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My children are on on half term break this week and after a lovely lazy morning, we decided to hop in the car and go to the library, seeing that our books are at least a week overdue! We were driving along, admiring all the brightly coloured autumn trees in our London neighbourhood when my daughter remarked that they were so beautiful that she could just cry. My heart melted! I just loved her exquisite appreciation for the changing of the seasons. It made me realise just how beautiful this time of year is. The frivolity and warmth of summer was wonderful but it's time again to snuggle up and enjoy refreshing frosty mornings and warming stews.

Change is good for us all. It provides an opportunity to take stock of how we are living our lives and where we want to make some adjustments. I'm always tweaking my MS diet routine to make sure I'm doing the best for my body. However, I find that the biggest adjustments and changes tend to naturally occur at the start of a new season. This automatically gets rid of any staleness that has been hanging around. It makes me feel reinvented and refreshed.

This root vegetable stew is fast becoming one of my favourite meals ever. It's tasty, warm and each bite is definitely health-giving. I was originally inspired to make this recipe by the incredible Jamie Oliver. It has, however, morphed into this MS diet friendly form.

The recipe contains four exceptionally nutritious vegetables which I would like to briefly explore the benefits of:

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Celeriac

Did you know that the celeriac is the root of certain types of celery? This was news to me! I've always been a little sceptical of this rather strange tasting root. It's slightly bitter and very earthy. However, it compliments the sweet vegetables so beautifully in this recipe and adds an earthiness that the stew thrives on.

The most exciting thing about celeriac for us who have MS is that it is full of vitamin K.  Vitamin K is essential for the production of sphingolipids, the myelin sheath around nerves. As we know, myelin sheaths are vital for the proper conduction of nerve cells. We need it to rebuild any damaged areas of our nerves. I can just imagine you all adding celeriac to your weekly grocery list! One cup of celeriac (156 grams) contains 64 micrograms of vitamin K or 80 percent of the daily recommended needs.

Butternut Squash

When soft and cooked correctly, butternut definitely does have a buttery, nutty taste. For me, it just screams autumn! Interestingly, butternut squash is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. It certainly does need to be cooked though! Butternut is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants which is brilliant for popping up those nasty and damaging free radicals.

Butternut is a good source of dietary fibre, so it's great for the gut and the heart. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

Carrots 

These little vegetables are incredibly underrated in my opinion. They are versatile, cheap and they have been named one of the world's healthiest vegetables. They are full of antioxidants and nutrients.

According to Dr Mercola, one serving of carrots (one medium carrot or ½ cup chopped) will provide about:

  • 210% of the average daily recommended amount of vitamin A
  • 10% vitamin K
  • 6% vitamin C
  • 2% calcium

This little superfood compliments this autumn stew beautifully and tastes divine.

Sweet Potatoes

These gorgeous roots are the most useful vegetables I have in my cupboard. They are a meal in themselves and great when combined with salad or steamed and mashed. I even roast them and make sweet potato chips which are just so heavenly with a cheesy cashew sauce. Goodness gracious they're amazing!

Like the carrot, they are packed full of both vitamin C and beta-carotene. They offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients. The are also very good at reducing inflammation which is so important for those with MS. Choline is the anti-inflammatory nutrient in sweet potatoes. This nutrient aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. Choline also helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. What more could you want in a vegetable?

Warming Root Vegetable & Squash Stew

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Ready in: 1 hour

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

½ a butternut squash

2 sweet potatoes

4 carrots

½ a celeriac

3 Tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 red onion

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon gluten-free flour

1 Tablespoon tomato purée

1 x 400 g tin plum tomatoes

500 ml hot organic vegetable stock

dash maple syrup

Himalayan salt

basmati or red rice

Create:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.
  2. Peel the butternut and roughly chop along with the peeled sweet potato. Peel and chop the carrots, then trim and chop the celeriac.
  3. Put the chopped vegetables on a roasting tray lined with baking paper. Toss in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, thyme and a pinch of Himalayan salt and black pepper.
  4. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are just cooked.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Peel and finely slice the onion, pick and chop the rosemary leaves, then add to the pan.
  6. Stir well, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.
  7. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for another 2 minutes.
  8. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and 400ml of the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Use a little of the left over stock to stir in the gluten-free flour and then add it to the rest of the stew.
  9. Take the roasted veg out of the oven, stir them into the sauce, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  10. Cook the rice.
  11. Serve a piping hot, a portion of stew over a helping of  basmati rice.

Enjoy on a cold night when you need something ultra warming. You'll also have loads left over for lunch or dinner the next day.

 

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