Fall is here! Time to enjoy Cinnamon

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It’s that time of the year, nights are getting longer, the air has a crispness to it and the trees are changing colors, must be fall. My favorite time of the year! Besides thinking of pumpkin spice lattes or hot cocoa, think Cinnamon. A spice that I love and has many ways of being used either medicinally or culinary.

The Many Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a well-loved spice all around the world, and has been used medicinally since ancient times for coughs, arthritis, sore throats, infections and biblical practices due to its potent healing properties. The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde, it is this compound that is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism. It’s delicious in many favorite dishes such as moussaka, tagines, curries, smoothies, juices and delicious desserts. Cinnamon is also high in antioxidants.  In one study cinnamon came out as the clear winner out of 26 spices for its antioxidant content.

Cinnamon can be useful for:

Hunger: Cinnamon extract may to be effective in the reduction of food intake via the slowing down of gastric emptying within the stomach and ghrelin secretions (hungry hormone).

Reducing blood sugars: Many studies demonstrate that cinnamon may help reduce blood sugar levels, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Reducing negative effects of high fat meals: According to Penn State researchers, eating a diet rich in spices such as turmeric and cinnamon reduces the negative effects. After eating a high fat meal, serum triglycerides levels naturally elevate, this effect was reduced by 30% with the addition of spices in the meal versus no spices as well as having a 13% increase in blood antioxidant activity and a 20% reduction in insulin levels.

Fungal infections: cinnamon can help fight fungal and bacterial infections. Scientists found that cinnamon at 1 TB a day may help to inhibit colds, flu’s and other infections. (Consult with your doctor before taking this or any herb internally)

Cinnamon oil is also a fabulous topical antiseptic and can be used to help treat acne and skin and other infections. Just be sure to “cut” the cinnamon oil with a carrier oil as you can cause a burn on your skin. Try a dab on your wrist or palm to make sure you’re not allergic to this oil. This is considered a “potent” oil.

 

The message is, we all need to enjoy the benefits of cinnamon and maybe consider adding it to more meals and beverages to enjoy all these wonderful properties.

 

Cinnamon Sugar Body Scrub

Clean out your pantry and find that your cinnamon is out of “date”. Here’s a fun way to use it without wasting it. Give this simple sugar scrub a try.  It’s simple to make and use. (Fun homemade gift for the up-coming holidays too!) With the crystal structure of the sugar that gently buffs the surface of your skin to reveal the smooth, fresh layer below all the while softly dissolving away with the rinse of warm water. Combined with sweet almond oil, which is a rich source of moisture and vitamin E, this body scrub will result in soft, supple, radiant skin.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup (220 g) brown sugar*

1 cup (200 g) white sugar*

1/2 cup (125 ml) sweet almond oil Olive oil will work too. I tend to use olive oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

Any variety of crystallized sugar will work just fine! Use what you have.

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix sugar, oil and cinnamon until combined.
  2. Towards the end of your shower, gently message sugar scrub over hands and body. Rinse with warm water. Oil will remain on skin but will absorb quickly once dry.
  3. Store in air tight container or mason jar and enjoy your at-home spa treatment!

 

Easy Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce is a longtime favorite dessert and snack of mine, because it’s healthy and unprocessed, and so tasty. It’s so easy and really doesn’t take too much time!

The taste of the sauce will depend on the type of apples you use, so depending on your preference whether you like slightly sweeter applesauce or slightly more tart, will determine the type of apples you prefer to purchase. I used pink lady apples in this recipe because I wanted slightly sweet with a little tart, but red apples, gala or others will all be great

INGREDIENTS:

8 apples (pink lady)

¾ cup (375 ml) water

½ lemon, juiced

Pinch of salt

½ tsp cinnamon, extra for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and prepare the apples by peeling, coring and cubing.

Once the apples are cut and prepped, place them into a medium stockpot, add the water, lemon and cinnamon, and heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the mixture boils (about 5 minutes or so).

Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 25-30 minutes or until the apples are soft in the mixture.

Once the apples are soft (try mashing a piece of apple with a spoon, and if you’re able to, then they’re soft enough), use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, or alternatively place the mixture into the blender and blend for 30-60 seconds or until well blended to your desired consistency. A Food processor works well too.

Allow the applesauce to cool before transferring to a storage container (20-30 minutes) or serve immediately warm.  I always add a bit more cinnamon just because I LOVE the flavor it adds

Garnish with extra cinnamon or cinnamon stick (optional).

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes, Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 9

 

Healthier Fall Cocktails

Apple cider with cinnamon

Every season has its seasonal drinks — for summer it’s the umbrella cocktails while winter’s delight is dark ales and peppermint mochas. With fall here, we’re starting to think about pumpkin and chai lattes and heavier cocktails. To help you navigate the best and healthiest drink options, which will leave you feeling and looking great, here’s a few tips to keep in mind as you choose a beverage.

Make the mulled wine or cider into a spritzer.

Mulled wine and cider are an all-time fall favorite, but it’s easy to consume a lot of these beverages. Plus, they can also be higher in calories than other types of beverages. Instead of having the mulled cider or wine as is, choose to have it with a little bit of seltzer for a spritzer and you’ll save yourself calories and sugar.

Skip the full fat, high calorie lattes.

We all love the classic fall pumpkin and chai latte, but they’re loaded with both calories and sugar. Instead, choose a pumpkin or chai tea and add your own milk and sugar – it will save you tons of calories and sugar that you will likely want to spend elsewhere (perhaps on a piece of pumpkin pie?).

Use natural herbs and spices and ingredients to make tasty cocktails.

Choose a cinnamon stick, bitters, or herbs and spices from your cabinet like oregano, lemon or orange peel to flavor your cocktails instead of using pre-made mixers.

Use fresh fruit as a mixer with your favorite hard liquor.

For example use pureed pear as a mixer for vodka, or a little bit of freshly squeezed cranberry juice instead of cranberry juice cocktail. Both of these types of mixers will add more nutrients while saving on calories and sugar. If you want to make these non-alcoholic beverages, mix with seltzer or a mineral water instead.

Make smart choices.

Like other indulgences, drinks need to be factored in with other higher calorie seasonal food items like candy apples, candy corn and more. Choose to make a choice between having a higher-calorie festive drink and something like a dessert item. Both require planning and consideration and can be had, but important to make sure to make a conscious choice when you will want to include either or both.

 

Some of these articles have been adapted from Reboot with Joe Cross.

In Health and Peace,

Kris

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