Holiday Yams and Pecans, oh my!

Lozere, France

Golden oranges, ripe reds and deep yellows have been glittering the forests and parks the past months.  Autumn can be truly gorgeous. But truth be told, it is also the period when the days get shorter, a bit gloomier and when we all start to plan our next holiday vacation in the sun (um, yes that would be me).  When it is chilly outside, there is nothing like cuddling up at home, lighting some candles and having a delicious warm meal.

Let me tell you, I LOVE me some yams.  Yams have an earthy hardy taste and are best from October to December when they are in season.  Yams are quite common during holiday meals and with their sweet and salty are a perfect side dish all on their own or go great with any white meats.

The anti-oxidant beta-carotene is what gives yams their bright orange color and neutralize free radicals and help prevent oxidative damage to cells. To improve digestion and absorption of beta-carotene, it is important to have some fat in your meals. Recent research has shown that you should consume a minimum of 3.5 to 5 grams of fat in your meal to increase uptake of beta-carotene, which can be done simply by drizzling on top 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Yams may be one of the best root vegetable for your heart health. They contain a high amount of Vitamin B6 which is very important for breaking down a substance called homocystene, which can directly damage blood vessel walls.  Yams are also a great source of Potassium which helps your body to regulate your blood pressure.

Wild yams in traditional chinese medicine were also once used to support the female endocrine system. For example, yams were used in conjunction with lactation. More recently yams have been reported to slightly reduce cholesterol in post-menopausal woman, and aid menopausal symptoms.  However more research is needed to understand the relationship between wild yams and the endocrine functions.

It is also a great source of fiber which slows the rate at which sugars are absorbed into our bloodstream and helps to keep our bowls healthy!

One more IMPORTANT thing. If you purchase organic yams you can eat everything…flesh and skin. However if you have conventionally grown ones or you’re not sure, it is best to peel them since they are sometimes treated with wax and dye.

Recipe

  • 3 lbs of red-skinned yams
  • 1.5 cups pecans
  • 3-4Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbs butter, ghee or sunflower oil
  • sea salt
Directions: Pre-heat your oven to 400 F. After peeling and chopping up your yams into big pieces, arrange them into a large baking dish. Chop your onions and garlic and mix in with yams. Then add your oil and brown sugar and cook for about 35 minutes until yams are almost tender. Some ovens cook faster than others, so make sure you check them every 10 minutes or so and stir if necessary. Then add your pecans and continue cooking for another 20 minutes.

If you would like this recipe converted into grams and kilos, let me know and I would be happy to send it.

Happy Holidays!

Jonina

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