The First Sign of Autumn

The arrival of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks mark the start of Autumn for me. While I opt not to have the full syrupy, milky, espresso, whipped cream concoction, I do like to savour a pump of the syrup in my coffee…mmmm. This morning, after my run that is exactly what I got.

Now I am craving pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and stuffing. But mostly pumpkin pie. Those are strange things to be craving before 9:00am, especially coming from the woman who does not even have a strong love for pie; it is something about the crust to filling ratio. And now, because I can no longer eat the traditional pie crust I have written pie off all together. Who knows, perhaps closer to Thanksgiving I will come up with a gluten-free pumpkin pie, although the gluten-free pie crusts I have tried are dry, cardboardy messes.

In its natural form (without sugar, whipped cream, butter) pumpkin is extremely healthy. With only 26 calories per 100g it also contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. Not to mention it is a great source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants like Vitamin B and Vitamin A (providing 7384 mg per 100g- a whopping 246% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A). What does that mean for your body? Nice skin and good vision! Not too shabby!

Pumpkin seeds are pretty amazing little things as well. While their high caloric content may give them a bad rap, their calories come mainly from protein and fats. However, they are also very rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and oleic acid which help to lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol in the blood stream.

Back to my need for all things fall this morning (have I mentioned that the temperature is supposed to be 28 degrees today?) and my body’s need for something other than caffeine, this is what I had for breakfast; a pumpkin pie smoothie. I used maple syrup and greek yogurt but you could easily substitute agave for the syrup or silken tofu for the yogurt to make it vegan.

It is delicious. I am sipping it right now and I no longer have the urge to stuff my face with pie and mashed potatoes!

And it is pretty!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

serves one hungry girl or two somewhat hungry girls

3/4 cup pure pumpkin

3/4 cup non-fat greek yogurt

3/4 cup water or dairy (I used water)

1/2 tsp maple syrup

1/2 cup ice cubes

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used vanilla vega)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

Directions

  1. Throw everything in to your blender (we love our vita-mix)
  2. Blend
  3. Blend again
  4. Pour in to glass(es)
  5. Drink, enjoy, crave more!
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