Cinnamon’s Role in Improving Neurodegeneration & Memory


Cinnamon is a GREAT way to make foods sweeter without adding sugar. Native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), true cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, dates back in Chinese writings to 2800 B.C. Its botanical name derives from the Hebraic and Arabic term amomon, meaning fragrant spice plant. From their word for cannon, Italians called it canella, meaning "little tube," which describes cinnamon sticks. Medieval physicians used cinnamon in medicines to treat coughing, hoarseness, and sore throats.

When it comes to brain health, cinnamon extracts seem to slow down the progression and even improve some symptoms of “neurodegenerative” diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Some additional benefits of cinnamon include:

  1. Cinnamon is great for the brain as we get older as it has been shown to delay cognitive impairment by lowering oxidative stress of brain cells (Jain, Sangma, Shukla, & Mediratta, 2015).

  2. Cinnamon may be beneficial for Parkinson’s patients by improving dopamine production (Khasnavis & Pahan, 2014).

  3. Cinnamon may curb food cravings by targeting a brain chemical involved in glucose and cholesterol (Bano, Ikram, & Akhtar, 2014).

  4. Cinnamon can turn a poor learner into a good learner by stimulating hippocampal plasticity, a part of the brain associated with memory (Modi, Rangasamy, Dasarathi, Roy, & Pahan, 2016).

  5. Cinnamon is a good source of the powerful antioxidant manganese. Two teaspoons of cinnamon provides about half the RDA of manganese, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for brain and body health (Coassin, Ursini, & Bindoli, 1992).



What Type of Cinnamon Is Recommended?

When you’re buying cinnamon, not all of it is created equal. There are two main types of cinnamon; the common type known as “cassia”, as well as the “true” cinnamon known as ceylon. Cassia cinnamon is the inexpensive and common type that is found in grocery stores. It is from the tree Cinnamomum aromaticum.  True or “ceylon” cinnamon is from the tree Cinnamomum zeylanicum. Ceylon cinnamon tastes a bit sweeter than the cassia type, and is also a bit lighter in colour. And, yes, “ceylon” cinnamon is harder to find and more expensive than the common type, “cassia”.

We recommend that you stick with the true “ceylon” cinnamon.  It is a bit harder to find and more expensive than the common type, but is available in some health food stores and on Amazon.

A Daily Dose of Cinnamon

We’ve unearthed these quick ways to work ceylon cinnamon into your diet. You can stir it into your oatmeal, quinoa, rice or yogurt, add it to a smoothie or sprinkle it on fresh fruit, season vegetables before roasting or add a small amount of cinnamon to rubs, marinades, and stews.

You should opt for cinnamon sticks if the dish that you are making will be cooked for a long time. This is because cinnamon in stick form releases its flavor over a longer period.

  • Use a cinnamon stick when cooking quinoa or brown rice! You can throw the stick into the water while the quinoa cooks, and you can also try BAKING the quinoa or brown rice in the oven with some coconut milk and some added ginger. Yum Yum.

  • Toss a cinnamon stick into a slow cooker filled with hearty chili, a slow cooked coconut rice dish, or any slow cooked meat. It adds a delicious layer of flavor and light spice to your meal.

  • Golden milk! Simmer some coconut milk, water, a cinnamon stick, turmeric root, ginger, black pepper for 20 minutes or so. Makes a delicious warming beverage that is also highly anti-inflammatory.

  • Spice up your coffee - Place a cinnamon stick on top of coffee grounds before you begin brewing. A subtle, yet perfect amount of warm cinnamon spice will be infused into your morning coffee.



Bano, F., Ikram, H., & Akhtar, N. (2014). Neurochemical and behavioral effects of Cinnamomi cassiae (Lauraceae) bark aqueous extract in obese rats. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 27(3), 559–563.

Coassin, M., Ursini, F., & Bindoli, A. (1992). Antioxidant effect of manganese. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 299(2), 330–333.

Jain, S., Sangma, T., Shukla, S. K., & Mediratta, P. K. (2015). Effect of Cinnamomum zeylanicum extract on scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress in rats. Nutritional Neuroscience, 18(5), 210–216.

Khasnavis, S., & Pahan, K. (2014). Cinnamon treatment upregulates neuroprotective proteins Parkin and DJ-1 and protects dopaminergic neurons in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology: The Official Journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology, 9(4), 569–581.

Modi, K. K., Rangasamy, S. B., Dasarathi, S., Roy, A., & Pahan, K. (2016). Cinnamon Converts Poor Learning Mice to Good Learners: Implications for Memory Improvement. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology: The Official Journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology, 11(4), 693–707.

Phytonutrients: The Chemicals of Health

Did you know that we need about 9-13 servings of plant foods PER DAY if we want to prevent chronic disease? A serving is 1/2 cup of cooked veggies, one cup raw leafy greens, or one medium sized piece of fruit. Phytonutrients from plant foods are the chemicals that make up the color of the plant. They are not a macronutrient such as fat, protein, or carbohydrate nor are they a micronutrient such as a vitamin or mineral. They are entirely different constituents that plants use to protect themselves from their harsh environment. When a plant is stressed in its environment (such as from weather, insects, etc) it makes even more phytochemicals to protect itself. When phytonutrients are consumed, they protect the cells of the human body from harmful free radicals much like they protect the plant. This is why eating organic provides greater health benefits as the plant is forced to protect itself in its environment, versus it being protected by synthetic chemicals. Wild plants are hard to come by in your local grocery store these days, however, when found they should definitely be looked at as a prized possession. Wild blueberries, for example, can be found in the freezer isle and provide much more phytonutrients than standard blueberries.

The rate at which research is discovering new plant phytochemicals is astounding. Isoflavones from soy, carotenoids from carrots, catechins in green tea, polyphenols in raw cacao, glucosinolates in broccoli, and carnosol in rosemary are just a few (Kines, 2018). There are so many more that we aren’t even aware of yet. They help to regulate gene expression, including turning on the genes that help us burn more fat and age at a slower rate due to the protection they offer to our cells. They contain powerful antioxidants and in the right quantities will protect the human body from chronic disease. Yet, most of us aren’t eating enough of these beautiful, powerful jewels.

Each phytonutrient comes packed with different health benefits, meaning we need to eat the rainbow when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Radishes, for example, are rich in anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, gastrointestinal health and detoxification prompting nutrients. There are also synergistic benefits of combining certain phytonutrients, for example adding lemon juice to spinach makes the iron more absorbable, and combining turmeric with black pepper and an oil helps the curcumin from turmeric get absorbed into the blood stream. Below is a list to help guide you on your journey to getting more phytonutrients in your diet on a daily basis.

Red Foods: Apples, beets, beans, bell peppers, blood orange, cranberries, cherries, grapefruit, goji berries, grapes, onions, plums, pomegranate, potatoes, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, red pepper, cayenne pepper, rhubarb, tomato, watermelon.

Red Food Benefits: Cancer prevention, lowering inflammation, protect cells, support GI health, support detoxification pathways, balance hormones, heart health.

Orange Foods: Sweet potato, yam, tangerine, orange, pumpkin, turmeric, carrots, apricots, mango, nectarine, bell pepper, cantaloupe, papaya, persimmons, squash.

Orange Food Benefits: Cancer prevention, anti-bacterial, immune boosting, cell protection, reproductive health, skin health, Vitamin A.

Yellow Foods: Apple, Asian pear, banana, bell pepper, ginger root, lemon (peel), millet, pineapple, starfruit, summer squash, butternut squash.

Yellow Food Benefits: Cancer protection, lower inflammation, cell protection, cognition, eye, heart, skin, and vascular health.

Green Foods: Apples, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bamboo, bean sprouts, bell pepper, bitter melon, bok choy, brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccolini, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, green beans, pear, green tea, leafy greens such as chard, collards, dandelion, turnip greens, beet greens, lettuce, kale, spinach, limes, okra, olives, pears, snow peas, snap peas, watercress, parsley, cilantro, zucchini.

Green Food Benefits: Cancer protection, lower inflammation, brain health, cell protection, skin, hormone, heart, and liver health.

Blue/Black/Purple Foods: Purple bell pepper, blueberry, blackberry, boysenberries, huckleberries, marionberries, cabbage, purple carrots, purple cauliflower, black raddish, eggplant, figs, grapes, kale, olives, plums, potatoes (purple), prunes, raisins, black rice.

Blue/Black/Purple Food Benefits: Cancer protection, lower inflammation, brain health, cell protection, cognitive health, heart and liver health.

White/Tan/Brown Foods: Apples, applesauce, beans, cauliflower, coconut, dates, garlic, ginger, jicama, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, onions, pears, sauerkraut, seeds of all kinds, shallots, tahini, gluten free whole grains.

White/Tan/Brown Food Benefits: Cancer protection, anti-microbial, cell protection, GI health, heart health, hormone balancing, liver health.

Some tips on selecting plant foods with higher levels of nutrients and phytochemicals:

  • Eat seasonally

  • Eat foods fresh (broccoli, kale and other vegetables lose their nutrients significantly within 24 hours of harvest)

    • Shop from farmer’s markets, join a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), start a garden

  • Learn more about edible wild plants and weeds in your area (via books and wild food tours)

  • Consume nutrient & phytonutrient rich varieties more often:

    • avocados

    • artichokes

    • asparagus

    • colorful corn

    • whole carrots (not baby) with tops on – orange, purple, red & yellow

    • eats beets (red/purple) and their greens

    • consume more sweet potatoes vs. white potatoes

    • deep red, smaller tomatoes (cherry, grape)

    • cauliflower

    • kale

    • broccoli

    • cabbage

    • Brussels Sprouts

    • mustard greens

  • Greens

    • Select more rare varieties (dandelions vs. spinach, purslane vs. lettuce, arugula, radicchio)

    • Select bitter greens (higher calcium content in bitter greens) & tart/sour greens

    • Select darker color greens or those with some red, purple or reddish brown coloration

    • Select whole, unpackaged greens that have more loosely wrapped leaves

  • Onions & Garlic

    • Eat more scallions (green onions (scallions) are over 100 times higher in phytonutrients as white onions)

    • Consume shallots, leeks (with greens), garlic and onion chives

    • When consuming garlic, slice/mince/press and let sit for 10 minutes prior to cooking

  • Fruits:

    • Consume varieties of apples such as: Cortland, Granny Smith, Fuji Honeycrisp, Liberty, Northern Spy, Spartan and others (less common varieties in Farmer’s Markets, U-Pick)

    • Eat lots of berries: blueberries, blackberries (loganberries, boysenberries, marionberries), strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, aronia berries

    • Consume white nectarines, blue, black and red plums, bing cherries when ripe

    • Consume red (red flame), purple and black grapes, golden raisins & currants

    • Consume blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, tangelos, red grapefruit, ripe lemons & limes

    • Include citrus zest (organic) in your cooking

  • Herbs:

    • Cook with savory herbs and spices often

    • Include herbal teas and herbal vinegars in your daily diet

    • Add fresh herbs to salads and garnish dishes with fresh herbs


Institute For Functional Medicine. Phytonutrient Spectrum Foods.

Kines, Kasia. The Epstein-Barr Virus Solution.

Robinson, J. (2014). Eating on the Wild Side. The Missing Link to Optimum Health. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

30 Days to Detoxofication


In light of the New Year, I thought it would be fitting to focus on some detoxification strategies to help you cleanse your body and soul of 2018 so that you can start anew in 2019. When I say “detoxification,” I’m not just referring to detoxifying out all the bad food choices or alcohol you may have consumed around the holidays. I’m talking a whole body systems overhaul. I’m talking about detoxifying out the negative thoughts, fears, and low self worth AS WELL AS the environmental toxins, preservatives from foods, heavy metals, bacteria, yeast, and any other undesirable non-food particle that somehow found its way past your intestinal barrier. The word “detox” to me describes the body’s physiologic process of rendering chemicals, compounds, hormones, and toxicants less harmful. Scientists estimate that the average adult carries within her or his body at least 700 toxins and that a newborn’s body can contain over 200 toxins. This statistic is astonishing.

Now, some “detoxification” protocols tell you that you should drink nothing but juice for three days, feel virtually miserable, and be forced to stay in bed. This is not my philosophy. I believe that our body’s detoxify best when given the right nutrients, in the right amounts, from clean whole foods, under healing environmental circumstances. Metabolic detoxification is an ongoing process, one that depends on multiple organs of the body, a consistent supply of the right nutrients to support the enzymatic pathways that make this process happen, as well as the prioritization of a clean living environment to limit the incoming toxic burden. While proper systems wide detoxification oftentimes will require you to work with a skilled professional, there are some general tips I can help you with to get started. There is no better time than the present to show your body some extra TLC and improve your sense of well being. So lets dive in!

How does the body excrete toxins?

The body rids it self of toxins through our stool, our urine, our sweat, and our hair to name a few. Optimizing these excretory pathways is of the utmost importance in trying to clean up your body’s toxic burden. On average, you should be having one to two, well shaped, fully formed bowel movements per day. If you are averaging less than this, consider consuming more fiber through plant foods such as vegetables and fruits, and consuming more filtered water. If your stool is on the looser side regularly, this could be due to food intolerances, again a lack of fiber, or even a bacterial or fungal infection in your digestive tract. Work with a health practitioner to rectify this situation. If you’re not sweating regularly throughout the week, try exercising more, taking an epsom salt bath, or utilizing a sauna. More on this later!

The Food

Food plays a crucial role in all phases of systemic detoxification. The first step in the process is to determine the toxic foods you are consuming as an every day part of your diet. By becoming aware of this and switching over to a clean, whole foods based diet you can substantially reduce your body’s toxic burden. Foods that support the body’s detoxification pathways reduce triggers that activate the immune system, support liver function, reduce toxin load by focusing on clean/organic choices, and reducing chemicals that cause the endocrine system to get thrown out of wack (I’m talking about your hormones here, ladies!). Below are my main tips for minimizing your intake of harmful substances:

  • Buy organically grown animal products.

  • Peel off the skin or remove the outer layer of leaves of some lettuce, especially if non-organic.

  • Remove surface residues of pesticides, wax, and fertilizers with pure castile soap or biodegradable cleanser.

  • Choose lean meats that are pasture raised.

  • Choose wild caught fish: specifically, salmon, halibut, cod, or sardines. Any fish higher up on the food chain will have more heavy metals.

  • Wash produce before preparing it.

  • Consult the Environmental Working Groups “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists.

  • Consult the Environmental Working Group website for tips on how to purchase clean personal care and cleaning products.

  • Avoid foods that contain any food coloring or dyes, or preservatives such as BHT, BHA, benzoate, and sulfites.

  • Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or aspartame.

  • Avoid canned foods, foods in plastic containers or bottles, or any other packing that has BPA in it. Some canned foods in moderation will be okay as long as the can is BPA free lined.

  • Cook only with glass, stainless steel, or cast iron. Teflon coated pans leach chemicals into your food, and aluminum cooking sheets/pans also leach aluminum into your food. Aluminum has been found in high amounts in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. DO NOT STORE YOUR FOOD IN PLASTIC! Only store left overs in glass.

  • Drink only filtered water. My favorite water filter is the BERKEY system. If this is out of your budget, a brita should work just fine, but please do not store the water in the plastic container, move it over to a glass pitcher.

Now, here are the foods you’re going to focus on to provide your body with high quality micronutrients, phytonutrients, and antioxidants:

  • Protein: Lean, free-range, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught animal protein or non-GMO organic plant protein. This includes pastured eggs, wild caught fish as mentioned previously, lean grass-fed meats, tempeh, spirulina, tofu, or whey/hemp/pea protein powders.

  • Legumes: Organic black soybeans, edamame, green peas, bean soups, or dried beans/lentils that have been soaked overnight. Hummus is okay, just ensure that it is made with organic ingredients and olive oil NOT canola oil.

  • Dairy alternatives (this is a no dairy plan): Coconut kefir, coconut yogurt, or homemade almond/coconut milk.

  • Nuts/seeds: these are particularly therapeutic! Get unsalted, unsweetened, raw organic nuts without added oils. Bonus points if you sprout them! You can do so by soaking for 6-8 hours depending on the nut/seed. Almonds, brazil nuts (great source of selenium), cashews, chia seeds, flax, coconut, hazelnuts, hemp seems, nut and seed butters, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts.

  • Fats/Oils: Organic, minimally refined, cold-pressed, non-GMO. Avocado daily! Ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil (not for cooking), hempseed oil (not for cooking).

  • Vegetables: YOUR BEST DETOXIFIERS! Eat 7 servings of these bad boys per day. Cruciferous veggies: Arugula, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, radishes. Leafy Greens: bok choy, chard, swiss chard, cilantro, beet greens, collards, dandelion greens, mustard greens, microgreens, parsley, radicchio, endive. Thiols: chives, onion, scallions, shallots, garlic, leeks, daikon radish. Further liver/kidney support: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, celery, sprouts. Starchy vegetables can help to round out a meal: acorn squash, butternut squash, potato, fennel, carrot.

  • Fruits: Organic Apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherries, purple grapes, grapefruit (consult your health care practitioner if you are taking medication), mandarins, orange, pineapple, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, rhubard, strawberries tangerines.

  • Gluten free grains: buckwheat groats (delicious cooked in coconut milk with some cinnamon), certified gluten free oats, quinoa, forbidden black rice, millet, amaranth, wild rice.

  • Drinks, spices, condiments: filtered water with lemon, herbal teas (dandy blend is an awesome choice), curry, dill, ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, thyme. NO ALCOHOL!

The Supplements

Supplementation should always be advised by a health care professional as every one has unique physiology. In general, I recommend everyone take a professional grade, third party tested multi-vitamin to support micronutrient levels. Our soils and foods are depleted of micronutrients from over farming and poor agricultural practices. It is an unfortunate fact of life now. Even organic foods are much more depleted than they used to be. If you aren’t sure which multi to take, check out our online dispensary under our supplements section for our favorite choices. Some additional supplemental detox support includes:

  • N-Acetylcysteine

  • Glycine

  • Cysteine

  • Glutamine

  • Methionine

  • Liposomal Glutathione (this requires you to work with a professional)

  • Fish Oil

  • Curcumin

  • Milk Thistle

  • Seacure

  • Vitamin C

The Lifestyle

All the wholesome food in the world can’t help you detoxify if you live a high stress, toxic lifestyle. For the duration of the month, try to do a daily 10 minute meditation to help you de-stress and relax. Get regular exercise! Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day. Couple this with a yoga class every week (hot yoga is a bonus as it helps you to excrete toxins through sweat more), high intensity interval exercise, or any other form of exercise that makes you sweat! Drink an electrolyte drink while sweating to ensure you don’t deplete your body’s resources. A good electrolyte drink consists of filtered water, a pinch or two of pink sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, and some coconut water.

Try a sauna two days per week for 45 minutes or until you absolutely can’t be in there any longer. Sauna’s are great for helping your body to sweat toxins out. An epsom salt bath weekly can also do the trick!

Make it a goal to detach from electronics as frequently as possible, avoiding them for the first hour of your day, and the last two hours of your day. Believe it or not staring at screens can increase your body’s stress response - not to mention the harmful Electromagnetic Frequencies that can impact your health, but that’s a whole different topic.

Get adequate sleep! Try to sleep for 8 hours every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, stick to a regular bed time of 10PM. Use blue blocker sunglasses if you must use electronics before bed, otherwise avoid them for two hours prior. Try an evening meditation to wind down, read a book, take a warm bath with some lavender oil & epsom salt, or do something that makes you laugh. If you are still struggling to get a decent night sleep, it may be time for you to work with a practitioner that can help determine the underlying reason for this.

Surround yourself with positive people. Positive vibrations from friends and loved ones can help to increase your vibration, thus influencing your mood and the thoughts that run through your head. Positive thoughts lead to happy and positive cells - it’s a biological fact of life! Try to reduce your time spend with toxic people, toxic situations, or anything else that drags down your mood.

Journal regularly! This can help you to better understand your thoughts and emotions in order to intervene with your negative ones to turn them into positive ones. Oh and last but not least, breath in clean air! Invest in an air purifier, such as a LifeAir or a HEPA certified air filter. This investment is a MUST if you live in a big city like I do.

Throughout the month of January, I’ll be sharing some additional detoxification recipes to help you along your journey. Have any questions or comments, e-mail us!

Yours in health,

Using Whole Foods to Balance Blood Sugar, and Why this is so Important For Your Health

So let’s start with a conversation about whole foods, what that really means and why this buzz word is important. Whole food is real food, food in its unaltered form, food produced from the earth in a form that our bodies know how to process. A good hint is: A whole food has only one ingredient.

Whole Foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, pasture raised meats, legumes and whole grains come packed with various nutrients that our bodies - particularly our brains - 100% need in order to function optimally. Our cell membranes are made from fats, our neurotransmitters are produced from amino acids (building blocks of protein) coupled with vitamin and mineral cofactors. To add more to the story, Whole Foods have rich phytonutrients that are what the plant uses to defend itself in its environment. When consumed, these constituents help OUR cells to protect themselves from oxidative stress - or stress in our environment.

Processed foods, such as breads, chips, crackers, pizza, most pastas, white rice, candy, etc are stripped of most of these nutrients. So, if your diet consists of primarily processed foods - what is your brain going to use to produce neurotransmitters? What are your cells going to use to protect themselves from damage? When getting down to the bottom of most of our country’s chronic disease and mental health disorders, it is imperative to start with a focus on a Whole Foods based diet. Try it for a month, your cells will thank you, your brain will thank you, and soon enough you’ll start thanking yourself.

Did you know that hypoglycemia can manifest as symptoms of intense anxiety and panic? Poor blood sugar handling by the body can make you feel like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle. Which leads me to our second important topic on eating to support optimal health, both mental and physical. Effectively managing your blood sugar is a crucial foundational aspect to any treatment regimen. Eating unbalanced meals full of processed and refined carbohydrates spikes blood sugar and can lead to insulin resistance, followed by hypoglycemia and a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the day

So what does a balanced meal look like? Half your plate should be full of non-starchy vegetables or fruits. This provides the necessary fiber and nutrients to slow down the uptake of glucose into your blood stream. Complex carbohydrates such as a sweet potato, fruit, or whole grains (buckwheat, quinoa) are also long lasting sources of fuel that don’t hit the blood stream as quickly. Coupled with some healthy protein and fats, such as wild caught fish, olive oil, coconut oil, etc makes for a truly balanced and nourishing meal. Think of it as putting logs in the fire, versus the twigs of refined sugars and flours.

Each meal or snack should be balanced with complex (not refined) carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. I recommend eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up, eating lunch between noon and 1:30, and dinner around 6:30 or 7. Two snacks in between meals could consist of a granny smith apple with some nut butter, or veggies and some hummus. If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, it could be due to a cortisol burst from low blood sugar, meaning you didn’t get enough complex carbohydrates into your blood stream before bed. Try a small snack before bed and see if that helps. I like dark frozen cherries mixed with some walnuts - cherries are a natural source of melatonin and walnuts add some protein and fat to slow absorption of the glucose from the cherries.

Try the brain boosting smoothie recipe provided in our recipes section for a quick and easy breakfast to set your blood sugar up for success for the day!