Fall Back to Food Basics

Fall is such a vibrant season where we can take the most time to appreciate, connect with and embrace nature. It’s a beautiful season but also a very busy time of year and a season that seems to fly by just like the leaves falling from the trees. September, the start of Fall, is when new schedules commence can be one of the most hectic times of the year and then October comes and goes before we realize it! When life becomes more demanding and overwhelming it can become harder to make good decisions, especially when it comes to our food choices.

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Are you trying to keep up to the craziness of the modern lifestyle? Getting back to basics with your food choices can help diminish some of the stress you might be feeling in your life. Furthermore, simplifying your nutrition can make it easier to achieve and maintain healthy eating habits.

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Here are some tips to help you get back to basics with your nutrition:

Wherever possible choose fresh, whole, un-processed or minimally-processed foods. How close does what you are eating compare to what is found in nature? For instance, compare a whole apple to apple sauce to apple juice. There are more nutritional advantages to be found with foods that are more basic than those that have gone through a series of processing steps, as nutrients are lost with the more processing that occurs.
While grocery shopping, remember to read the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list before buying a product. The fewer the ingredients and more basic the ingredients are the better!

Cooking from scratch is one of the best ways to get back to basics. It’s also a great way to enjoy all the amazing produce of the harvest season. You don’t have to be fancy with what you make. Sometimes the simplest dishes can be the most delicious! And the fewer the ingredients the easier it is to prepare. Find a couple of go to recipes that you are confident in their nutrition quality and you are confident in making in no time at all. Keep them simple and always have the staple ingredients on hand. That way when life gets super-busy or overwhelming you have a fall-back plan to keep you on track with your healthy habits.

Batch cooking is the process of making a recipe in a large quantity so that you have several portions left-over, which can be saved for subsequent meals. Cooking this way accelerates meal planning and preparation making it easier to follow healthy eating habits. Many great Fall recipes like chili, soups and casseroles can easily be doubled for batch cooking. Freeze leftovers whenever possible so you have some meals on hand you can defrost and reheat as quick healthy meals for busy times.

So, how are you fueling your Fall?

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Uncovering the History and Mysteries of Pumpkin Pie Spice

It seems like everyone can’t get enough of Pumpkin Pie Spice. Pumpkin pie is a favourite fall desert but its signature spice has permeated into all other sorts of products like lattes, cakes, muffins and scones to name a few. It may appear a modern fanaticism but it is truly rooted in a history and in mysteries that go back centuries.

Spices have always been very important. Originally from India and the Orient, they have an infamous reputation for being exotic and valuable. There have been wars and obsessions over spices for centuries. In fact it was because of the war over spices, which was a reason for the search for better routes to the East, that the Europeans originally discovered North America, without which there would be no Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Pumpkin pie spice (or just Pumpkin Spice as it seems to be more commonly called now) is a signature American spice blend. There is no set discovery of the first mixing of Pumpkin Spice. That is destined to be a mystery hidden in the sands of time. However, it is known that this spice blend has its heritage with the pilgrims. We say it is a mixture of “warming” spices. Pumpkin is a food found the New World. So the creation of is an example of the interaction of Old World meets New World.

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What makes this signature spice blend? The spices in pumpkin pie spice are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice. Cinnamon will always be featured in the greatest amount and quite a lot more than the other spices. Next, ginger and nutmeg are featured in second highest amounts with cloves and allspice being featured in the lowest amount. This is because cloves and allspice are fairly strong and pungent spices and will not be as pleasing in large amounts as cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg. The precise amounts of spices may vary but the proportions in relation to one another of the other spices will remain similar.

You can buy the spice already premixed or you can by individual spices to create and customize your own special blend.  Spices should be stored in air-tight containers in a cool, dry dark place for up to 6 months.

Here’s a quick recipe for Pumpkin Spice. Simply mix all the ingredients together.

  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp allspice

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Not only does this spice mix add flavour to your cooking and baking but they also provide hidden benefits to your health. Spices add flavour which reduces the need for extra sugar, salt and fat to recipes helping you to cook and eat healthier. There is some research into the antioxidant activity of spices which contributes to keeping us healthy by reducing free-radical damage to our bodies – protecting our cells and reducing the risk for many diseases.