Pumpkin Time: The Good, The Bad, The Solution

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Let’s be honest pumpkin flavored anything is delicious! The more the merrier in my house. And we are in full on flavor takeover right now! There are many reasons you should be obsessed with this superfood, however there are also many ingredients in this pumpkin flavored sweets and treats that should be avoided during the pumpkin craze season. But let me give you the good news, then the bad. And we will all end on the note that pumpkin is awesome, let’s eat the real stuff, the God made stuff, not the man made.


The Good

1.Better Sleep

Not only is the meat good, but the seeds are even better! They are rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that contributes to your body making serotonin.  Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps your mind and body relax, and calms the nerves. It not only promotes better sleep, but it will also improve your mood. (I load my kids up with this when I want a good night sleep…JK…but maybe not such a bad idea)

2. Vitamin A Boose

They are packed with carotene which converts to vitamin A in our body.  It has been found to slow the decline of retinal function. Vitamin A also strengthens your teeth, bones, and promotes healthy glowing skin. Vitamin A is packed with antioxidants that have the power to fight many different types of cancers as well.

3. Lower Blood Pressure

Pumpkin seed oil is full of phytoestrogens, which are helpful in preventing hypertension. When it is taken daily it can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in 12 weeks.

4. Protein Packed

Pumpkin seeds are not only and easy snack to take on the go but they are packed with 30 grams of protein that will keep you full longer and help build muscle. Proteins are the building blocks to our health. For more information on proteins, click here.

5. Nutrient Dense

They carry 110% of your daily value of iron, full in fiber to keep your colon healthy, and they have 0 cholesterol will makes this a great snack for a healthy heart. They are dense in Vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, copper, Vitamin B and magnesium. Niacin, folate and vitamin E are also found. So eating raw, whole pumpkin, baked, cooked, using the oil or eating the seeds can all be incredibly beneficial to your health.


The Bad

We all love a good coffee drink, especially in the season of chilly weather, but the PSL (pumpkin spiced latte) has more than just pumpkin inside. In fact, recently Starbucks just began adding pumpkin to this beloved drink. You mean, it didn’t have pumpkin in it before? Nope. And another concern is the insane levels of sugar. The 16 ounce with 2% milk and whipped cream on top has 50 grams of sugar. That one drink has the max amount of sugars an adult should consume in a day. So, drink it slow because that’s all you get! To be honest, that’s not even the worst ingredient in the latte.

Carrageenan is by far the most dangerous ingredient in the pumpkin spice latte. It is also hidden in many other of your favorite ice creams, coffee creamers, milks and yogurts. Maybe you are wondering, what is carrageenan?

Carrageenan comes from seaweed and is used to thicken drinks and stabilize food and drinks. So, it comes from seaweed, how could it be that bad? Isn’t it natural? Well, a study came out in April of 2016 stating that carrageenan contains carcinogenic contaminants and has other harmful affects. In other words, it causes not only cancer, but GI inflammation, ulcers,  and it raises your risk of intestinal contusions. It is banned from infant formula in Europe, but is widely used in America, including organic products. Dunkin Donuts isn’t in the clear either. They use fake food dye and high fructose corn syrup in their pumpkin coffee drinks.


The Solution

Don’t worry! I’m not here to spoil your pumpkin party I am here to make it better and healthier. Check out these 3 healthy and delicious pumpkin recipes.

A healthy pumpkin drink can be a great for your taste-buds and your body. Unfortunately, you will more than likely need to make it yourself. Commercial lattes and breads will be full of ingredients you can’t trust. So save some money and save your body and make a delicious antioxidant packed pumpkin treat for you and your whole family to enjoy.

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp cooked pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or stevia to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic fair trade coffee
Directions:
  • Combine the coconut milk, pumpkin, maple syrup (or stevia), spice and vanilla in a pan over medium heat until milk is hot.
  • Whisk to get milk foamy.
  • Combine coffee and milk mixture in a mug and enjoy.

Healthy Flourless Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups quick oats (can be gluten free)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease loaf pan.
  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and blend well.
  • Pour in pan and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Store bread in the refrigerator for best results.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Ingredients:
Directions:
  • Add all ingredients to a blender and mix well.

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