We hope you’ve been enjoying our seasonal Flora Supplement Calendar and associated posts throughout the year. Golden colors and reddish hues are slowly appearing on the trees as our fall season gets underway. This is a time when our seasonal cycles may start to contract as we start to turn inwards and reflect on all that’s happened so far this year. Apples, root vegetables, pumpkins and squashes are harvested and make their way onto our plates. Traditionally this is a time for canning, pickling, fermenting and preserving of food for the winter ahead. Normally, this is also a season of social gatherings and sharing of food as the weather, at least in much of the northern hemisphere, drives people indoors more.
Health-wise, this is a good time to focus on intestinal health, immune health and, after a summer of activity, with colder weather ahead, a time to look to the health of our joints, ligaments, bones and connective tissue.
Silicon and vitamin C are both essential nutrients for making new collagen and connective tissue. Silicon also aids bone mineralization. Flora offers natural, plant sources of each with silicon found in Florasil and vitamin C in our organic Acerola powder.
Probiotics are well known to support digestive health and immune health but more and more attention is focusing on what sorts of compounds they produce in the intestines as they ferment fiber from our diet. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are just one example. These fatty acids, like butyrate, get absorbed systemically and support our health and well-being. Animal studies have already found that SCFAs help to increase bone mass for example. Human studies have found that SCFAs aid calcium absorption and, when it comes to joint health, help to reduce inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Considering that only 5% of the population meets their daily fiber needs (defined as 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men), increasing your fiber intake with Flora’s Beyond Greens or Floralax is an easy way to support gut health and, via SCFAs, your bone and joint health as well. Fiber truly is a holistic super food and not simply a boring necessity to stay regular.
We can’t make an autumn post without mentioning pumpkins! Especially when we produce an absolutely delicious pumpkin oil that is begging to be used in your fall dishes and recipes. These pumpkin seeds are bursting with omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids as well as phytosterols, polyphenol antioxidants and carotenoids. Cold-pressed on our own expeller presses using seeds grown in Lynden, WA, we offer untoasted pumpkin oil. Check out this amazing autumn recipe incorporating it as a dressing for wild rice stuffed squash below. We hope you have a wonderful fall season and have inspired you with some ideas to support your health for the months ahead.
Wild rice stuffing with pumpkin seed oil dressing
- Stuffed Squash Ingredients
- 2 cups wild rice blend – cooked per package instructions, but using broth in place of water
- 3.5 cups vegetable or mushroom broth (choose garlic and onion free for low FODMAP)
- 2 whole acorn squash
- To taste Salt and pepper
- 6 tbsp pumpkin seed oil – divided
- ½ cup leek well-washed, minced – use the most tender green parts only for low FODMAP
- ½ cup celery crescents
- 4 cups kale leaves, washed, stems removed
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, currants, or cherries
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1-2 sprigs each of fresh rosemary and Italian parsley, leaves torn off the stems
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds or pepitas
- Make it your own – add a handful of chopped green apple, pomegranate arils, or pecans
- Pumpkin Seed Oil Dressing Ingredients
- 5 Tbsp Flora Pumpkin Seed Oil
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated peeled ginger root
- Optional chopped leek, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon, to add umami, heat or sweetness, as desired
- Cook rice per package instructions, using stock or broth in place of water for a richer and more nuanced flavour. I used an organic gluten-free wild rice blend that also contained red and brown rice, plus mushroom broth. Please note, you may not need all the broth, you want chewy-tender rice, not mushy. Furthermore, wild rice is a grass and has not been FODMAP tested, but taste tests have proven successful for my low FODMAP guests.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash the acorn squash, scrubbing off any wax from the peel, and slice them in 2 lengthwise, keeping the stem for presentation. Scoop out the seeds (save for later if you wish) and then sprinkle or rub the flesh with salt and pepper – about 1/4 tsp each per squash. Place cut side down on a baking pan and bake for about 40 minutes, a little less than the rice.
- On the stovetop, add about 1 tbsp pumpkin oil to a very large skillet over medium heat, then add your leek and celery and cook for about 2-3 minutes until soft. Ball the washed kale leaves up tightly and then slice them both vertically and horizontally to create very small pieces. Add to the pan your chopped kale, dried or fresh fruit, thyme, and pepper. Add rosemary and parsley. If the leaves are small, young and tender, you may wish to add them whole, or tear or chop them into smaller pieces if they are tough or oversized. Sauté mixture on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until kale wilts, but do not overcook, you want things just cooked and still vibrant.
- When rice is ready, add it to the large saucepan or add everything to a large bowl and mix everything together. The heat from the rice may steam the greens slightly, wilting them even further.
- Prepare your dressing, taste and adjust. Pour about ½ over the rice mixture and toss to lightly coat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss again.
- When the squash flesh yields easily to piercing by a fork, remove from the oven, turn over on your serving dish, and spoon in the rice mixture. Garnish with additional berries and seeds for interest and serve additional dressing on the side. Serve warm.
Robert Dadd is a Master Herbalist (Dominion Herbal College) with a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University. His areas of research include adaptogens, probiotics, and essential fatty acids. He is currently the Product Information Supervisor for Flora Manufacturing and Distributing.