With September is just a few days away, you may already begin to spot seasonal drinks at your local coffee shops, such as pumpkin spice lattes or cappuccinos. At the supermarket, you will soon find the line of pumpkin pie, cookies, cakes, and treats that may make your mouth salivate. While they may look pleasing to the eye, they come along with seriously detrimental chemicals and ingredients. While pumpkin in and of itself is very healthy, and superfoods I cover extensively in my book, Sunnah Superfoods, it’s the ton of other chemicals, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and sweeteners that tend to be added to these baked treats that make them a terrible option to consume.
When your diet is frequently incorporated with artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, Trans fat, or genetically engineered oils, you put yourself on the path to systemic inflammation, obesity, cognitive decline, and cardiovascular health conditions. That’s not to forget all of the chemicals and preservatives, many of which you may find difficult to pronounce. These chemicals are not meant to be put in your body, and many have been linked to cancer, allergies, and other serious health conditions.
I advise trying your best to stay away from supermarket desserts and instead enjoy the process of baking them yourself while being confident in the ingredients you are feeding your family. The same goes for that pumpkin spice latte, mostly made of sugar and milk or cream, and then topped with coffee and artificial flavoring of pumpkin. Don’t be fooled to think it’s natural because of the picture of a real pumpkin on the poster trying to sell you the product.
Again, pumpkin in its natural state is food I encourage clients to add to their diets, whether in soups or desserts. It was eaten by the Prophet (?), and today is readily eaten in many cuisines across the globe. Pumpkin has a very subtle taste, so it’s incredibly easy to add to either sweet or savory dishes. It is an excellent source of key vitamins, fiber, and beta-carotenes. It also contains key antioxidants that are promoting your digestive health, immunity, cardiovascular health, and vision. If you use fresh pumpkin, don’t throw away the seeds, as they are loaded with key vitamins and minerals. Adding in pumpkin seeds to the cookies does not only add a delectable crunch but also boosts the nutritional value of key vitamins and minerals.
If you have anemia or wish to boost your iron levels, make pumpkin seeds a part of your daily diet as they are found to help. Pumpkin seeds are also a wonderful source of manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, protein, and dietary fiber. They contain 74% manganese, 57% phosphorus, 48% copper, 23% zinc, 20% protein, and 16% iron in a single serving! Top them on your salad, eat them alone as a snack, or add them to various desserts.
It’ recommended that you use homemade pumpkin puree whenever possible as that ensures there are no preservatives or chemicals.If not, then look for organic canned pumpkin and try to ensure it’s BPA free. If you decide to use fresh pumpkin, it’s a fairly simple process. Wash and slice your pumpkin with the peel and bake in the oven for about 1 ½ hour on 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Once tender, remove the peel, puree, and enjoy using in your favorite pumpkin recipe. You can store the extra puree in an air-tight glass container. Try these scrumptious cookies, and let your kids join in for the fun!
1 cup organic all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 ½ cups organic coconut palm sugar
½ cup organic grass-fed butter (melted) or cold-pressed avocado oil
1 organic pasture-raised egg
1 1/2teaspoons ginger, ground
2 tablespoons cinnamon, ground
1/8 teaspoon cardamom, ground
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
¾ cup pumpkin puree(homemade or organic canned with no preservatives)
2 cups organic gluten-free rolled oats
2 cups organic gluten-free granola
1/2 cup raw walnuts
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup organic dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In a small mixing bowl, blend the flour, spices, salt and baking soda.
In a large mixing bowl, blend together coconut sugar and butter or oil for about three minutes, or until the texture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; mix well. Add the pumpkin and mix until well incorporated.
Add the dry flour mixture, and blend on low speed until it’s well mixed.
Slowly blend in the oats, but don’t overmix.
Fold in in granola, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Scoop into 1-inch balls onto a baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until browned.
Transfer to a cooling rack; enjoy!
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other language.