Cinnamon – Not just flavor!
Did you know that cinnamon, apart from being a fantastic flavor in many dishes could also be your fat loss friend?
First, a brief background
Cinnamon is probably one of the oldest known spices. It is made by drying the bark of the cinnamon tree and rolling it into cinnamon sticks or quills. You can also dry and grind cinnamon into powder, which is how most people use it.
The Chinese have used cinnamon in their medicine for colds, nausea, diarrhea and painful menstrual cramps. Cinnamon is believed to enhance energy, vitality and circulation. You’re thinking – hey that sounds great – does it get any better?
Yes. Recent studies prove that individuals using cinnamon regularly experienced the following:
- Better blood sugar control (both diabetics and non-diabetics)
- Insulin level control
- Decrease in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
In case you didn’t know, a high insulin level is one of the biggest culprits of weight gain. As though that were not enough – it also prevents you from losing weight. How awful is that? So – the point is keeping insulin levels in check is a must-do if you plan to lose any weight.
But how much cinnamon does one need to consume to enjoy these benefits?
Yes, enough talk. Now let’s get to the important part. Studies prove that to improve your insulin levels and control your blood sugar, as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day is enough. As simple as that? Yes. Don’t go for those cinnamon pills. Cinnamon is best in its natural form, which is easily available at any grocery store.
How about getting cinnamon in your diet?
That’s easy too. Cinnamon adds a delicious flavor to just about anything. Here are some ways you can add it to your diet:
1. Cinnamon flavored coffee – add a teaspoon for every tablespoon of coffee grinds you add to your coffee maker. And if you do not make coffee the traditional way, that’s fine. Just add half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your coffee.
2. Cinnamon tea – Just like gingerchai, cinnamon tea invigorates you. Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon or – if, like me, you tend to be lazy sometimes, just add a cinnamon stick to boiling water with a tea bag. Allow it to boil for five minutes, add sugar and enjoy. It is okay to add milk if you prefer it.
3. Cinnamon in your breakfast – Add cinnamon to your breakfast cereal in the morning – this could be your oatmeal, muesli, cornflakes. Add some honey, nuts, and fruits if you like.
4. Cinnamon goes very well with applesauce. To make applesauce, boil five or six cored apples (keep the peels on) in one cup of water. Add a tablespoon of cinnamon (a little less or more does not matter) and allow it to boil and simmer for an hour. After it cools, blend it in your blender for yummy applesauce. (Applesauce makes a wonderful snack that is rich in antioxidants, fiber, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps prevent lung cancer and protects liver cells). Applesauce can be added to a number of recipes.
5. Cinnamon toast is one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten. A friend of mine used to make it very often. There are variations to how it is made. Here’s the easiest: Toast two pieces of bread. Add butter, raw honey and cinnamon. The moist mixture just soaks into the bread. Makes a delicious breakfast or snack.
6. Cinnamon in your chicken – I am told (I am a vegetarian) – by my friend, that you can spice up your chicken by sprinkling ground cinnamon, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper to chicken breasts and bake in the oven.
What you can also do is – powder the cinnamon and store it in a shaker (just like pepper and salt) and sprinkle it over your foods. And enjoy the benefits, naturally.
Ginger Chai – not just for reading pleasure
Gingerchai is not just a great website. There’s more to it besides fabulous content.
Ginger is a proven remedy for mild indigestion. And Gingerchai is great for a stomach upset. Ginger beer and ginger ale are also useful, even though the ginger content is less in these than in tea.
You all probably remember childhood stomach aches (and adult ones too). Did your parents’ remedy for stomach aches include using ginger? If yes, they were doing you a big favor.
To make ginger tea (I mean Gingerchai):
- Just add some peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger root to boiling water.
- Simmer the mixture for around 15-20 minutes.
- Add tea leaves and when the liquid rises, switch off fuel.
- Strain the tea.
- Add honey.
Ginger tea bags also work, but again, they contain less ginger.
You can squeeze a lemon into the ginger tea for added benefit – I am already salivating thinking of it!
In addition to indigestion, ginger also eases and controls other digestive problems like nausea and vomiting.
Other than this, ginger also has several other benefits, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Some of these are:
- Natural treatment for colds and flu
- Relief from heartburn
- Remedy for morning sickness
- Eases motion sickness
- Prevents colon cancer and ovarian cancer
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- Relieves menstrual cramps
- Prevents diabetic neuropathy
- Including ginger in your diet rids you of body odor.
- Relieves migraine
A “Gingi” post
I read Flavours of Team GingerChai by Mani Padma and felt quite silly about my starting off with a bang as an author at GingerChai. Well – I immediately resolved to be a regular er…gingiblogger. Hence this Gingipost.
Back in 1982, (when most of you were perhaps not even born), I used to have a curly haired neighbor whose name was Gingi – 6 years old. Hearing the word “gingi” reminded me about a hilarious episode.
Whenever my 5 year old niece visited, the two of them would play quite happily. Then one day, after about an hour or so of energetic yelling and laughing and what not, my niece – let me call her D – came back into the house, sobbing. We were worried, naturally, because my cousin sister, her mother, can be a complete devil if D cried – especially if she didn’t accompany her.
So we all – my uncle, granma, mom, aunt – all of us took turns at cajoling her, cuddling her to find out what was wrong. D was a very cute thing – chubby and utterly spoilt, being the only child back then. My mom told her amusing stories – but D continued to sniff and sob. My uncle cracked silly jokes – and D just glared at him through her tears saying “pongo mama” (go! Uncle). Then my aunt got her something to eat – and D pushed it away. I tried attracting her with an outing – to no avail.
What to do? If she went back home like this, my cousin sis would have my skin. An hour passed. The child continued to sniffle. And when it is a 5-year old, it just breaks your heart, you know. She was all rosy from the effort. Gradually she lay down, and slept. After she woke up, we hoped she would have forgotten all about it, as little girls do. We convinced her to have a glass of milk. No sooner did she take her first sip – than who should breeze in, but our very own curly haired bratty neighbor – that naughty Gingi! He said “eyyyy D! irukka?” (hey D, is it there?)
All hell broke loose at that remark. D resumed howling and sobbing – this time it was highly vocal. Nicely refreshed from her nap and half glass of milk, she brought the roof down. In fact, it seemed like she brought the neighborhood down. Now we were also quick on the uptake and managed to figure out that Gingi must be the culprit who was making her cry this way. So we went after him, grabbed the little boy busy playing marbles in the street and brought him back, captive into the house. In her sternest voice, my aunt asked him why D was crying. He shrugged, naturally. “Teriyaadu (don’t know)” he said.
Well, the moment D saw him, she raised the volume higher. So, I thought, no point upsetting Gingi as well, who was a kid after all. I shepherded him out of the line of the family’s collective fire and took him outside. We sat on the step at the entrance and pulling him into my lap, I cuddled him and tickled him. Gingi used to love that – and he began to laugh and enjoy himself.
Then I asked him “Dei, Gingi, just tell me why D is crying. I won’t tell anyone”.
He smiled and looked down, shy. That freaked me. 6-years old and shy, when asked why 5-year old D was crying?
So I said “Dei dei dei chollu da (tell me)”.
He said – he told D he wanted to pee – and coolly went to the side of the house and pee-d into the plants. D also wanted to do it. But when she lowered her panties, Gingi found she didn’t have what he had. So he asked her where hers was. D said she didn’t have one and looked deprived.
So our hero Gingi told her “D, you have been punished. You are a bad girl. That’s why you don’t have it.” And that’s why D was crying – because she thought she was punished for being a bad girl.
Sigh. Today, D has two kids, is a high-flyer workig mom. And if she ever remembers Gingi, am sure she knows what the truth is now. As for Gingi – well, I never knew what his real name was then, and certainly not now. Everyone called him Gingi. That’s life.
- Musings by Vidya Sury. To read her other articles click HERE
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Could this be it?
She stood there, motionless, shoulders hunched.
Making quiet sniffing sounds.
The mother watched, worried. She could not recall another time like this.
As her daughter slowly turned, tears streaming down her face, she saw the knife in her hand.
Panicking, the mother reached out.
Then she noticed the bowl of cut onions on the table.
This 55 fiction format story is written by Vidya Sury.
For more about 55 fiction click here
A Fiasco-Filled Week And Life’s Lessons Learned
After I went out and bought the carton of Ginger Chai tea bags (yes, my friends, there’s one for each one of you. I promise!), I made a cuppa and allowed my mind to wander around – wanting my first post on this site to be really, really impactful. And naturally, as with such thought-processes, the mind remained pleasantly blank, while the tummy became pleasantly warm and full, with tea.
It was then that I remembered Lakshmi Rajan’s very nice reply to my email, telling me I could “explore my writing skills on subjects of my interest” and what could be more interesting than Life? So here I am – to muse on the week gone past – thinking back, its been quite a fun-filled week. Although, at the time each ‘funny’ event happened, it was not-so-funny and I found myself feeling quite murderous more than once. Ok, twice. Alright – several times!
It all began with Pongalo Pongal, which is a significant festival for us. Apart from the chakra pongal, venn pongal, vadai payasam stuff – and the quick puja because preparing everything took a lot of time and we could hear the collective rumble of the family stomach – there’s also this: giving tamboolam. Tray of betel leaves, real betelnut or a sachet of betel nut, kumkum, turmeric, a blouse piece, a dakshina (cash), fruit, flowers, a coconut and some yummy stuff – on this occasion, the handy chakra pongal.
I was feeling really proud of myself (you know what they say about the Pride-Fall sequence…) – everything went so well that morning. My pooja room looked cool – and I thought, secretly, of course, hey – am better than my mom at all this.
The next thing I knew – all my tamboolam sets had a pack of chili flakes from Domino’s Pizza instead of betel nut sachets. I swear they look so similar –and since I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time, I goofed up. So you’re wondering – why didn’t I change them to the betel nuts? Because, my friends, I only noticed after the last one had been given – and there was one set dedicated to the Goddess before distribution.
Lesson Learned? Yes. NEVER use sachets. Only real betel nuts. And when visually challenged, please wear glasses. Plus, don’t even breathe a word about it to the family. They never let you hear the end of it – laughter unlimited guaranteed. For them, that is. Worse still, they’ll tell everyone willing to hear.
Ok. Life goes on, you know. Next episode later.
Editor’s note: Vidya Sury is a freelance writer from Bangalore. On behalf of all authors of GingerChai and readers, I Welcome Vidya Sury to GingerChai author panel. Let’s sip her various flavor of thoughts!