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    Archive for the ‘apples’ Category

    Quick & Healthy Recipes: Apple-icious Curry Dressing

    43219_RED_APPLE(Recipe adapted from Ani Phyo’s Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen.)

    This dressing couldn’t be easier to make.  It is also full of nutrition and delivers a delicious and unique taste that will immediately win you over.

    Although the book features it as a salad dressing (where I am sure it works just fine), I personally love it drizzled over a bowl of brown rice, oven-roasted chickpeas, and steamed broccoli and kale.

    YIELDS: 6 servings

    INGREDIENTS:

    1 medium apple (preferably Red Delicious or Golden Delicious), chopped
    1 clove garlic
    2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
    1 Tablespoon curry powder
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon cumin
    1/4 cup + 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend/process until color is uniform and consistency is smooth.  For a thinner consistency, add a small amount of water.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    162 calories
    2.3 grams saturated fat
    200 milligrams sodium

    Good Source of: Manganese, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, vitamin K

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    You Ask, I Answer: Applesauce

    applesauce3What is your take on applesauce?  Can I count a half cup serving as one of my fruits for the day?

    — Julia Larson
    Philadelphia, PA

    It’s somewhere in between drinking apple juice and biting into a whole apple.

    Since apples are boiled prior to becoming applesauce, levels of vitamin C and B vitamins are significantly reduced.

    Even within the applesauce world, there are variations.

    On the “less healthy side” you have applesauce made from peeled apples that also tacks on added sugar.

    On the healthier side, you have homemade applesauce made from unpeeled apples and flavored with spices, as opposed to sugar.

    Remember, half the fiber — and a large number of antioxidants and phytonutrients — is found in the apple peel!

    The other issue with applesauce is that, due to its texture and lack of necessary chewing, it can be very simple to down tablespoon after tablespoon.

    The process of eating a whole apple is more time consuming and more satisfying from a psychological perspective.

    Final verdict: it’s fine.  Much better than drinking apple juice, but not quite as “two thumbs up” as eating a piece of whole fruit.

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    Numbers Game: Answer

    fresh-apple1233606650According to the Environmental Working Group, 36 different pesticides are sprayed on conventional apples.

    While a conventional piece of fruit is certainly better than nothing, in some cases (like apples, which have some of the highest levels of pesticide residue of all produce) it is highly advisable to buy organic.

    Remember, research on pesticides is in its infancy.

    Just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the launch of a study that will screen comonly-used pesticides “for possibly disrupting the human, as well as animal, endocrine system.. which regulates all biological processes in the body – specifically, growth, metabolism and reproduction.”

    Pesticides also show up in farms’ water runoffs, often disrupting waterway ecosystems.

    As a reminder, here is a list of the top ten fruits and vegetables you should try to buy organic as often as possible.

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    Numbers Game: Answer

    Apple skins contain approximately 65 percent of the fruit’s fiber content.

    They also contain 100 percent of an apple’s quercetin content.

    Quercetin is a phytochemical that has been linked with tumor cell inhibition, lower rates of cell proliferation in some cancers, and decreased levels of platelet aggregation (one of the factors behind heart disease.)

    This is why I shed a silent tear whenever I see someone peel an apple and only eat the flesh.

    FYI: When buying fruits with edible skins, my personal preference is to purchase organic varieties if possible.

    Although quercetin can be purchased as a supplement by itself, remember that isolated phytonutrients are nowhere near as effective as when they work in tandem with other phytonutrients and antioxidants.

    A medium-sized apple, for example, contains approximately 2,000 phytonutrients!

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    Numbers Game: Skintastic

    Apple skins contain approximately _______ percent of the fruit’s fiber content.

    a) 24
    b) 39

    c) 50

    d) 65

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Saturday for the answer.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Apple Butter

    I moved to the United States four months ago and wanted to ask you about a food I hadn’t heard of until yesterday.

    Yesterday at a party I was at, someone brought homemade apple butter.

    I don’t like apples, so I didn’t taste it.

    But I was curious about what it was.

    Is it fatty like peanut butter?

    — Estefania (last name withheld)
    Los Angeles, CA

    Apple butter is, for all intents and purposes, applesauce with less water.

    There is no butter in it whatsoever.

    If you were to make it at home (usually in a crock pot), you would add spices and sugar to applesauce and cook it down for anywhere from eight to 12 hours.

    The cooking down process results in a thick texture akin to that of nut butters, hence the term “apple butter”.

    Two tablespoons contribute 58 calories to your day — 99 percent in the form of carbohydrates.

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    Say What?: This Report Card is Brought To You By Mickey D’s

    Thank you to reader Chris Davis for sending me a link to the latest McDonald’s marketing campaign — report cards!

    That’s right — Ronald’s burger joint and The School Board of Seminole Country, Florida, have teamed up to offer free Happy Meals to students achieving good academic, conduct, and attendance scores.

    Some of you might expect me to be flabbergasted and start punching my computer screen. Well, color yourselves surprised.

    For starters — the Happy Meal offers the choice of apple dippers instead of fries and milk in place of soda. I have to give McDonald’s some credit for allowing customers to venture outside of the usual “soda and fries” mentality.

    I also think that frequency, and not a Happy Meal itself, should be the examined issue.

    If this free Happy Meal is a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence, I don’t interpret that as a public health menace.

    If anything, restricting unhealthy meals to certain events is better than placing them in the “grab whenever we’re in a rush” category or normalizing them as an authentic substitute for a home cooked meal.

    Yes, I know we are dealing with the issue of using food as reward, which brings its share of problems. And, no, I’m not comfortable with the idea of McDonald’s advertising on a report card.

    It is one thing if a parent chooses to grab a Happy Meal with their kids as a way of rewarding them for good grades, it’s another when children come home and say, “Mom, I got all A’s, can we go to McDonald’s? Look, we can go for free!”

    However, when I was an elementary school student in Connecticut, a local deli offered the exact same report card deal.

    Granted, it was not promoted by my school, but (surprisingly?), this is not a case of McDonald’s setting a new low standard.

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    All-Star of the Day: Apples

    Legend has it they keep doctors away and get teachers on your good side, but it is our bodies that reap the best rewards from apples.

    Apart from packing four grams of fiber into just 80 calories, apples contain a flavonoid (plant pigment) named quercetin, which happens to be one of the top prostate cancer and heart disease warriors.

    A famous Finnish study (published in 1996 in the British Medical Journal) that tracked the nutrition habits of 5,000 adult men and women over a 20-year period found that those who frequently ate foods with high levels of quercetin had a 30 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular complications.

    Another flavonoid named phloridzin — found exclusively in apples — has been found to slow down bone loss during menopause. Just one a day, every day, is enough to help preserve bone structure.

    Antioxidants are substances that help prevent the formation of free radicals (cancer-causing chemicals) in our bodies, and apples are loaded with them! Apples are such superstars that they come in at #2 in the “Fruits With The Highest Amount of Antioxidants” chart.

    Back to fiber for a second. Apple skins contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that brings on a feeling of satiety, helps the liver produce less bad cholesterol, and flushes out dangerous metals like lead and mercury out of our bodies.

    The fruit itself has insoluble fiber, which keeps yucky stuff — including free-roaming bad cholesterol — moving in the digestive tract.

    The healthiest way to eat an apple is raw and with its skin on. Apple juice is a black hole of nutrients and can’t even begin to compare to to the crunchy goods that grow from trees.

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