Labor Day is on Monday, September 3rd – that is just a few days away! Can you believe that Fall officially begins this month? Where did summer go? Most people celebrate Labor Day, but do you know exactly why (other than getting a 3-day weekend and a good excuse to BBQ)?
According to dosomething.org, the first US Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. 10,000 workers from the Central Labor Union marched from City Hall all the way to 42nd Street and then met with their families in Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic, concert, and speeches. Labor Day started as a part of the labor union movement, to recognize the contributions of men and women in the US workforce, and in 1884 congress passed a law to make the first Monday in September a legal holiday.
Another fun fact: Traditionally, people did not wear white clothes, particularly shoes After Labor Day. This comes from the tradition when the upper class would return from their summer vacations and stow away their lightweight, white summer clothes as they returned back to school and work. Really, there isn’t any rhyme or reason to it now; it’s a very old tradition that is rarely held onto these days.
Not only is September host to Labor Day (3rd) and the first day of Fall (22nd), It is also National Breakfast Month and National Pancake Day is September 26th – how cool is that? Breakfast is such a fun meal. Not only can it set precedence for the day, but there are so many delicious recipes for breakfast. This may only be my opinion, but I love having breakfast food for lunch and dinner; on the other hand, it’s hard for me to have lunch or dinner recipes for breakfast. Breakfast is an “anytime” type of food!
I have an amazing pancake recipe that is so delicious it could double as a dessert. It may look decadent, but these delicious fresh baked treats are naturally good for you (like always). Oh, and did I mention apples are in season?
German Apple Flax Pancakes
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cored, halved and thinly sliced green apples
- 1/4 cup Z sweet (a fantastic natural sweetener you can find at Whole Foods)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
I love French Toast, but when you add all the powdered sugar, butter and syrup, I’m not sure if there are any nutritional benefits left in the meal; you’re simply left with a sticky mess and a sugar crash later in the day. In my book “Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads”, I have a recipe for Protein-Powered Vanilla French Toast that is a balanced PC combo, which is simply eating a combo of protein and carbs (if you don’t know how to do this effectively, pick up a copy of one of my books, it’s so easy and it will change the way you think about carbs).
Protein-Powered Vanilla French Toast
- 1⅓ cups liquid egg whites
- ½ cup vanilla-flavored egg white protein powder, Jay Robb’s brand (found at Whole Foods stores)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup omega-3 light spread
- 8 large slices whole wheat bread
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- ½ cup fat-free whipped
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 3 ingredients and set aside.
- Melt the omega-3 spread as needed in a large nonstick pan over medium heat.
- Dip the bread into the egg mixture, coating both sides of each slice well.
- Cook the bread approximately 2 minutes on each side, or until golden.
- Top with the strawberries and whipped topping
Nutrition facts per serving: 360 calories, 25 grams protein, 47 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat Serves: 4
September is a significant month for honey producers as well, as it is the month that marks the end of the honey collection season for many beekeepers in the United States. Raw Honey has a lot of health benefits. It can aid in cough suppression, is a natural source of energy with 17 grams of carbs per serving, it can be used in cooking, baking, an additive to drinks, skincare, and even has a variety of medicinal uses (we are talking raw honey, not processed).
There are many varietals of honey out there, but if there is one type of honey I would recommend, it would be Manuka honey. You can do your own research on Manuka and find that it is exceptional, with uses varying from improving sleep, IBS remedies, burn treatment, to allergy relief. There is an article on WebMD that outlines the science behind using Manuka honey as medicine and . It can be pricey (and well worth it!). I just got a great deal on Manuka honey at Costco recently, if you have a membership head on over!
Everyone knows that bees make honey. Honey bees collect nectar to create honey and store as food because it provides the energy for bees’ flight muscles and provides heating for the hive in the winter. The good news for us is that the honey bees make more honey than the colony needs, so it is necessary for beekeepers to harvest the excess. Did you know how else they contribute? Bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food: from almonds to berries and the alfalfa that feeds dairy cows, our diets and agricultural economy depend on a healthy bee population.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the honey industry faces many challenges: hive loss, drought, colony collapse and shrinking collection areas. The honey bees actually need our help; here is how you can contribute:
- Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard.
- Reduce or limit the use of chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn or garden while plants are in bloom
- Bees are thirsty. Put a shallow basin of fresh water with marbles or rocks in it for the bees to land on outside your home.
- Learn how to be a beekeeper with sustainable practices.
- Donate to an organization dedicated to helping protect and promote honey bees and other pollinators.
Here is a honey recipe from honey.com that will inspire you to protect and promote these pollinators:
Going along with our breakfast theme, this first one would be a great breakfast or even a mid-morning snack or dessert. If you have mason jars lying around, you can make these ahead of time and grab breakfast on the go. (I would substitute fresh vanilla if you have it.)
Honey Chia Seed Pudding
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 6 Tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Fresh berries
- Combine the coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla and honey in a medium bowl.
- Mix well until the honey has dissolved.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferable overnight.
- Stir well and divide the pudding into individual portions.
- Serve with fresh berries. Add granola, if desired. (yields 4 servings)
Another great way to use honey is in your beauty regimen. Honey can be used to help the skin in many ways. It can reduce acne, shrink pores, give you a glowing complexion, and may even help the aging of your skin.
Honey makes a great cleanser for the face. It actually dissolves makeup very easily, especially if you mix it with a natural oil that doesn’t clog the pores like coconut oil (which is my favorite) or almond oil. It doesn’t do well on eye makeup, so I would steer clear of that delicate area of the face.
Mix your honey and oil together to form a soft texture that is slippery enough to slide across your face. You can add in essential oils, or a pinch of cinnamon or turmeric for a fragrant treat. Massage your mixture all over your face, avoiding the eye area. You’ll start to see your makeup loosening up and your skin will be moisturized at the same time. Rinse off with warm water. Your face will look amazing and feel amazing, too!
This is just one of the things you can do with honey in your beauty routine. This article from Women’s Health about the beauty benefits of honey has some practical ideas of how to use every day. You can also use honey in your hair! Since honey is an emollient, it seals the moisture inside your hair, it also strengthens, cleans, and helps with re-growth. You can read all about those benefits in this article on stylecraze.com.
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.