Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Maine Maple Syrup, Please!

I know, I know....It's been a while since I have posted.  The truth is that I have been knee-deep in studying for my certification as a Group Fitness Instructor through ACE.  I am enrolled in a 12-week program and will take my certification exam in May.  I also have formed a new company called Maine Healthy Life Coach and I am working on the brand-new website for the site that will offer personalized programs and services around nutrition, fitness, and wellness. Stay tuned for more.  Can't wait!

Every year the state of Maine has is known as Maine Maple Sunday.  Late in March, after the maple trees have been tapped and the sap flows and has been collected, the maple sugar shacks (as they are known), open their doors to the public and let people watch maple syrup being made in front of their eyes.

The mills also sell large jugs of fresh 100% pure maple syrup and they offer tasty treats like maple syrup ice cream sundaes (yes, in the middle of winter, I know!), maple candy, maple donuts, you name it. It is maple syrup heaven!  Even though I don't eat the sweet stuff anymore, it is still fun to watch the syrup being made.  It takes many hours for the maple tree sap to be boiled down to a thicker consistency and produce the maple syrup as we know it.

If you do enjoy the sweet stuff, now you will have even more reason to indulge because 100% pure maple syrup actually has a lot of redeeming qualities. It is known to help prevent inflammatory diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease because it contains polyphenols which act as antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body.  Maple syrup is also an anti-ager and helps to fight illness due to its zinc and manganese content.  It also is less likely to cause indigestion, gas and bloating than processed sweeteners. 

However, a note of caution. Make sure that you purchase 100% pure maple syrup though, not a substitute.  We all love Aunt Jemima, but her syrup is far from pure! Pure maple syrup is definitely more expensive (about $8-10), but it is worth every penny and a little goes a long way.  The fake syrups often contain high fructose corn syrup and other highly processed sweeteners so try to stay away from them.  The next time you are at the store, grab a bottle of real maple syrup for your pantry.  In addition to using 100% maple syrup on your pancakes or french toast, add some to your morning steel-cut oatmeal, marinades for meat, and drizzle a little syrup onto a cut-up banana for a sweet but tasty afternoon snack.