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Apples+Cinnamon - the late (and cold) Autumn version

Even if you haven't reviewed the scientific data or learned about the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine you have probably noticed, just by observing your own body, that some foods tend to impact you in various ways.

As we're transitioning more into the cold months now, I'd particularly like to bring your attention to the cooling vs. warming qualities of food.

Have you ever noticed that you feel rather cool after having a melon or a grapefruit? That's because those fruits have a very cooling effects on your body. And doesn't that feel just fantastic on a hot summer day?!

When you think about it, nature quite naturally provides us with the right foods to be eaten each season. It gets a bit confusing nowadays we don't pick our fruit ourselves, we pick it up at a store and those tend to have an abundance of everything all year round, (by the way, how wonderful is it that we get to live in such times when so much is available right at your fingertips!). But that might make it hard to tell what's really in season now. To make it easier, you can think about the origin of your food. For instance, melons grow in places with hot climate so even if they are available at your grocer's in the middle of winter, they're not exactly in season (for where you are at the moment).

I hope that makes sense.

Ideally, if you're in balance, your body should crave what it needs the most, so if you're hot or if your "digestive fire" is high you'll want that melon. And that's good. It will cool you down a bit.

In the summertime I have some melon for breakfast basically every day, it's definitely my go-to fruit.

As the weather gets colder, though, I also get colder (quickly- I generally function best in high temperatures) and even though I still love the taste of melons I don't find that I crave them as much- I actually start to avoid them in autumn, because even if I'm tempted to buy some I remember their wonderful cooling quality that just sends shivers down my spine this time of the year. But I'm a fruit lover so if the melons are out for me something else needs to be in:)

That something, in the fall, is usually apples.

When it's still quite warm out I tend to go for the more sour apples (a more cooling effect) and as it gets colder I tend to go for the sweeter kind (a bit less of a cooling effect).

If you tend to get cold a lot and/or if your digestion is not very strong or varies* you probably would be better off skipping most fruit when it gets cold outside, but if you just can't do that- like me, here's a what I do.

When I feel like their cooling effects (not as strong as those of a melon or a grapefruit, yet still quite cooling) would only disturb my digestion or simply make me feel colder than I already am this time of year, but I still want me some apples I compromise and I cook them. Or cook-steam them; I don't use a lot of water. This way I minimize their cooling effects and make them easier to digest. I also add cinnamon (I also use it when I eat raw apples earlier in the fall).

Cinnamon has a heating effect on our body so it helps to balance the cooling effect of the apples- raw or cooked. Cinnamon, due to its warming qualities promotes digestion, it also helps regulate our blood sugar levels- especially helpful when eating the more sweet varieties of apples. Additionally, cinnamon is also a detoxifying herb. And doesn't the smell of it just make you feel all hygge inside?!

If you know your way around the kitchen and you feel like you could use some cinnamon apples go ahead and cook them the way you like them, (or bake them! I will share that idea soon as well) but if you're like me when I was just starting out and you don't know your pots from pans, you may follow these simple guidelines.

It's hard to call this a recipe, because it's more like a tip, but here's how I make my cooked apples when it's too cold for me to eat them raw (or when I feel my gut isn't feeling super-strong that day).

*I will soon write about the signs and symptoms you can observe of weak, varied, strong or overactive digestion, but just briefly: signs of varied or low digestive fire could be things like: gas, bloating, constipation, burping, sluggish digestion, heaviness in the stomach, indigestion, experiencing both diarrhea and constipation on a regular basis.

Side note: For optimal digestion don't eat fruit after other meals. Have them on an empty stomach or about 2-3 hours after your last meal (if that meal wasn't a fruit). I'll write more about food combining soon!

Cooked/Steamed Apples with Cinnamon

You will need:

  • an apple (or more)

  • ground cinnamon (anything from a pinch to 1/4 tsp should be good)

  • a pot or a saucepan (medium or small)

  • a knife (also a peeler knife would be good, but it's not necessary)

  • a fork or a potato masher

  • a few tbsp of water

(additionally you may want to add some sweetener, for instance a little bit of agave, stevia or maple syrup, but I find that the late-autumn apples are sweet enough just the way the are)

Here's what you do:

  • First you wash and peal the apple(s). The skin of an apple is yummy and nutritious but it's also not as easily digestible, so as we get closer to winter I tend to discard it not to aggravate my stomach- sometimes I don't do a very good job peeling the apples on purpose so that there's still some bits of the skin left.

  • Pour a little bit of water (depending on the amount of apples you're cooking) into the pot and bring to boil. I usually do about 2-3 tablespoons, just so there is some water at the bottom of the pot and the apples don't burn. If it's too much water you can always drain it before you mash the apples.

  • Next, cut the apple(s) into smaller pieces- cubes or whatever shape you wish. The smaller the pieces the faster it will cook.

  • Place the apple pieces into the pot, reduce to medium heat and cover the pot if you want the apples to cook even faster.

  • The cooking time is usually 5-10 minutes, depending on the type of the apple, the size of your pieces, the heat, the amount of water you're using and whether or not you cover the pot. It also depends on what consistency you're going for. If you want a full-on mash then cook longer (and the apple pieces will become mashy by themselves) if you want to still be able to feel apple pieces in your mouth (the way I like it) then reduce the cooking time. Watch the pot for those few minutes and carefully try the apples once in a while to see what works best for you.

  • If you're mashing the apples manually you may want to drain some of the water before you do that. If you can pour it into a cup you just made yourself a few sips of a compote (all natural and sugar free).

  • Here's when you'd add the sweetener of choice, although I don't recommend it.

  • Mash the apple pieces with a fork or a potato masher until you reach your desired texture.

  • Add in the cinnamon- just a pinch or go in with the whole 1/4 tsp.

  • Mix et voilà! It's done!

Serve in a bowl or eat it straight out of the pot:) (best when it's still warm)

Either way, I hope you enjoy the warm and comfy hug your gut receives when that lovely apple mash enters your stomach!:)


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