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by Buck Reed

Apple Season

Although apples are now readily available year-round because of the voodoo science has provided for us, we tend to look at apple season as being in November. This is because, traditionally, apple picking starts in July and, depending on the climate, ends about now. So, November is when we take the last of the apples and start the traditional work of preserving them into apple butter or sauce or prepping them for storage for the winter.

This time of year, apples are traditionally sorted and then wrapped in paper before placing them in a crate or basket and storing them in the cellar where it was cool enough to keep the apples from spoiling. The paper was used to keep a bad apple from coming into contact with the others and ruining the rest. As the Osmonds taught us, one bad apple won’t spoil the whole bunch. Is there nothing a 1970’s Mormon family pop group cannot teach us?

Today, apples are picked before they are ripe and stored in rooms with higher levels of carbon dioxide to keep them from ripening. When the apples are needed for sale, the room is flooded with oxygen and the apples ripen naturally. And, if they need the apples sooner, ethylene gas is used to super ripen the fruit. This method ensures that we will have fresh, crisp apples all year round.

 This modern method also ensures that apples do not lose any of their nutritional value, which, of course, we all know “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” One apple has about 95 calories and provides a good source for soluble fiber, which will help lower your cholesterol as well as blood pressure and risk of stroke.

Eating an apple with the skin will also provide ursolic acid, which will activate a calorie burn in the body and help fight obesity. Although apples do contain carbs, which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, the fiber in apples can actually help stabilize sugar levels in diabetics.

Since we now know apples are good for you and they are readily available all through the year, why not cook with them more?

Baking with apples is a no-brainer. Apple dumplings, apple turnovers, apple crisp, and of course, the all-American dessert, Apple pie, easily come to mind. But why not change it up with something different like a new spice or seasoning. I am finding ground cardamom to be a nice new ingredient to add to my baked products and would encourage anyone looking for something new to give it a go. Of course, baked or sautéed apples would make a fine side dish to almost any entree, and adding sliced apples to a stir fry might add a pleasing surprise. If you have a food dehydrator, slice the apples thin and make some apple chips for a quick snack.

With an ingredient packed with so much nutritional value and an all-year availability, why not keep a bag in the pantry?

Challenge yourself to eat one apple a day and give the doctor the day off.

Have You Tried Chia Seeds?

Have you ever tried chia seeds? They are tiny and packed with nutrition, and are becoming quite popular.

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is related to the mint. Chia seeds date back to the Aztec and Mayans times and were found primarily in Mexico; they were prized for their ability to provide sustainable energy and used for medicinal and nutritional benefits. In the 1990s, American scientists took note of this nutritional powerhouse and now chia is grown in Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Bolivia and is now widely available. So, you may want to add this superfood to your healthy food list.

These seeds are filled with fiber, antioxidants, healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and more. You may find chia seeds in your favorite muffins, energy bars, and breakfast cereals.

My favorite bar is Greenwise Chocolate Cherry Flavored Chia Bars. This bar contains low sugar and sodium and contains 11 percent fiber. It is the perfect snack following an exercise class!

Chia seeds contain large amounts of essential fatty acids: 64 percent of omega-3 and 19 percent of omega-6. The omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, which is a healthy factor.

There are different types of chia seeds: black, white, milled, and pre-hydrated. Its best to choose whole, organic ones to protect the omega-3s and vitamins. Also, they have a longer shelf life.

You can add chia seeds to cereals and smoothies. Or, add some to your baked goods to give them a healthy boost.

You can find chia seeds at the grocery store, as well as a health food store and online. Or, if you prefer, shop the aisle of nutritional snacks. You’ll likely find chia bars there.

Hoping you enjoy the mild-nut-like flavor of chia seeds. They are tiny and tasty, and they just may become your favorite, too!

by Jeanne Angleberger, Shaklee Associate for a Healthier Life

Boost Your Health This Summer

Summer is here, and it’s time to have some summer fun and create memories! So, let’s think about some tips that can help boost your health this summer.

Eating a nutritious diet is important. Load up on berries. Blueberries and blackberries are especially rich in antioxidants and fiber. Freshly-picked veggies contain the highest nutrients. Pick the colorful ones.

Create bonding time. Studies have shown that walking in the woods can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, and decrease cancer risk. So, go spend some time “forest-bathing” to improve your health. Enjoy outside activities with the family this summer. These memories will last a lifetime.

Be good to your eyes. Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. Lens should be amber or brown.

Remember to apply sunscreen before planning your outdoor activities. Consult with a dermatologist for a recommendation.

Be sure to brush and floss your teeth every day. Your teeth need to be healthy for chewing the delicious fruit and vegetables.

Stay hydrated. Water is the best beverage for hydration. To maintain proper hydration, drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Be sure to get enough sleep. Our body needs rest to restore and replenish for the next day. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night will make your heart healthier and your overall health better.

A few healthy reminders can go a long way. Be mindful. Treat your body well every day. It just may create a memorable and healthy summer for you and your family!