Does Cinnamon Scent Drive Your Brain to Open Your Wallet?
Around holiday time do you shop in Sacramento supermarkets, ethnic food markets, or pharmacies for food using reward program bonuses, coupons, or sales days? Or do you buy specialty foods online such as organic goji berries, purple corn kernels, vegan foods, dehydrated fruit, or olive leaf extract and various spices and herbs? Check out the December 16, 2011 Time Ideas article by Martin Lindstrom, “Why the Smell of Cinnamon Makes You Spend Money.”
Looking for raw vegan recipes? Check out the Raw Vegan Recipe exchange site. It’s also on Facebook.
Do you buy groceries in Sacramento or any other city pharmacies that also carry grocery products? See, Why You Shouldn’t Buy Groceries at Drugstores. It’s the relatively higher prices, but you do have the convenience if you need to buy most of your items at a pharmacy and a few groceries. But you won’t find organic or natural foods as many pharmacies. See, And the Nation’s Favorite Low-Cost Grocery Store Is.
See, 5 Most Surprising Findings From the 2010 Census. When it comes to food buying, since 2000, population growth has slowed. We’ve found it increasingly hard to leave home to start a career. Many still live with parents who are older than age 25. And salaries have decreased for the first time on record. Also see, Bioethics panel urges stronger protections for human subjects.
When it comes to nutrition as in other areas of live, the country is divided between the young and the old. See the site, “the numbers that have been trickling out of the 2010 Census this year.” Do census statistics lie or tell the truth or partial truths? The 2010 census revealed marked shifts, triggered largely by the Great Recession of 2008.
An increase in immigration, and a rapidly aging population has produced a demand for foods that appeal to the immigrant groups and another food market, such as organic produce that appeals to older Americans. The 2010 census data shows us a portrait of the two Americas: younger and older North America. And what the older part wants often is a piece of the pie that the younger now has. And the younger wants what the older part worked for that took four or five decades to save.
So how does this divide relate to nutrition? It’s more than the haves and have-nots. It’s more than ethnic food preferences. It’s what the older population can eat when the digestive enzymes no longer produce enough acid to digest meat and raw foods, vegan diets, and lots of raw cabbage juice take over to suppress the H. pylori. And it’s also about finding alternatives and affordable holistic approaches to life, food, and health–approaches that work. The key word in food is customized/tailored to individual metabolic responses.
According to the article from Time Moneyland, “Why You Shouldn’t Buy Groceries at Drugstores,” by Brad Tuttle, you can check out a blog about a man who once lived on a low food budget. The blog is Grocery Coupon Guide, and the man who writes the blog once lived on a food budget of $100 for 100 days (with the help of many, many coupons).
Coupons can be used for sales and foods at drugstores where you can save money on some foods not priced as high as other foods. Others recommend playing the “drugstore game” in order to snag tons of discounts, including what amounts to free toothpaste and other staples. So check out these articles mentioned in the piece, “Why the Smell of Cinnamon Makes You Spend Money,” to save money shopping for groceries. Also see the article, Q&A: 100 Days, $100 for Food, and Lots and Lots of Coupons).
Retailers know how to manipulate all our senses — and that includes our olfactory ones. Also see, Lindstrom: What Your Supermarket Knows About You). Also see, 12 Things We Buy in a Bad Economy). And check out, 12 Things You Should Stop Buying Now.
According to the article, “Why the Smell of Cinnamon Makes You Spend Money,” Retail advertising is more about “monkey see, monkey buy.” At many Sacramento and other supermarkets, retailers may be enticing you to buy more through your nose. Nothing is hidden about it, whether it’s the scent of flavored coffee or cinnamon from cinnamon-scented pine cones parked near the supermarket fake or real plants or trees.
This 2011end of season, Trader Joe’s, Publix, and other supermarkets are prominently displaying heavily-scented “cinnamon brooms” by the check out — large, smelly bunches of twigs to hang inside your home and anoint with cinnamon oil when their pungency starts to fade.
At Bed, Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, and other big-box stores, cinnamon-scented pine cones for sale greet you as you walk in the door, according to the article, “Why the Smell of Cinnamon Makes You Spend Money.” This article also reports that you can “take these items home, and you might even get the urge to rush out shopping again.”
For some people in Sacramento sensitive to odors such as cinnamon oil, the problem is more about numerous people who get asthma attacks, nausea, and/or headaches, or feel otherwise dizzy, ill or get visual flashes and white-out or dark blind spots related to migraine vascular restrictions just from the scent of cinnamon oil sprays, scents, and cinnamon oil-drenched or even synthetic or natural cinnamon air freshener-scented objects are constantly complaining to clerks, usually to no avail.
Some of these people are older adults, more sensitive to smells that some of the younger generation. But few retailers realize this reaction to spicy holiday smells in stores. The smell is much more intense in a store than you’d smell in your kitchen when you bake an apple pie.
The sickening scents of cinnamon oil are in the supermarkets. People who are sensitive to odors have no chance other than to shop elsewhere in places where the only scent is fresh air.
Dr. Gemma Calvert, who is an expert in modern brain imaging based in Oxford, England, discovered the remarkable ability smells have to reactivate childhood memories. She exposed a group of volunteers to cinnamon and then viewed their reactions, using an fMRI scanner, according to the article, “Why the Smell of Cinnamon Makes You Spend Money.” As the volunteers breathed in the sweet spicy scent, their brains fired up — including the region responsible for authentic emotional engagement.
It seems cinnamon is one of the main ingredients associated, over time, with baking and cider-making rituals and can kick-start an emotional journey whenever it wafts our way. However, there’s a big difference between smelling a dash or pinch of cinnamon on your home-baked fresh apple pie and having to smell cinnamon oil on pine cones that takes your breath away and makes you nauseas, light-headed, and asthmatic the minute you walk past certain supermarket counters or even walk through the door of various supermarkets or other stores.
For the sake of those sensitive to smells, especially older shoppers, please stop with the stink of oil extracts because it doesn’t smell like the real home-baked pie scent. It smells sickeningly chemical and way overdosed. Same goes for the stink of barbeque smoke in front of supermarkets in the summer months. Here are some tips on dips and sips that bridge the digital and age-related divided at holiday time. Want ethnic foods this season?
Ethnic Foods Season
Try dried black figs pureed with pitted black olives and spices. Or wrap your favorite holiday stuffing in fig leaves or certain types of organic citrus tree leaves. It’s for the scent. You don’t eat the leaves. But you can eat stuffed grape leaves. Try stuffing grape leaves with cooked black rice and chopped vegetables. And serve this with fig and olive dip.
Fig and Olive Dip
Fig and olive dip, spread, or sauce is made by mixing a cup of dried black figs that have been soaked in water and re-hydrated overnight in a covered class jar or bowl, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup black pitted kalamata olives, 1/4 cup of capers, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon yellow or dijon mustard, and a dash of spices of your choice such as cinnamon and cloves or thyme. Puree these ingredients in a food processor and serve as a spread, sauce, or dip. Refrigerate in a covered container.
For excellent tasting already prepared fig and olive dip, see the site, Jimtown – Fig and Olive Spread or to make your own fig and olive dip, see the recipe website, fig olive dip Recipes at Epicurious.com.
Cooking with Fig Leaves
(Don’t eat the fig leaves. Just cook in them for the scent and flavor.) You can cook almost any type of fish that usually is baked wrapped in fig leaves. Here’s a way to make use of those huge fig leaves just blooming now in April on your backyard fig tree, before the figs ripen in June and August.
Also, for dessert, you can wrap almost any fruit that can be baked in fig leaves. The same goes for lemon tree leaves. The only detail is to make sure both the fig leaves and lemon tree leaves have not been sprayed with pesticides.
For a great recipe of how to bake salmon wrapped in fig leaves with drizzled olive oil, check out the Salmon Baked in Fig Leaves recipe online. There’s also another recipe for salmon baked in fig leaves at the Salmon Baked in Fig Leaves with Kale site. For dessert, check out the recipe online for apricots baked in fig leaves.
You can substitute drizzled olive oil for the butter and leave out the sugar in the apricots baked in fig leaves recipe, substituting some other sweetener you prefer such as stevia, pomegranate juice concentrate, apricot syrup, or no sweetener.
The lemon zest adds flavor and tartness. For example, instead of greasing your baking dish with butter or dotting the fig leaves with butter, you can use grape seed oil, olive oil, or rice bran oil and avoid adding more saturated dairy fat to your diet. In Thai cooking, peanut sauce with vegetables, meats, or sea foods also are cooked in a satay style. See, Hors D’oeuvres – Sacramento Caterers – Hannibal’s Catering.
Basic Malaysian and Thai satay sauce often mixes coconut milk, crunchy peanut butter, onion, soy sauce, and brown sugar or other sweetener. Check out the basic satay sauce recipe at the Satay Sauce site at All Recipes.com.
You can wrap fish or meat in fig or lemon leaves, for example and bake with a satay sauce for Thai or Malaysian-style cooking that mixes savory dishes with coconut milk, peanut butter, and sweetened soy sauce.
Why are so many Sacramentans cooking with (but not eating) the leaves of the ‘Bearss’ species of seedless lime trees dipped in melted dark chocolate? Its leaves are especially good for coating with melted chocolate (use only the underside of the leaf to coat with chocolate). (That’s if your tree is organic and has no pesticides, dust, or bird droppings covering the leaves.)
After the chocolate sets, pull off the leaf to reveal a chocolate twin with a tantalizing hint of citrus. Perfect for decorating cakes and lemon curds.
‘Bearss’ seedless lime tree originated in the Porterville, California citrus tree grove of T.J. Bearss in 1895. The classic lime for cooking and bartending, Bearss limes ripen even in cooler coastal areas. This citrus tree is a fast grower with fruit ripening in the fall.
Sacramento is a hub for great Thai and Greek cooking, especially with the abundance of lemon tree leaves found in both Thai and Greek cooking and fig tree leaves found in Greek and Sicilian-style cooking. One of the easier citrus trees to grow in pots outdoors if you’re willing to bring the pot indoors when temperatures drop below freezing. This information came from Bay Flora, in the Berkeley area, who sells and ships various fruit trees and other plants all over California and other areas. You can order online these various trees, fruits, and plants growing in containers.
Check out the Bay Flora website. Last summer, the three blooming fig trees our family ordered arrived in Sacramento by ground within one day sent from San Leandro and/or Berkeley.
If you’re thinking of a Bearss lime tree, these trees are shipped in 4″ x 9″ pots. The trees are over 2′ tall, with side branches beginning to develop. The Bearss variety is one of the more vigorous citrus trees, especially when grown on semi-dwarfing rootstock. So why are chocolate-dipped citrus tree leaves so popular here in Sacramento and also in the Bay area? It’s the scent and taste the citrus leaves place on the chocolate that gives the flavor. You don’t actually chew and eat any leaves. But you also can wrap the leaves around baked or grilled fish entrees.
Smell the citrus scent on the fish or other meat and vegetable baked or grilled foods. It’s divine. You can also bake cheese and vegetable meals or even tofu, tempeh, and seitan “wheat meat” or soy foods inside the citrus leaves for the citrus taste and scent.
Cooking with the leaves of lemon trees, a Greek ethnic favorite
Certain organic citrus tree leaves may be used as a wrap in cooking. But first make sure the leaves you get from a backyard lemon tree has never been sprayed with pesticides because the pesticides will poison you. You need organic, never-sprayed lemon tree leaves.
Wrap any meat or fish item in the leaves and grill your food. The lemon tree leaves will impart a lemony, citrus fragrance to the meat or fish.
Here is an illustrated recipe for lemon-tree-leaf-wrapped Sicilian meat balls from the FXcuisine.com site. In areas where there are no lemon tree leaves, frequently bay leaves are wrapped around grilled meat or fish.
Recipes for meat or fish wrapped in lemon tree leaves and grilled are also found in numerous East Asian countries. Lemon tree leaves also are used in Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
Cooking with organic lemon flower petals (not leaves)
At the Greek-Recipe.com site, you’ll see recipes for using the organic flowers (no pesticides) from lemon trees in your cooking recipes. Basically, you wash off the stamens from the petals of a lemon tree.
Then you put the cleaned petals in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. The petals are stored in a jar full of lemon juice diluted with a little water. You let the mixture stand for a couple of hours.
Then you boil a spoon full of sugar and water for a few minutes, usually about ten minutes, until the water turns to light syrup. You rinse the lemon juice off the petals you just took out of the jar and put the petals in the syrup.
Then you boil everything for another five minutes. As the mixture starts to cool, you squeeze the juice of a lemon over it. Let it cool some more. And put the syrup in a jar. Store it in your refrigerator.
To grow your own lemon tree indoors in containers close to natural sunlight, see the Citrus Growers cites. Also see the book, Lemon Tree Healthy Cooking (Paperback) by Sunny Baker Ph.D. Also try the recipes in the book for Tofu With Lemongrass and Coconut Curry Sauce or Lemon Shrimp on a Stick.
Thai and Vietnamese Cooking with Lime Tree Leaves
Lime leaves used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking are Keffir lime leaves which are a different plant than the usual lime tree leaves you see in California. Keffir lime leaves have odd-shaped twin leaves.
Lemon tree leaves are used as wraps for meats, fish, veggie burgers/balls, or other vegetables. Don’t eat the tree leaves from lemons or keffir limes as you’d eat the fruit. The taste of lemon leaves is similar to lemongrass.
Lemon or keffir lime leaves are meant to wrap food with when cooking to give a flavor and scent, but not to eat. Grape leaves are edible when cooked. Wrap rice and tomato juice/paste, vegetables, and meat or fish with boiled and edible grape vine leaves.
Also see the iVillage Garden Web for more ideas on which tree leaves are edible. Be sure to find out first whether the leaves are organic. Don’t use leaves that have been sprayed with pesticides in your food.
For more info: browse some of my books, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues (2009) or How to Open DNA-driven Genealogy Reporting & Interpreting Businesses. (2007).