It is time for going back to school and looking toward Fall. One food that always comes to mind during this time of year is apples.
We know we need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. Unfortunately, the majority of people today get their fruit and veggie intake from french fries, ketchup, and sugary fruit juices. Those things may contain a fraction of the health benefits that our bodies crave, but they aren’t adequate. Plus they come with additives, sugars, and fats that are counterproductive to what benefit they might have.
Do you know how many servings of fruits and veggies we should eat in a day? I have heard recommended five on the low end and nine on the high end! I try to aim for a minimum of six, planning for at least two servings at each meal. I eat a whole baked sweet potato at breakfast, which counts as two servings. I have a salad and a piece of whole fruit included in my lunch, which counts for 3-4 servings. At supper, I eat a half-plate of veggies and another fruit for dessert, which counts for 3-4 servings. Eating this way, it’s not hard to meet and exceed the recommendations.
Eat the rainbow of colors, too! Each color gives different antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins.
Eating fruits with skins on gives you more fiber and goodies. So wash them up well and include the skins.
That leads to the next thing, which is buying organic. Why? Organics help you stay slim and prevent diabetes; help you avoid scary hormones; help you avoid pesticides and other chemicals; help you prevent antibiotic resistance; make your food taste better; make your diet more diverse (buying what’s in season); make your food more nutritious; and help the earth.
Here are two helpful lists to consider when you see the price of organics and know you can’t afford to buy everything organic. So what things do you choose? Which items are the most important to buy organic? On the list of fruits and veggies with highest residual pesticides, here is the list going from needing to buy organic the most to the least: Apples, Celery, Red Peppers, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Blueberries, and Potatoes. The other list is inclusive of all foods, again listed as needing to buy organic the most to the least: 1) Meat, dairy, and eggs; 2) Coffee; 3) Peaches & nectarines; 4) Apples; 5) Bell peppers; 6) Celery; 7) Berries; 8) Lettuce; 9) Grapes; 10) Foods you eat a lot. Many of the foods on these two lists overlap, so those I consider the most important fruits & veggies to buy organic if at all possible. But eating them non-organic is better than not at all!
Quickly, I will list some of the health benefits of eating apples. (Red Delicious and Granny Smith’s ranked highest in antioxidant concentration per serving size.) Whiter, healthier teeth; Decreasing risk of Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s; Protecting against cancers; Decreasing risk of diabetes; Reducing cholesterol; Protecting against heart disease; Preventing gallstones; Helping with diarrhea & constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and hemorrhoids; Controlling weight; Detoxifying liver; Boosting immune system; and Preventing cataracts! It may be true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Eating gluten-free or eliminating refined white flour or wheat from your diet makes some treasured baked goods and pastries seem like a thing of the past. But it doesn’t have to be! You can still enjoy a delicious warm homemade apple pie! This is a wonderful recipe I came across.
Gluten-Free (Organic) Apple Pie
2 cups g-free all-purpose flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (mochiko)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1. Mix flour blend, sweet rice flour, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
2. Make a well in center of mixture. Add eggs and vinegar. Stir together just until dough forms. Divide dough in half; shape into two flat discs. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes or until very cold.
3. Roll each piece of dough on floured surface to circle slightly larger than pie pan. (If dough becomes sticky, return to refrigerator until cold.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
6 medium (organic) apples (Granny Smith is great), cut into 1/4 inch slices, peeled if you want
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca flour
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Prepare the pie crust. Generously butter a 9-inch pie pan. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Combine apples, sugar, cranberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon in large bowl. Toss gently.
3. Press one crust into prepared pan. Arrange apple mixture in crust. Place remaining crust over filling. Pinch edges of crust together; trim excess pastry. Cut slits in top of crust to vent steam.
4. Bake 12 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Bake 30-40 minutes or until apples feel tender when pierced with tip of sharp knife. Cool on wire rack.
Cozy into a comfy chair with a steaming hot fresh cup of (organic!) coffee and a piece of pie and savor the treasured flavor of Fall!
Here’s to your health,
photo credit www.freedigitalphotos.net
© 2012 – 2014, Kristen Hamilton. All rights reserved. Love it? Please share, pin, tweet or email but do not use my work without permission.