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Butternut Squash “Pasta” with Sage and Pine Nuts

Sunday, 17 April 2016 00:00  by Yolanda F.

butternut squash imagery

Source: Cook. Nourish. Glow. By Amelia Freer

Who can eat pasta anymore? When I do, it’s usually because I’m experiencing a crisis that manifests as a momentary mood disorder that can only be remedied with carbs.

But I know I’m not alone. WebMD confirms that it’s normal to crave carbs and sugar when we feel down. The question then becomes, is that a red flag for depression?

You can also have such cravings when you’re plain old tired or upset or have anxiety about something in particular. Apparently, cravings relate to a decrease in serotonin activity, and believe it or not, there is a “universal carbohydrate craving time” every day that starts at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 5 p.m. So that means my mood disorder has a schedule. Very good to know.

Still, the question remains: Is that a sign of depression? The answer is, not always. It could be a matter of habit so ingrained that it feels like something deeper. Cravings can also show up as reactions to dieting. In other words, if you’re eating fewer carbs to lose weight, you’ve most likely going to crave them over the other foods you’re regularly eating.

If you’re craving carbs, try low-fat substitutes for cookies or bread, like popcorn, which can be just as satisfying if flavored with healthy seasonings like low-fat parmesan cheese and nutritional yeast, turmeric, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper.

Remember too that you don’t have to answer to the call of the addictive carbs at all. Try this pasta substitute and let the flavors take you away.


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large handful of fresh sage leaves
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and spiraled
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • A squeeze of lemon juice

What to do:

Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the garlic and sage and fry over low heat for 1 minute. Set aside in a bowl.

Put the spiraled butternut squash in the same pan with a little more oil. Season well and sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic-sage mixture and the toasted pine nuts.

Add a splash of water to help steam the squash and cook for another 2 minutes or until it is just tender. Squeeze a little lemon juice over, drizzle over a little more extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Last modified on Sunday, 17 April 2016 03:31

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