19+ Healthy Ways to Cook With Fall Apples

Fresh fall apples from the farm!
It's apple picking season!

A few weeks ago I plucked some plump, red fruit from the apple trees on my mom's farm. In addition to eating them as snacks, I've been trying to figure out what to do with all these apples!

Of course the usual fall favorites came to mind: apple pie, apple crisp, apple muffins.

Although those classics are super tasty, they're not the healthiest ways to use this seasonal whole food.

So, I made a big batch of applesauce lightly seasoned with honey and cinnamon -- and it's fantastic! To be honest, I also made one small pan of apple crisp. But, the rest of those apples will be gracing some of these amazing apple recipes I've collected on Pinterest:

Healthy Apple Recipes for Fall

Do you have a favorite fall apple recipe I should add to my Pinterest board above? Tell me the URL in the comments below and I'll check it out!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

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Is Pumpkin Safe for Dogs?

As the weather cools, pumpkin pies and gardens full of ripening pumpkins often peak the curiosity of the family pet. So, is it safe for dogs to eat a little of the whole foods fall treat?
Photo credit: Flickr

Well, yes and no.

Pumpkin--plain, unflavored canned or fresh--is not toxic to dogs, but some sweetened pumpkin products (pie, muffins, dessert bars) can cause a disruption in the pet's digestion system or serious illness.

A Small Taste of Pie

Many pet owners don't blink an eye at giving the family pet the last bite of a meal. When friends and family gather for a holiday meal, it's likely someone will slip the family pet a few bites of turkey, mashed potatoes and even some pumpkin pie.

According to veterinary toxicologist Dr. Eric Dunayer, a bite or two of homemade pumpkin pie will not harm the dog. However, too much of the dessert can cause diarrhea, an upset stomach or even pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition of the pancreas.

If the pumpkin pie was commercially prepared and sold as "sugar-free", check the ingredient label for the presence of the artificial sweetener xylitol. This sugar substitute is toxic to pets and can cause seizures, liver failure and a sudden drop in blood sugar levels.

Call your veterinarian's office immediately if the pet has eaten any product containing xylitol.

The Dog Ate My Jack-o-Lantern!

If the family pet has a penchant for grazing in the family garden or playing with a carved pumpkin, there's no need to worry.

David McCluggage, D.V.M., C.V.A. from the Chaparral Animal Health Center in Longmont, Colo. recommends feeding dogs fresh foods, including pumpkin. When introduced into the pet's diet gradually, the squash becomes a healthy addition to the dog's meals.

But, if the holiday decoration was painted, embellished with toxic permanent markers or contains a candle, it should be taken away from the pet immediately.

Pumpkin Cures Dog Ailments

Actually, your veterinarian may recommend pumpkin as an all-natural cure for diarrhea. The fibrous vegetable helps restore the balance of moisture in the dog's intestines, making his bowel movements more regular, according to VetInfo.

Pets that turn around and consume their own feces--a condition known as coprophagia--may also benefit from pumpkin. The Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW) recommends adding plain canned pumpkin (2 to 4 tablespoons) to the pet's daily diet to add an unpleasant aroma to the animal's feces--in hopes of deterring coprophagia.

Additional Information about pet care:
Sharon Kopinak, D.V.M., "Natural Diet and Natural Medicine for Pets", Consumer Health Organization of Canada

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Note: This article was originally published on Yahoo! Voices on September 14, 2010 by myself, Angela Tague.

Carbohydrates: Diet Fuel

Today's post was written by guest blogger, Catherine Daniels. She gives us some great insight on the importance of carbohydrates for our bodies. After all, carbs aren't evil. In fact, we need them to stay healthy. Read on!


Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the human body. 
Photo credit: Morguefile

They burn much faster than fat because they produce ATPs (adenosine triphosphate) which is the main source of energy for muscle contraction.

Digestible carbohydrates are classified as simple or complex, and are found in grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Plants store starch as a food reserve making seeds and cereals as well as peas and potatoes rich sources of starch.
Daily Intake of Carbohydrates
As long as you have enough carbohydrates, proteins will be spared for creation of energy which is their main function. One gram of carbohydrates releases 4 kcal so that means that our nervous system needs around 60g of carbohydrates each day.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy and they provide fuel for normal functioning of our body. The ideal proportion of carbohydrates compared to the rest of the nutrients is 50-50. This is approximately 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of the overall body weight. Of course, this depends on your energy level, activities and goals. If you are trying to pack on some weight you should increase this optimal rate. 

The Importance of Fruits
Fruits are the perfect carbohydrate because they digest slowly. They satisfy a sweet tooth and do not lead to a spike in insulin because fruit contains powerful phytochemicals.

Watermelon is an excellent source of lycopene and antioxidants that help prevent heart diseases, defend the body from cancer and stimulate muscle recovery. 

Strawberries contain a larger amount of antioxidants and vitamin C than oranges and they are good for bones and joints.

Mango is a rich source of vitamin C and carotenoids. 

Pineapple contains enzymes that can help improve the health of our joints.

Based on the content of carbohydrates, fresh fruits should be divided into three groups:

  1. Those with less carbohydrates which you can consume in large quantities: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cornelian cherries, melons, berries, citrus, rowan, medlar, oranges and tangerines.
  1. Those with more carbohydrates which should be consumed in small quantities: apricots, peach, plum, apple sauce, orange juice, tangerine juice, apricots, peaches.
  1. Those with the most carbohydrates which should be consumed occasionally: apples, cherries, pears, grapes, bananas, fresh figs, pineapples, mangoes and avocados.
So, eat fruit more often. Enjoy fruit raw to get the most nutrition out of them. 

Catherine Daniels is a freelance writer and fitness enthusiast who promotes fruit-enriched diets and healthy living.

Banana Bread Smoothie Recipe

It's no secret I love to start my day with a healthy, decadent-flavored smoothie.
Photo credit: Morguefile

I often sip on a Chocolate-Covered Banana Smoothie or Raspberry-Banana Smoothie.

Hey, who says breakfast can't be good for me and delicious?

Today I came up with an oh so tasty treat! Fall is in the air and I've been wanting to make up a loaf of banana bread. Or, maybe pumpkin bread. Anyway, since I haven't had time yet, I adapted the flavor into a smoothie. Enjoy!

Banana Bread Smoothie 

1 serving (approx. 300 calories)
  • 1 cup soy milk (I used 8th Continent Soy Milk, Original)
  • 1 large banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dry quick oats
1. Place the milk, banana and honey in the blender.
2. Top with the oats and cinnamon.
3. Combine until creamy, pour and enjoy!

*Note: If you are using a small, single-serve blender, invert the layering of the ingredients, so the oats aren't the first ingredient to touch the blender blades.

Do you have a favorite morning go-to smoothie recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

PS: You can find me on Facebook and Twitter for more delicious ideas!

The Easiest Way to Preserve Whole Tomatoes

Photo Credit: morgueFile
You just never know what you're going to learn in yoga class.

Last week I shared some of the garden bounty with a few gals and one told me her favorite way to preserve tomatoes is freezing them whole.

That seems so much simpler than canning tomatoes or making several batches of pasta sauce and chili to freeze for the winter.

So, I gave it a test run.

She said to pick, wash, bag and freeze the tomatoes whole. When you want to cook with them, run the frozen fruits under warm water to loosen the skin. Then, peel the tomatoes, chop and cook.

She likes to use them in everything from soup to sauces. And, she's right! It was super easy and my latest batch of chili turned out fabulous made with the frozen tomatoes. I was worried about a grainy texture, but the tomatoes were perfect.

So, what's your favorite way to preserve tomatoes?

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living