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Deciphering the "facts"

July 3, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Somewhere I read that cinnamon was one of the superfoods. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago based on a book that listed 10 superfoods and cinnamon was not on that list, and I really don’t know where I read about cinnamon, although it was likely on an Internet site somewhere. First of all, I’m not sure that we even need to be worrying about superfoods in the first place. As long as we are getting a balanced amount of all of the food groups, which are grains, meat and beans, vegetables, fruits, healthy oils and dairy, then I don’t see what the big deal is about. There are about as many different types of healthy food methods out there as there are healthy foods to eat. We are omnivores, which mean we can eat a wide variety of things, and we should, in order to take advantage of all of the nutrients we need. But there is more to it than that. Not only do we need the minimum daily requirements recommended by the Food and Drug Administration, but even the experts aren’t savvy as to how many of these requirements work with each other to provide everything we need. In other words, we can add vitamin D to our milk because we know that vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, but there is so much more we don’t know. This is why it is important to get most of our nutrients from food – real food. But getting back to cinnamon. I have to wonder if the person who determined that cinnamon was a superfood took into consideration that what we use as cinnamon isn’t really true cinnamon. It is cassia, a close cousin of real cinnamon and much more readily available, easier to grow and harvest and less expensive than the real stuff. Real cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), is the inner bark of a specific tree, while cassia, also sold as cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum), utilizes several layers of bark from trees that are in fact, genetically related, but not the same. There also are differences in their textures, colors and pungency. So which is the superfood? I have no idea, but I use it just the same.

This morning began with a wonderfully loaded bowl of oatmeal. I’m sure there were more additives in the oats than there were oats, actually. In addition to a half cup of oats, the dish also held one banana, a half cup of fresh blueberries, a half ounce of walnuts, a teaspoon of brown sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon, or cassia, if you prefer. It more than held me through until lunch.

Lunch was a way to use up the huge container of salad I made over the weekend. My husband, who will eat a bit of salad once in a while, helped with some of it, but I knew when I filled the container that I would have to attack it forcefully to keep it from becoming part of the compost heap. Instead, I wrapped about a cup and a half of the salad with three ounces wild salmon mixed with a slight tablespoon of mayonnaise. Add a peach and some leftover wedding soup from another lunch (about 1/3 cup) and I had a pretty full lunch.

 
 

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Breakfast: 1 ounce grains; 1 ¼ cups fruit; ½ cup dairy; 1 ounce meat; 1 ½ tsps. healthy oils; 60 discretionary calories (brown sugar and sugar in tea) Breakfast calories: 470