As Autumn arrives, everything turns to spice!
ABOVE: Dairy-free, gluten-free, pumpkin spice scone from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe.
Its seems the moment fall fell upon us, the air turned crisp and pumpkin emerged from its slumber. From smoothies, to lattes (with coconut milk of course!), from cookies to chili’s, pumpkin slips its orange carotenoids into just about everything.
While my favourite fall produce remains forever faithful to the apples of our backyard and aromatic notes of chai, this year I decided it was high time to snag some squash and plunge into the popular world of pumpkin spice! After all, who could go wrong when cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves are involved?!
Whether a chai girl such as myself, or with pumpkin spice as your vice, these are 4 ways to validate your autumn addiction!
1) They spice Up The Season
- As the weather cools, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg are thermogenic foods that boost your internal body temperature and raise your metabolism. This is one reason why we intuitively crave pumpkin spice and chai when the temperature drops.
2) Enhances Digestion
- According to Ayurveda, spices heat up our digestive “fire” (otherwise known as Agni) to enhance energy, increase digestion, reduce bloating etc. Adding warming spices to your foods is like wrapping your digestive system in a winter parka so that it can comfortably and efficiently continue doing what it needs to do!
3) Daily Detox
- The spices found in traditional pumpkin spice and chai are equipped with both natural detoxifying and anti-inflammatory agents.
- Take ceylon cinnamon, for example, used prominently in Chinese Medicine for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and blood purification properties. Cinnamon is the base to both spice blends and a powerhouse at that!
- Just in time for cold and flu season!
- And as the famous French biochemist Francois Beauchamp once said: “The terrain is everything.” By keeping your internal systems working efficiently, we effectively keep our immune system strong, and spices, through all of the wonderful benefits listed above, assist in doing just that!
Your favourite fall brew may just be the perfect medicinal boost in a mug. But of course, when aiming for the therapeutic effects of these spices, look to quality and potent sources. Making your own blend is the best way to ensure the quality of the product but if ordering out, search for those made without syrups -you want the real deal! At coffee shops, I ask for unsweetened, coconut/almond milk chai tea lattes brewed with the tea bag instead of syrup.
All in all, your autumn addiction can be both nutritious and delicious with full permission to indulge… responsibly 😉
Spicing up September,
It’s been a few years since my university days and without hesitation I can say : I miss it!
I loved learning and being surrounded by like-minded thinkers. I loved digging into text books and the sounds of laptop keys furiously clicking through lectures. I loved the in-betweens of classes, sneaking off into the trails, the late nights working away with friends.
And then I happened upon my friend, Denis, here in the streets of Montreal and I too remembered: the once considered mandatory exam coffees (I don’t even like coffee!), the all nighters, the deadlines, the hunched shoulders, the sugar cravings… oh yes! I remember. And while it took me a few years, by my final year I felt I had just about learned the ways of university and the most useful and practical subject I have studied: nutrition.
Perhaps you are off to school, or simply feeling the stress of the September season. In either case, remember that the psychological key to reducing stress is not in the situation itself, but in your mindset towards it. And as a clean body equates to a clean and clear mind, these are my holistic tips (with the help of our good friend Denis) for a September that’s stress-free!
Refine Your Take On Refined Foods
- You’re under enough stress as it is, you don’t want food to be another!
- Refined foods are stressors to the body as they create unsteady blood sugar levels causing you to crash on the school couch, and create a rapid spike in cortisol – our stress hormone! As the icing on the cake, a junk food diet has been shown to affect your brain’s synapses, thereby impairing learning and memory.
- Instead? Ditch the fried french fries spewed over the bench and burger bag hidden behind Denis’ shoe and opt for fast, fresh and wholesome foods instead!
- Bananas, for example, are conveniently prepackaged, naturally sweet, and packed with stress busting nutrients such as calming magnesium, energizing vitamin B6, and components that increase the production of serotonin in your brain to promote optimal stress relief.
Kick The Coffee
- As my professor once said “coffee is stress in a cup!”
- But as a staple of many students’ daily routines, caffeine is often relied on to boost energy and reduce stress. The issue? This boost of energy is only short lived and unsustainable, and the coffee can actually trigger the body’s stress response.
- Instead? Opt for green tea or matcha (concentrated green tea powder) with the amino acid L-theanine that helps to reduce stress, boost energy and enhance productivity, while promoting a sense of relaxation.
- NOTE: In either case, caffeine should be used as a boost when needed but not as a crutch. For the everyday, opt for energizing B vitamins (a supplement that supports the adrenals, your body’s “stress glands”), and ginkgo biloba which not only works as an adaptogen to help you cope with stress, but is well known for boosting blood flow to the brain to enhance learning and memory – all without the caffeine jitters!
Move To Manage Stress
- While excessive sitting, on city benches or otherwise, has been proclaimed “the new smoking”, exercise has long been known for its stress busting benefits. Movement will instantly refresh and energize you while oxygenating the brain and boosting your feel-good neurotransmitters.
- While movement is a necessity in health, vigorous exercise is a stress to the physical body, so engage predominately in light to moderate movements on a daily basis. Run the stairs at your breaks, take a hike through campus trails, and participate in group activities in between lectures such as yoga (my favourite way to de-stress on a long day!).
A+ For Denis
- What Denis did get right? He’s taken it outside! In fact, I have a feeling he spends an awful lot of time here.
- Fresh air and nature spaces have both been shown to dramatically reduce stress. With the last of our beautiful summer weather and fall on the horizon, it is the perfect time to soak up the sun. Bonus points for removing your shoes to harness the stress relieving benefits of earthing!
- Can’t get outside? Bring the outdoors in with green plants and open windows.
Study these tips and you are well on your way to a healthy, happy, stress free semester!
From A(+) to Zen,
If there’s one thing learned, living out of a suitcase,
its that life becomes fuller when you stick to the bear-necessities.
This point proven not solely by our friend the furry Mountie (and beloved Jungle Book), but in clinical studies of psychology.
So while this may entail leaving our life-sized bear-hugging buddy in Quebec city, it also requires that you live lighter, smarter and with much more happiness!
From our suitcase living, to small cabin bunking, these are 3 ways to stick to the bear-necessities:
Weigh Your Baggage
- Every travel luggage has its limit. Thus preventing you from cramming in the entire contents of your closet, forcing you to evaluate the necessity of each item and become resourceful with your belongings.
- While it’s okay to own more than a suit-case worth of items, it begs the question: how much of it do we actually need? And is our stuff owning us more than we own it?
- When it comes to your home, weigh how much each item means to you, how often you use it, if it is a true necessity, and should you find it weighing you down rather than creating a lighter load upon your shoulders, leave it behind!
- Donate it, discard it, release it. You will feel a lot lighter in doing so and what’s more? You will gain back the average 3,680 hours or 153 days spent searching for misplaced items in a lifetime of losing approximately 9 items a day, according to the Daily Mail. That equals a whole lot more time to explore!
Make It Multipurpose
- When I travel, coming with me are all my own soaps, moisturizers etc. And while I highly recommend doing so to ensure the quality of ingredients and integrity of the products, it’s extra to pack. To get around this, I use multipurpose items such as Green Beaver soap that triples as a body wash, hand soap and facial cleanser.
- This tip can be easily utilized at home with beauty care, furniture, such as our cruise room couch that pulled into a bed, and all-in-one agents like our beloved coconut oil.
- What’s more? Going multipurpose significantly reduces the 14.3 million tonnes of waste Canadian households produced in 2012, reported by stats can.
Shop Smart – Bear Without Your Mountie
“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.”
—Jackie French Koller
- Teaming with adorable shops in every stop, the temptation of coastal trinkets is very alluring. And while we picked up some souvenirs on our trip, all were things that I use virtually everyday (a ring from Maine, a lanyard from Peggy’s cove etc.).
- Knowing you have limited space, in suitcases or otherwise, you’ll spend less and spend smarter. By being more intentional and contemplative with your purchases, you can save for higher quality items that will last and sustain you much longer.
The perks of living the minimalist way are endless! You spend less, clean less, stress less, lose less, define yourself less and free up time to do more and go explore!
Leaving a bounty of furry Quebec Mounties,