In the 8 years I have spent studying nutrition, I have developed confidence in my diet. If I had to put a label on it, I would call it the Mediterranean diet – mostly plant-based foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, some whole grains, legumes, nuts, healthy fats, fish and poultry, occasional red meat, and the odd glass of red wine. But recently, something awful happened. Fear crept in. I started to give in to other people’s ideas. What if I shouldn’t be eating grains? What if I shouldn’t be eating dairy? What if I should be eating less fruit? For a while I gave in to those thoughts. I modified my diet on the basis of other people’s opinions. And do you know what? Eating out of fear did not feel good. So I immediately headed to the kitchen to make cake, aka this butternut squash bread.
This brief lack of confidence in my diet taught me a few things. (1) Eating out of fear is not pleasant. Food is supposed to nourish our bodies, give us energy, and help us grow and heal. Our food choices should be motivated by positive emotions, not fear or guilt. (2) We are all different, physiologically and psychologically. The diet that works for one person will not necessarily work for another. Have confidence in your own choices, but try not to push them onto anyone else. (3) Mindful eating is an excellent tool to help you work out the best diet for your body. Eating mindfully encourages us to become aware of the physical sensations of hunger and satiety. It also allows us to really notice how different foods make us feel. Honoring those feelings and eating accordingly can help us decide the best foods to eat. (4) I now ask myself one question when I am deciding what food to eat – will this nourish me? And you know what? Sometimes it is butternut squash bread that nourishes me.
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pureed cooked butternut squash
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp pumpkin spice seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line one loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
- Stir in butternut squash, and set bowl to one side.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt.
- Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place in the oven.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven. Leave to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.