4 teaspoon of AlsoSalt or sea salt
* At our home, we try to use organic versions of these ingredients whenever possible.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Mix the dry and wet ingredients until fully incorporated and smooth. This can be done by hand (great exercise!) or in a food processor. Grease a 9″ pie pan or a similar baking dish (glass would be best). Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until it’s cooked through (toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center of the crustless pie). Allow to cool and enjoy! If you’d like to add some additional richness to this dessert, top it with organic, whipped cream with a dash of vanilla extract and a packet or two of stevia. Or, for added texture you can sprinkle on some roasted pumpkin seeds.
This is the kind of treat that can be enjoyed year round – if you can find canned pumpkin. It not only makes a nutritious and tasty desert but it can also be used as a filling snack or an unorthodox breakfast. I think I’m going to make this recipe more often and, when I do, I’m going to remember the time of year that it’s normal eaten: Thanksgiving. I need to remember to be more grateful for all the goodness in my life. There really is so much of it. The very fact that I have the opportunity to create, eat and share such things is an incredible privilege. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being my guests on this site. I appreciate you visiting, taking the time to read what I have to say and participating on HealthyFellow.com and in my life. I wish you and yours an abundance of health, love and peace on this day that so many hold dear.
Tags: Carotenoids, Diabetes, Fiber
Posted in Nutrition, Recipes