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Create Your Rainbow Plate


Have you ever heard someone say “make your plate a rainbow”? I have said it a lot to my patients and this is the perfect time of year to implement this principle. Fall is an amazing time of year as the days cool and the leaves begin to crisp changing into a magical world. As you can guess this is my favorite time of year. It’s also easy to create wholesome meals full of nutrients and flavors.

So instead of explaining all of this in detail, I have come up with a warm, hearty dish to give your taste buds an idea of what I really mean and why it’s so important to your body to have this balance.

Hearty Taste of the Rainbow

This rainbow plate is inspired by one of my favorite grain bowls that I cannot get enough of in the DC area. It’s a Mediterranean inspired as I am from Malta it’s fitting, to say the least.

There are a couple of components that need to be figured out first - what kind of grain do you like? And what system are you working on supporting the most?

Here are some suggestions based on organ systems but since it is the fall I suggest doing brown rice or quinoa as your primary grain.

Then add in beans or some millet as desired for taste.

  • Brown rice, Barley or quinoa - Support your spleen
  • Black beans - Support your kidneys
  • Millet - Support your heart
  • Red/brown lentils - Support your heart
  • Navy bean -  Support your lungs

Next, what are the veggies that you want to add? For this dish I added:

  • 1 Small Delicate Squash - Rich in antioxidants, it supports the spleen and stomach as well as the intestines with high fiber content. Sliced skin on as it’s so tender and good.
  • Carrots - High in beta carotene which turns into vitamin A, Biotin, vitamin B and has a great source of fiber. It supports the spleen/stomach, which ultimately makes more blood for endometrial lining and supports follicle formation.
  • Fresh Fennel - Contains vitamin C and supports the lungs and the liver in Chinese medicine. Important for opening the qi, or energy, pathways and nourishing yin, which is important for follicle development.
  • 2 White Yams - High in vitamins C and B6 as well as potassium and manganese. They support the yin and provide you with about 2 grams of protein per serving. They are amazing for nourishing yin, especially of the kidneys which are the primary organ system in TCM reproduction.
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes - Also high in beta carotene, it is important to add some healthy fat to meals as it supports the body's ability to utilize the vitamin A. Great for supporting spleen and stomach as well as the intestines. It helps to regulate digestion and move fluids through your system.
  • 1 Medium Head of Cauliflower - As we say in my house, they are "loaded with Captain C" which is great for everyone. Being a cruciferous vegetable, they also help rid the body of excess estrogen, which can cause breast distention and soreness. So chop, roast and enjoy all month long, but especially from post ovulation to period.
  • 2 Parsnips -  They have similar properties as carrots and fennel, these beautiful veggies are amazing alone or with garlic and butter pureed. Again due to the white color they support yin and nourish the lungs, intestines and support the follicle development.

Keep the squash separate and drizzle maple syrup on it after placing on a cookie sheet to roast. Mix everything else and add it to a bowl. Mix with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a cookie sheet.

All roasted on a cookie sheet with olive oil and salt and pepper…except the squash which I added a little maple syrup and I almost inhaled the whole thing before the salad was finished.

I also added some fresh baby greens to support the liver and add some freshness to the warm salad with a lemon vinaigrette and fresh goat cheese, roasted baby beets and some nuts to this rainbow plate recipe. Other ideas would be to add in chopped green onion, chives or parsley on top.  

Why We Need This Recipe

During the fall, we need to support our digestive systems-the spleen and the stomach specifically. The stomach stores the food we eat and begins breaking the food down while the spleen (digestive function including the enzymes which is controlled by the pancreas).

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we also say that the spleen digests thoughts and processes emotions. Much like the physical act of digestion we think, or in many cases, overthink and this action can damage digestion. Symptoms of a poor digestive function can be seen in gas/bloating, tiredness after meals, cravings for sweets, diarrhea or undigested food in stools, inability to fall asleep or worrying.

Combinations of roasted veggies, grains and dressings will be sure to become a staple during the fall. Creating balanced meals full of rich minerals, vitamins and flavor is so important to a healthy transition to cooler weather.





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