Ecuador Shamanic Pumpkin Health Tip

Autumn is the time of year to change diets.  One good food to eat in the cold months is pumpkin.   There are many pumpkin health tips. Ecuador shamans use pumpkins for health in many ways.  See a special pumpkin recipe below.

On numerous occasions I watched one shaman purify out of balance teens, by having them hold a slice of pumpkin under their arm as they slept at night.  Pumpkins, and their seeds, are native to the Americas, and found across North, South and Central America.  Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are a celebrated food and medicine among many American indigenous communities which have treasured them both for their dietary and medicinal properties.  In South America, the popularity of pumpkin seeds has been traced at least as far back as 700 years.

gary scott  farm

Blue Ridge leaf change from our front yard.

Merrily Farms and the Blue Ridge Mountains are always beautiful, but autumn is a most beautiful time of year. The forest is bedecked in outbursts of color and the crisp air!  The frost bites us one more notch alive.  Fall comes early at this altitude and yesterday the leaves have nearly deserted us laying a crisp carpet that crunch as we walk along the frosty paths of our farm.  Autumn is a time for reflection, perhaps because so many of us are beginning the autumn of our lives.  We finished our October Value Investing seminar last weekend and part of this seminar was about ways to enhance health.  What good is wealth without good health?  Poor health  can destroy one’s wealth faster than just about any event.

One session at the seminar looked at how autumn is a time we can enjoy, filled with vibrant health and high energy or it can be a time that’s sliding all the way downhill.

Most people in the West ignore the changes of seasons, but at peril, because we should eat differently in each season.

Numerous health sciences work on the idea that good health is a balance between three essences:  fire, water and air.  Spring is the water season, summer the fire season and autumn and winter the air season.  A foundation of health is that we should alter our diet in the fall.

John Douillard’s book, “The Three Season Diet” has a  great list of the best foods to eat in autumn and winter such as nuts, squash and heavy unctuous foods.


Order Three Season Diet at

There is a list of winter foods to eat at at John Doullard’s Winter Shopping List (1).

One of the foods recommended for autumn and winter eating is pumpkin.  Nature provides us with the food we should be eating so this time of year farmer’s markets and stores are filled with pumpkins.

west jefferson farmer's market

West Jefferson, Ashe County Farmer’s market in the autumn

Pumpkins are a tasty source of vitamins and minerals, particularly beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.  They can also help prevent hardening of the arteries. Plus they are readily available in the autumn as evidenced by the thriving harvest we always get at the farm.

You can learn more about the health benefits of pumpkin at a web page that describes “Pumpkins and Health”. (2)

A recipe Merri and I cook and enjoy is a low calorie pumpkin custard.  This is delicious, healthy and filling, perfectly suited for the fall.  It’s similar to pumpkin pie but much better in several ways. We cut out most of the evaporated milk (we replace the need for liquid with lemon or lime juice instead) and sugar (we increase the spices and add a bit of stevia on top without cooking with maple syrup and honey).

Here is our “Healthy Pumpkin Custard” recipe for four.

15 ounces fresh, cooked (or one can) pumpkin
3 ounces evaporated milk
Juice of one lemon or lime
2 eggs
Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, allspice & nutmeg to taste
Mix this all up and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve topped with a bit of honey, brown sugar or maple syrup.

This is a delicious treat that is healthy and has only 110 calories per serving (plus sweetener).

Pumpkins are rich in Beta-carotene, which is found in many yellow, orange and green vegetables and plays an important role in good health due to its antioxidant properties.  Pumpkin is believed to have possible benefits for BPH.  There are also cancer reduction benefits because pumpkin seeds are unique in their composition of antioxidant nutrients.  There is evidence of decreased cancer risk in association with pumpkin seed intake. Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed extracts, and pumpkin seed oil have long been valued for their anti-microbial benefits, as well as anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.   Pumpkins provide mineral support.  They are a very good source of the minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and copper and a good source of the minerals zinc and iron.  The diversity of antioxidants in pumpkin seeds that makes them unique in their antioxidant support.

Modern science has found that many benefits can be derived from pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and oil, so it is not surprising that the use of pumpkin has been an Ecuador shamanic health tip for centuries.


Other foods to add in autumn and winter are foods rich in Omega 3 (cold water fish and walnuts are good choices).  Foods rich in Omega 3 and with beta carotene are especially heart healthy in this season.

Benefits of Omega 3

Omega 3 is important for longevity and good natural health.

Research has shown that high Omega-3 Index values are related to slow rates of “cellular aging.”

“No nutrient is more important for decreasing cardiovascular death – and more lacking – than omega-3.”  Bernadine Healy, MD  Cardiologist and Past President of American Heart Association  – Past Director of the NIH – Past Director of the Red Cross.

She concludes:   “Before long, your personal Omega-3 Index just could be the new cholesterol – the number you want to brag about.  Omega-3 content in red blood cells is a strong predictor cardiovascular disease.”

Low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with higher rates of:

* Heart Disease, including:

* Sudden Cardiac Death (Primary Cardiac Arrest)

* Mortality from Congestive Heart Failure

* Mortality after Heart Attack

* 2nd Heart Attack

* 1st Heart Attack in those with High Triglycerides/Low HDL 2nd Stroke Cellular Aging

*  Depression (Major Depressive Disorder) Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, Inflammation ,Chronic Joint Swelling, Headaches, Prostate cancer.

In the USA and European Union, the average Omega-3 Index is 4-5%.

In Japan, the average diet is high in Omega-3 and the average Omega-3 Index is 9.5%.

In the USA, sudden cardiac death rates are about 20 times HIGHER than they are in Japan.

The importance of measuring your Omega-3 Index:

Omega Chart

In one study, the Omega-3 index was measured in 704 individuals, some were taking fish oil supplementation and some were not. Only 1% of the group not taking fish oil had an Omega-3 Index  of 8%.

However, in the group that was taking fish oil, only 17% had an Omega-3 Index above 8%.

83% of people in the study taking fish oil were NOT getting to goal!!!

Common fish oils don’t always supplement enough Omega 3.

Overall health can improve with a healthy omega index.  Heart disease is one area where omega-3s are known to benefit.  But there is also the fact that a healthy omega score slows down telomere reduction and cellular aging, limits cognitive decline and helps hold off Alzheimer’s and reduces overall inflammation levels in the body (thereby improving joint pain).

Inflammation is considered a major factor in all the diseases of aging and Omega 3 is involved in the process of reducing CRP (C-Reactive Protein) a major inflammation marker.  Omega 3 can help increase levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and lower readings of both triglycerides and PSA scores.

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omega 3




(2) Pumpkin health