Our kitchen cabinets are filled with a variety of culinary flavor, mysticism & wellness! As we turn from the sweet floral filled months of summer, we enter the exotic, spice filled autumn.
Pumpkin spice was one of my all time favorite treats as child. My dad use to make hot chocolate with a little dash of red pepper and a large helping of pumpkin spice added to it. My grandmother use to sprinkle it on toast in the mornings. There is nothing like trudging through an orchard in fall mist with pumpkin spice toast on the way to the bus stop. It tickles me now to see this spice blend become a mainstream seasonal icon as it has been for me personally for so many years.
But nostalgia and memories aside. This combination has actual real value in our diet , if you are really getting whole ground spices and not chemically laden artificial flavors. To understand the value of this blend we first should examine what spices are used. The traditional long standing recipe has cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and clove in it. I personally don't really measure out the different spices. I just add a little here and there until I think it tastes right. I've included a recipe below for those who love to measure.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 TBSP Cinnamon
2 TSP Ginger
2 TSP Nutmeg
1 TSP Allspice
1 TSP Cloves
Mix all together and store in a glass air tight container.
This rich spice reduces carbohydrate cravings. It's rich in antioxidants giving it a plethora of heart healthy attributes. Clinical research currently being done with cinnamon points to it have an improvement on fasting blood sugar as well as high cholesterol. Interestingly there has been recent conversation in the herbal community about cinnamon's role on abating stress with a correlation to it's stimulation of the vagus nerve. Although this has not been proven clinically, in my work I find cinnamon to have a calming effect on the digestive system.
Ginger is one of those herbs with a strong spicy bite so a teaspoon is completely enough in this recipe. The aroma of ginger is bright and uplifting which makes it a great herb to brush away the gray clouds of inbound autumn weather. It is also an herb that is stimulating and gets the blood moving in the body. On a cold fall morning a little ginger is warming from the inside out and makes a great wake alternative to coffee.
Nutmeg is a blood mover. This makes it a brain boosting herb. Nutmeg also helps to regulate the circulatory system. One of the chemical constituents in nutmeg is myrislignan which helps to protect the liver from toxins.
I truly love these little berries. It's also the only spice grown naturally in the western hemisphere. Allspice is a great companion spice for easing tummy trouble and aiding healthy digestion. This spice is known best for its traditional use of easing stomach tension, and reducing bloating. It's also a good source of iron and copper.
This spice is a power house of fiber, vitamins and minerals. It's a great anti bacterial especially with bacteria found in the mouth. High in manganese which is used in healthy bone formation. Clove also helps to stimulate digestion.
All of these spices hold one common attribute, they are all considered to have anti-inflammatory agents. Helping to relieve the chronic aches and pains associated with aging and arthritis.
So the next time you are craving something a little sweet and spicy try adding a little pumpkin spice!