Are You Using Ceylon Cinnamon?

Believe it or not there is actually a very important difference in the cinnamon that is commonly used and sold at the grocery stores! If you check your cinnamon spice jar, does is it read “Ground Cinnamon” or “Saigon/Vietnamese Cinnamon” or “Ceylon Cinnamon?” Chances are you have Ground Cinnamon or Saigon Cinnamon. Definitely go check, I will wait here…

Okay, probably not Ceylon, am I right? I was a Saigon gal until I read an article a while back regarding diabetes sugar control and cinnamon. And like always, this prompted a round of research. What I discovered is the type of cinnamon consumed is important especially if you are interested in using the spice liberally as we do in our family. What I discovered is the more commonly used varieties of cinnamon have high levels of coumarin which in large dosages has the potential of causing liver problems. And I think we can all agree that we want to avoid liver problems whenever possible!

There are basically four varieties of cinnamon which are pretty interchangeable in recipes however Ceylon is definitely different both in coumarin levels and in flavor. But honestly, I find that using Ceylon has not been a problem in cooking or baking.

This is a great article on Superfoodly.com that describes in detail the differences with all four of the cinnamon choices and the levels of coumarin you should be considering as “safe.” You will be surprised how very little Saigon cinnamon it takes to throw you over the limit!

Okay, so now that I have everybody in an uproar, honestly if you aren’t heavy users of cinnamon like the Pao’s, perhaps this really isn’t an issue at all. And maybe all I did was cause massive oxidative stress in your life which is not healthy for a different reason. But I am a big believer in limiting exposure to possible toxins whenever and wherever possible. And when you eat a Cinnabon (Yum!) there is just not a lot you can do about the cinnamon they use however at home you have options! And maybe after reading about the possible benefits of cinnamon, you may want to consider using the spice more often! But just be sure it is of the Ceylon variety! (And yes, it is more expensive!)

By the way, before you throw out your Saigon cinnamon, please consider saving it for ant control! Yes! It works! Just don’t put it on something that can stain like a white carpet…don’t ask. I can tell you with confidence that ants are not fond of cinnamon so if you have ant problems just hang on to that bottle!

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Rice Vs. White Rice

Being Japanese, I always grew up eating rice, and it was always white rice. It wasn’t even a question what kind of rice would be served at mealtime. So once I had my own family, it was white rice until my mom started telling me she switched to brown rice. What??? My whole life seemed like a lie! What was this madness??? I listened to her arguments that there was more fiber etc. and it seemed to make sense. So then I decided that I wanted what’s best for my family too so I gave it a go!

Well, over the years I have gone back and forth on this topic. I decided to eventually stop with the brown rice because at the time things were pointing towards brown rice not really having the nutritional value and perhaps having even some negative aspects with regards to phytates. And let’s be honest, I just think white rice is more enjoyable! Well, being at Buchinger Wilhelmi initiated the debate again with my husband. And I decided it was time to revisit the topic and find out what the science says now since a good 15 years had passed and things could have changed!

The good news is that basically it is a wash whether you eat brown rice or white rice (Whew!) unless you have health issues to consider because of the high carbohydrate count. And just know that you will find many sites very much “Team Brown Rice”so don’t be shocked by my personal conclusion! One thing to consider, there is a prebiotic benefit of brown rice that you do not get with white rice which may help tip the scale slightly towards eating brown rice. For now, I will continue enjoying white rice while dining out, but I will incorporate more brown rice at home as Stephen would like the positives associated with it.

Here are two articles that take a more middle ground on brown rice versus white rice arguing both sides. Just know that I believe you can’t go wrong either way, but you can be the judge for yourself!

What 14 Studies Say About Brown Rice Vs. White Rice

How Bad is Rice, Really?

 

 

Coconut Oil…Pure Poison?

In the news recently, a Harvard professor (Karin Michels) came out to say in July 2018 that “coconut oil is pure poison.”

As some of you know, I have been drinking a tablespoon of coconut oil with my daily coffee for 15 plus years. At the time I started, I was trying to figure out ways to help my daughter’s eczema. And while she couldn’t stomach the flavor and smell, I found that it helped my skin and also helped my energy levels. Of course, these are just my own observations on myself! This article published on Healthline sums up nicely the reasons why I started drinking coconut oil in the first place.

So perhaps when I started this relationship with coconut oil long ago, the health benefits were overblown. However, there are reasons to believe that the medical establishment is slow to change…think about trans fats that were popularized in the 50’s and sold to us as a “healthy alternative” which not until relatively recently are being phased out. Here is a New York Times article that gives a timeline of events. And sometimes interests are misaligned for instance take the FDA and pharmaceuticals, Unfortunately this always comes at the cost of each individuals well-being. Listed below are some articles that help refute some of the mainstream claims of coconut oil being “bad for you because of the saturated fat” or “pure poison.” As always, take the time to investigate for yourself and see where you fall on this spectrum of coconut oil.

Here is a great article on a website by Dr. Axe refuting the American Heart Association.

One of my favorite sites, Mark’s Daily Apple goes down the list of human studies regarding coconut oil. And while there isn’t overwhelming evidence of the positive health benefits, there really wasn’t the cause for coconut oil to be called “pure poison” either.

Dr. Aseem Malhotra came out very strongly against Karin Michels in the Daily UK and in defense of coconut oil.

But I believe that this article in Science Alert sums it up quite nicely.

“As the saying goes, the dose makes the poison, so if you do have a soft spot for coconut oil, just take care not to overindulge.”

For myself, I will continue to take my 1 tablespoon a day with my morning coffee. (along with my collagen and raw egg yolk, but that will be for another post!)