Wednesday, May 18, 2016

**REVIEW** Ceylon Cinnamon Powder (Frontier Co-Op)

Here I am again, trying to do something natural and healthy for myself.

Years ago, I heard talk about cinnamon being good for you. I was never a big cinnamon fan. When other kids were eating cinnamon toast and cinnamon cereals, I was sticking to the plain stuff. I like the taste of cinnamon in very small quantities because the flavor is too spike-y or "hot" for me. You know me, when I do something, I go all out. Good thing I never got into the cinnamon craze when I first heard of it because the only kind I'd heard of was the most common types: Cassia and Saigon. Those are tasty (if you like cinnamon), but they contain something called coumarin. Too much of this coumarin can have a negative effect on the liver.

When more recently I started hearing about the health benefits of cinnamon, I did a little research. What I learned is that there is a cinnamon that has very little of the coumarin that is to be avoided.

You can see that the powdered Ceylon cinnamon is a different color than the kind we've grown up sprinkling on our toast. It's also a very fine (talc-like) texture.

Ceylon cinnamon is from Sri Lanka. Where the common type of cinnamon found in local grocery stores can have as much as 63 times more coumarin than the Ceylon variety. Big difference. Also, the flavor of Ceylon is milder.

Some of the claimed benefits of cinnamon in general and specific types of:
  • Regulating the blood sugar
  • Helping with weight loss
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Treating yeast infections
  • Anti-inflammatory & anti-oxidant
  • Relief for depression
  • Helps concentration and memory
  • Good for the immune system
I just like spices and experimenting with new ones so I figured, why not cinnamon? But I had to find the Ceylon (or Cinnamon Verum) type. The one I could find that had good "ratings" and reviews from other users was this one from Frontier Co-op.

Let's go straight Pro and Con with this one:

  • The brand source does have lots of good reviews from users.
  • The size and price* is very reasonable (especially considering how little I need to use for a serving)
  • The taste is amazing.
  • Their website is wonderfully informative (about the company and user info)
  • The company lists their contact number for questions (and they answer those questions)
  • The company is a Fair Trade co-op (which equals ethics in sourcing).
*Note The price for this 1-lb bag was $18.57. I had to do a double-take when I saw the prices for larger quantities:

I don't think I'd ever need anything larger than the 1 pounder but, if I did, why wouldn't I just order 2 or 3 of the one I did buy? I mean, why does the price-per-unit go up on that listing???
  • Not much info on label for new cinnamon users
  • The powder doesn't "melt" completely, and...
  • ... is very fibrous (which might also be a Pro)
  • Country of Origin not labeled (you have to call)
  • Amazon Product Page info confusing on C/O also
  • Their website doesn't offer a lot of info on their products' pages
  • No scoop included (okay - I'm being a bit petty)
Really, though, there's not much not to like about this product. Because I am a rookie at using this kind of cinnamon, I did have to do some searching. Since I don't plan to bake with this cinnamon, I looked into ways of cooking with it. For me, that's going to be limited pretty much to mixing this with other spices. I'll end up adding some to what I call my TCC spice mix (Tumeric, Curry, Cardamom) for seasoning meat and veggies.

What I will be using this a LOT for is as a beverage enhancer. 

Cinnamon and honey drinks are supposed to be great for weight loss. I think that's because (at least for me) they help reduce cravings and give a boost of energy. It's claimed that you can lost up to 5 pounds a week with the mixture. I don't know about all that. I'll have to let you know how that works out later. For now, I just love the way this tastes. 
I call this my "Cinnamon Sludge" drink. It's basically about 2/4 cup of the cinnamon powder, 2/4 cup of raw (filtered) honey, and around 4 1/2 cup of water. 

I boil the water and cinnamon (stirring it a lot), the I let that mixture cool down before I add it to my honey. (Remember that too much heat can leech some honey benefits.). 

When I add this to a container, I will let the "sludge" of the powder settle to the bottom so that I can sip from the clearest part. Every now and then, I shake the container, then let it settle again. From the photos, you can see the difference when shaken (right)  and then settled (left).

I don't drink all this amount you see at one time. What I do is sip from it off and on during the day (making sure to get some first thing in the morning and last thing before bed), adding up to about 1 cup per day. 

This helps me not have to make a new batchup every day. I keep the ready batch in the fridge in between drinking it. When I finish off this batch, I will add more cinnamon and honey to the "sludge" residue.

Here's the thing, since I gave up carbonated drinks a long time ago, I limit myself to coffee, water, honey-water and, every now and then, a bottle of juice. That gets boring and, sometimes, I am really tempted to buy a Dr. Pepper or Sprite when I'm at the store. The only thing stopping me is I can no longer finish more than a few mouthfuls of that stuff. Yew-ick! Having this cinnamon-honey mix is nice. If I want to drink more than a cup a day, I can always dilute it with more water.