An Apple a Day… you know how it goes.
I grew up with a grandfather who was a prominent farmer in the Central Valley of California. He grew oranges, stone fruits, grapes and so much more. Actually, he grew everything except apples! I realized I had never picked an apple! So somehow, I talked my whole family into an apple picking day adventure up in the cooler mountains of Yucaipa, California. We found this ranch called Hudsons’ Snow-Line Apple Farm. We picked Rome and Granny Smith apples, but they also grow Gala, Mutsu, Empire, McIntosh and Fuji apples. Even though, there were a couple of not-so-excited buh-humbug travelers at first (I’m sure my dad and brother were hoping we were actually surprising them with a golf course excursion), they went along for the ride and everyone ended up having a super fun great day. (suckers!!) **the embedded pics are me and my family up at Snow-Line. The two cute little boys are my sunshine aka as my nephews Anderson(6) and Ashton (3)**
Needless to say, I came home with so many apples. 3 – 10 lb bags to be exact. Right away I went into the kitchen to put them to good use and make delicious treats for us.
Apple butter, apple butter muffins, salads with chopped apples, and baked apples with pecan raisin crumble. (All of these recipes are up on the blog.)
And there are STILL apples for snacking on (add some almond butter for scooping)
With me being a health coach, I want to take a beat to talk about the health benefits of apples and why you should choose organic apples over conventionally grown apples.
Let’s start with the health benefits. It could be very true that an apple a day helps keep the Dr. away. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. Apples are packed with soluble fiber. This fiber has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders, including diverticulitis and possibly some types of cancer. It also helps control insulin levels by releasing sugar slowly into the bloodstream. Soluble fiber also cleanses and detoxifies, which helps eliminate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury.
2. Apple pectin helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion.
3. According to Chinese Medicine: Apples strengthen the heart, quench thirst, lubricate the lungs, decrease mucous and increase body fluids.
4. An apple has only 50-80 calories and has no fat or sodium.
5. Apples are packed with vitamins C, A, and flavonoids and with smaller amounts of phosphorus, iron and calcium. Also, provide a source of potassium which may promote heart health.
There you have it… lots of good reasons as to why you should eat an apple a day. So, let’s discuss why it’s smarter to eat organic apples when you do eat them.
Apples are at the very top of the Dirty Dozen list for being a highly contaminated crop, right next to celery and tomatoes, and of course our favorite leafy greens. Apples are highly contaminated because of the pesticide spraying process. Tractors are driven directly next to the apple trees with a mechanical spraying device that shoots out large even spurts of pesticide to coat the leaves AND the exterior of the fruit. This pesticide adheres to the skin and even seeps into the core because the concave shape near the stem creates a perfect bowl-shaped vessel.
**Please note, organic orchards still use pesticides, the difference is they can’t be synthetic. Here’s why you want to stay far away from synthetic pesticides. Synthetic Pesticides are toxic. The sole purpose of any pesticide is to kill living organisms. The U.S. government and international government groups have proven data that shows a direct link to pesticides and: “brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, skin/eye/lung irritation, and even ADHD.
But the good news is, organic apples are affordable in their prime season. If you haven’t noticed, organic fruit can be super pricey, but apples (even the organic kind) are one of the most affordable fruits available during it’s prime season (Fall/Winter).
At the end of the day, eating a FRESH apple (organic or not) is a smarter choice when your only other option is highly processed junk food with little to no nutritional value. The fiber and natural vitamins in an apple will go much further than a bag of chips or cookies any day.