An apple a day....

Apples, apples, everywhere....


We've now harvested the majority of our apples - and I've already dehydrated five large bags of them. They taste yummy dried - with nothing added.


And like our pears, our apples are huge this year.  We have a few apples that weigh more than a pound each!  It sort of makes a mockery of the "apple a day keeps the doctor away" as one of our apples could feed a family of four!

In fact, it did for lunch today. I made a nice slaw with a single large apple, walnuts, spring onion and mint.  And it fed four of us nicely!


Not quite sure what has happened with our orchard fruit this year.  We've never seen it so large - with pears over a pound each, apples the same and even large nectarines!  Yet not a great year for tomatoes.

But no complaints!  We are loving it.  What are you enjoying this early September?
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Overnight oat berry breakfast parfait



While yesterday's OOO-breakfast is yummy - it is quite sweet, even though it has no added sugar - but the sweetness comes from the bananas and mango.  So I made this version of a 'pretty parfait' - OOBBP, using berries instead and changing the oats a little. If you have a sweeter tooth - you can still use this recipe but go for all strawberries - but I like a bit of tartness so added cranberries as well.


Here's the recipe: 3 servings

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup cranberries (can be frozen)
1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup dairy free milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce

Puree the strawberries and cranberries together until smooth in a food processor.

Place the oats, chia seeds, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl and stir together.  Add the apple sauce and mix thoroughly.

To assemble the parfait, divide approx. half of the oat mixture between three serving glasses/bowls.  Add a layer of strawberry/cranberry puree using approx. half of the puree.  Add the remainder of the oat mixture to make a third layer, and finally top with the remainder of the strawberry/cranberry mixture.  Top with a sprinkle of oats and chia seeds. I also added a dehydrated apple ring.



Put in the fridge overnight, during which time the oats will soften and thicken.  This will last for 3 days....if you can stop yourself eating them for lunch as well - which is what I did!

Again, this breakfast is giving you a good dose of omega 3 fatty acids from the chia seeds - and I used flax milk as well. I have found a flax milk I really like, called Good Karma Flax milk - only 25 calories  and 1200 mg omega 3 per cup serving.


You can use fresh or frozen fruit for this - and any berries that you like. I think it would be lovely with blackberries and raspberries together.  Or strawberries with cooked rhubarb - yum!

Which do you think is prettier? The mango/banana or the berry parfait?  I'd go with the berry - love that bright red coloring with the neutral colored oats.  
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An apple a day......(Part 2)

can keep some people 'going' all day!

Photo by Artnow314
Yes, while yesterday's blog post extolled the virtues of apples, as we all know, not one "size" fits all and we are all individual.  And so it is with apples. 

If you have fructose malabsorption, sadly, it is best that you avoid apples.  Fructose malabsorption is a condition where an individual cannot properly digest the sugar fructose in their small intestine.  Undigested fructose then gets carried into the large intestine - the colon, where our normal bacteria break it down and use it as their food source.  In the process of them digesting the fructose, the bacteria produce different gases which can cause the intestine to swell.  At this stage, a person with fructose malabsorption may well experience bloating, cramping, gas and distension, and then this can be followed by diarrhea.



These symptoms are similar to those experienced by people with celiac disease, and also those who are lactose intolerant and thus it is frequently difficult figure out what is going on and what is causing the problem. Fructose intolerance is also often seen in those WITH celiac disease and lactose intolerance too.  It is also seen in those with irritable bowel syndrome. 

It is actually the ratio of fructose:glucose in foods that is the issue with fructose malabsorption, as glucose helps absorption of fructose. So those foods with a high fructose:glucose ratio are the ones that you should avoid if you have fructose malabsorption. These include:
  • apples, pears, melons, mangoes, peaches
  • sweeteners such as honey, sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate
  • foods high in fructans such as onion family, artichokes, asparagus, inulin and fructo-oligosacharrides
  • grains including wheat, rye and barley


So while apples are generally seen to help with diarrhea, if you have fructose malabsorption, then they can actually cause diarrhea.

It is important to work with your doctor or health care practitioner if you are having chronic diarrhea and other digestive issues, as the symptoms share a lot of cross over with other issues.  There is a test for fructose malabsorption - a hydrogen breath test - but it is a relatively new test and not offered by all docs.

Remember - we are all different and have different needs. 

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An apple a day...... (Part 1)

....keeps the doctor away.


  • In an analysis of more than 85 studies, apple consumption was shown to be consistently associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, asthma and type 2 diabetes, compared to other fruits.  In one of the studies, Finnish researchers followed more than 5,000 men and women for more than 20 years.  Those who ate the most apples and other flavonoid rich foods such as onions, were found to have a 20% lower risk of heart disease than those who ate the smallest amount of these foods.

Harold enjoying his "lady" apple!

  • Apples are rich in a soluble fibre known as pectin, which has been shown to exert a number of beneficial effects.  Because it is a gel-forming fiber, pectin can lower cholesterol levels as well as improve the intestinal muscle's ability to push waste through the gastrointestinal tract.

One medium unpeeled apple contains 3 g of fiber. Even without its peel it contains 2.7g of fiber.

Just adding one large apple to the daily diet has been shown to decrease serum cholesterol by 8 - 11 % Two apples a day has been shown to lower your cholesterol by 16%.




  • Apples also contain malic and tartaric acids, which improve digestion and the breakdown of fats - so combining an apple with fattier food like apple sauce with pork, or apple slices with cheese, not only tastes good but helps the body deal with the fat intake.


  • Apples are helpful in the relief of the pain of gout, rheumatism and arthritis - and also help you feel better the morning after too much drinking!

An apple on our tree last year was "picked" by one of the tendrils of the grape vines!


  • They are great to eat if you have diarrhea and are one of the 4 components of the BRAT diet used for diarrhea or food poisoning - with BRAT standing for Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast.

  • Apples are also a good source of Vitamin C and potassium.  Most of the apple's important nutrients are contained in its skin - so eating them raw and with their skin is best. 



They are a wonderful substitute in cooking and baking for oils.  In my salad dressings I replace oil with unsweetened organic apple sauce and in my baking, I frequently use applesauce to replace the oil.  Not only do I benefit from no oil, but I also benefit from eating the apple!

We have several apple trees (- an old proverb says " if you can plant only one tree in your garden, make it an apple tree")  and too many to eat when they are all ripe. So I dehydrate them.  I often leave the skin on, slice them and don't feel the need to use lemon juice. The idea is that we can then enjoy them year round but this year I think we had eaten them all by Christmas - and we had a lot!  Dried apples are a lovely snack....and you can now buy freeze dried apples which have a lovely crunch.

Have you had your apple today?
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Fruit is the best dessert

Sometimes fruit is just the best thing for dessert....

especially when it is parrot sized! This is my Harold, enjoying his parrot-sized apple.






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Invalid Fruit Tart

It's all in a name! Invalid Fruit Tart! Does it make you want a slice?  Somehow, I think psychologically, it's not going to make you feel better if you aren't well!

Courtesy of the BBC Great British Bake Off

This tart creation comes from the archives at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh from the 1950's.  The recipe - one of 24 in the archives - was designed with the health of patients in mind.   This was in the time when the first dietician was appointed in the UK and these recipes were created in the context of the growing importance of the role food could play in health - both preventing illness in the first place and helping patients to recover.


Here's the recipe:


Ingredients:
1 large apple
1 piece of stale sponge
142ml milk
1 egg, separated
1/4 oz granulated sugar
1/2 oz castor sugar
Water

Wipe, peel, core and slice the apple and place in a pan with a dessertspoonful of sugar and a little cold water. Stew the apples until pulped.
Beat the egg yolk with a teaspoon of sugar and add the milk.
Place the stewed apples in a pie dish and cover with strips of sponge cake.  
Pour the custard (egg and sugar mix) over the sponge and bake in a cool oven until slightly set.  
Fold the castor sugar into a stiffly beaten egg white and heap onto the pudding. Dredge with sugar and cook slowly until slightly brown. 

I love the idea of cooking something in a "cool oven"!!!  Does that mean you don't have to switch it on?

It does sound like it probably tastes pretty good - apples and sponge, custard and meringue.....but I never think reading "stale" anything as an ingredient is very appetizing!  I'm sure it was soft to eat and good comfort food....but maybe nowadays, for "health" benefits, we'd have to make a couple of adjustments!

If you are feeling ill today- maybe you'll give it a try????!!!  Feel better soon....

This recipe was featured on this week's Great British Bake Off on BBC in the UK.  I'm so excited because I got to watch it! My sister told me about it and thought I'd enjoy the program so I got a VPN (virtual personal network) that I've been resisting for a while, and can now watch the BBC here in the US :-D
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