October is in full swing and I am sure you may have seen: it appears everyone has gone ga-ga for pumpkin, particularly Pumpkin Spice! This time of year we can be certain of a few things…cooler weather, kids going back to school, leaves changing and… Everything Pumpkin!!!
Today’s post will share some fun facts, Beauty Detox tips and insight for you to make the best health choices possible when it comes to enjoying this seasonal phenomenon!
Before we get into the fun stuff, I just want to address the irksome fact that many companies mass-produce processed foods to profit on the pumpkin craze this time of year. So, be mindful of the items you purchase and what is included in them.
The pumpkin spice granola bars, cookies, chips and candies that you see in stores may certainly seem super yummy with their fancy-shmancy packaging, but beware! If you flip them over and read the ingredients, they are really just the same-old, processed, packaged foods dressed up with a pumpkin flare. These tricky items also include your beloved store-bought Pumpkin Spice Latte, which typically is made with dairy milk, espresso and flavored sugar syrup. Don’t worry though, as I will share an awesome Vegan Caffeine-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte with you tomorrow as well as some other amazing pumpkin recipes!
Whenever you can make your own recipes, you can feel good about the ingredients you include because you are aware of everything that goes into it. Of course, we ALL indulge from time to time, but I just wanted to warn you to be careful not to get sucked into the marketing in your local supermarket for foods that seem healthy but are most certainly not. :)
Let’s kick start this post with some Fun Facts about Pumpkins!
Did you know? There are more than 45 varieties of pumpkins, ranging from small, intermediate, large and jumbo.
Pumpkins are really amazing and come in so many varieties. Contrary to popular belief, not all pumpkins are orange; many are green, white and brown. The most commonly known pumpkin is the Classic Orange Pumpkin which are the most common to use for Jack-O-Lanterns. Try to get creative this year and seek out a different variety of pumpkin!
Our beloved Kabocha squash is actually called “pumpkin” in places like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan and Korea!
Pumpkins are actually a squash! Pumpkins are a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash and cucumbers. Last week I published a new recipe featuring this amazing Beauty Food. I was so inspired from my recent trip to Sri Lanka and the pumpkin curry they make there, that I made my own variation of the recipe Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Curry! If you are not hungry now, you will be after checking out that recipe. :)
Pumpkins are Great for Beauty Hydration
Watermelon has some competition…Pumpkins are 90% water so they are amazing to add to your diet when in season. I talk a lot of about the importance of keeping our bodies hydrated in The Beauty Detox Solution. When the body is not properly hydrated it can lead to an assortment of health issues including constipation, which tends to worsen for everyone this time of year.
Not All Pumpkin Seeds are Created Equal
Whether you’re carving pumpkins and want to know what to do with the seeds, or you’re just in a fall mood and want to pick up some raw pumpkin seeds at the store, here are a few Beauty Detox tips!
I get asked a lot about whether it is a good idea to eat the seeds from inside a normal Halloween pumpkin. The typical way these seeds are prepared are not Beauty Detox friendly because they are roasted.
Pumpkin Seeds Should Always Be Eaten Raw Pumpkin seeds (and all nuts and seeds, for that matter) should always, always be eaten raw. As sad as it may be to abandon the tradition of roasting those pumpkin seeds after pumpkin carving, in order to get the nutrition from the seeds, you should ideally eat them raw.
When you roast them, the benefits are altered (you denature the amino acids and vitamins) and your seeds are no longer packing the nutritional punch you’re probably (at least partially) eating them for. If you just want them as a treat, cool, but if you do want to keep them really nutritious (they are particularly great for healthy hair)…you can dehydrate them, though, so you don’t have to give up the enjoyment of munching on crispy, flavorful seeds completely! While it’s easiest if you have a dehydrator to use for projects like this, you can also use your oven. Simply turn it to the lowest heat possible, spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet, crack open the door to the oven, and let them go for a few hours, checking on them periodically to see when they’ve reached the desired crispiness.
If you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator, spread the pumpkin seeds out on your tray or trays (they can overlap a little, but make sure they’re not stacked more than two seeds deep anywhere so every one gets their own turn to dry out :) ) and dehydrate them at around 100 degrees. Check them after about six hours. If they’re not crunchy enough for you, you can let them go for another two or so hours.
Before you worry about drying them out, you should first soak them overnight, then rinse them before dehydrating them. Soaking pumpkin seeds allows the nutrients to be more readily available to your body when you eat them and makes the seeds easier to digest.
I know it sounds like a lot! But the soaking step is really just throwing them in water and letting them bathe on their own. Then you’re just spreading them and letting them dry out while you do nothing. That’s doable, right? :)
Why You Should Eat Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic beauty food because they contain beauty minerals like zinc, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. You can also get a portion of your precious, beautifying B, C, E, and K vitamins, plus protein and omega-3 fatty acids from them.
If you want gorgeous hair and skin, pumpkin seeds can help. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of several vitamins and minerals, but don’t overdo it. All seeds and nuts are pretty dense, and their high fat content can still be clogging to the body if you eat them with abandon. These are powerful little delivery systems for a number of beauty nutrients, but don’t forget that you can get the same benefits from a variety of fruits and vegetables, too. In other words, sprinkle 1/4 cup or so of pumpkin seeds into some of your meals and snacks for an extra boost of energy and beauty minerals and vitamins, but don’t in other words chow down on them by the bowlful!
Now you many be wondering what type of pumpkin seed should I eat? There are four main types of Pumpkin seeds also commonly know as pepitas. Not surprising, the most popular type is the Cucurbita Pepo, as this variety includes the seeds for the pumpkins used in pies and jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkin Seeds that produce giant pumpkins are Cucurbita Maxima. Cucurbita Mixta are the seeds that produce pumpkins that are unique in size, shape and color often come from Cucurbita Mixta. An ideal pumpkin for canning comes from Cucurbita Moschata seeds. 
Benefits & Nutritional facts of Pumpkins
One of the reasons I like to use pumpkin in my recipes this time of year is that they are a great source of fiber and they are also rich in carotenoids! Carotenoids are the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A. Since pumpkin has such a high source of fiber you can stay feeling full longer while consuming less. As I talk about a lot with my Glowing Green Smoothie, fiber is essential to flush out your system and make sure everything is working as efficiently as possible!
Now what about the Spice in “Pumpkin Spice”?
Last week I posted about some of the amazing benefits from common household spices. The concept of Pumpkin Spice is actually really healthy when you create recipes using all natural, whole food ingredients. Some of the main aromatic spices that are included when making these recipes are cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger.
Tune into tomorrow’s blog where I share with you a few tasty recipes that are “pump-tacular”!
Let’s keep our pumpkin party going :). Have a great day and see you tomorrow!
In love & health,
 http://www.allaboutpumpkins.com/varieties.html  http://www.ehow.com/facts_5625874_types-pumpkin-seeds.html