The air is cooler, Halloween is just around the corner, and the smell of pumpkin fills the air – Fall season is definitely here! October marks the official beginning of the holiday season – a time of friends and family, fun and cheer, and TONS of good food.
Pumpkin spice muffins are a perfect holiday food – they’ve got pumpkin in them, for starters, and they also complement the “feast” palate of the holidays. They’re sweet but not too sweet; they could be dessert or part of breakfast. Undeniably a favorite for good reason!
Pumpkin spice recipes are certainly a fall trend that we could not pass up, but of course we wanted to put our very own Pure Essence spin on it. We thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if some of our favorite seasonal treats weren’t so bad for our health?” And then we came up with a solution that we just had to share with you!
The Pure Essence Twist
With all the food we eat during the holiday season, one thing that’s important to pay attention to is our blood sugar levels. Heavy foods that are loaded with carbs can cause your blood sugar to reach high levels that are unhealthy. This can result in headaches and fatigue and lead to diabetes or heart, vision, nerve, and/or kidney problems down the road.
This particular recipe includes key ingredients that keep our muffins tasty but also won’t spike your blood sugar levels. In fact, some of them may help keep them balanced! What magical secret ingredients are those? Well, they’re not secret at all!
As the name of our recipe suggests, one of our key ingredients is Maitake! Mushrooms are famed for containing copious amounts of nutrients that benefit our bodies. Maitake mushrooms in particular contain polysaccharide compounds that promote healthy blood sugar levels.*
In this recipe we used 8 capsules of MyPure™ Maitake because our powdered maitake contains 500 mg of fruiting body mushroom nutrition in each capsule. You’d have to use a lot of physical mushrooms to get the same potency of benefits, and we’re pretty sure that wouldn’t taste good in your muffins. Using the powder from the capsules allows you to get all the nutrition without having to worry about the mushroom flavor overpowering the rest of the recipe.*
Pumpkins are a delicious low-calorie food that can support our general health – including our blood sugar levels. They are rich sources of nutrients, including phytochemicals like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (these three nutrients are powerful vision boosters). They’re also high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, which are favorable for heart health. But most importantly, pumpkins contain the compounds trigonelline and nicotinic acid, which studies have shown may help lower blood sugar levels,  and a compound called puerarin, which has been shown to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. 
Bonus: if you make your own pumpkin puree, be sure to save the pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are tasty sources of magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc!
We used oat flour instead of white flour, not just to make it gluten-free, but also because oats are a heart-healthy ingredient. Oat flour is rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber not only helps you stay full longer, but it can lower the absorption of bad cholesterol. Studies have also shown that oat flour can help normalize blood pressure and control blood sugar levels.
To minimize the amount of sugar in this recipe we opted for honey. Honey is one the best natural sweeteners and it also provides your body with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
One of the main reasons someone with high blood sugar concerns might stay away from pumpkin spice foods is that they’re usually filled with added sugar. Added sugar is a surefire way of spiking those blood sugar levels. Honey, on the other hand, is a natural sugar that affects your levels way less than white sugar. And because it’s sweet, less of it is required!
Spices in general have many beneficial properties. Several are anti-inflammatory and boost your immune system. This recipe calls for a few that can help with your blood sugar levels.
Allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon have all been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels. Nutmeg can help stimulate cells to release insulin. Ginger has been shown to help regulate insulin response. And allspice contains the antioxidant eugenol which protects the cells responsible for insulin production and improves their function. But cinnamon is the real hero.
Cinnamon not only packs a powerful punch and complements the overall flavor, but it also contains the second highest amount of antioxidant power in spices (right behind cloves). More interestingly, cinnamon can imitate the effects of insulin and increasing glucose transport into cells, thus lowering blood sugar levels.  And it can also slow down the digestion process by blocking carb digesting enzymes, this lowers the rate at which the blood sugar levels spike.
Servings: 12 muffins
½ tsp ground allspice
1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease all 12 cups of your muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
2.) In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, honey, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract with a whisk. Add the MyPure™ Maitake powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
3.) Add the oat flour to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
4.) Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake muffins for 24 to 29 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean (mini muffins: 15 minutes).
5.) Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. These muffins are delicate until they cool down. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan.
These muffins taste even better after they have rested for a couple of hours. They’ll keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They keep well in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months (just defrost individual muffins as needed for 30 to 60 seconds).
Serve and enjoy!
 Yoshinari, Orie et al. “Anti-diabetic effects of pumpkin and its components, trigonelline and nicotinic acid, on Goto-Kakizaki rats.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry vol. 73,5 (2009): 1033-41. doi:10.1271/bbb.80805
 Chen, Xue et al. “Synergistic Hypoglycemic Effects of Pumpkin Polysaccharides and Puerarin on Type II Diabetes Mellitus Mice.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,5 955. 8 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules24050955
 Jarvill-Taylor, K J et al. “A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition vol. 20,4 (2001): 327-36. doi:10.1080/07315724.2001.10719053