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Why Are People Not Eating Apples Anymore?

Why Are People Not Eating Apples Anymore?



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An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but shoppers don’t really seem to care.

When you think of popular fruits at the grocery store, apples probably top your list. Even though apples are healthy, delicious, and available year-round, their sales are down 6.7 percent in the last year—but why?

Turns out, there are a few reasons. First, apples are crazy expensive right now. According to a recent Nielsen sales report, “If a shopper’s variety of choice was the Honeycrisp apple, which is currently the most popular variety in the country and sells for an average of $2.85 per pound, the transaction could suddenly cost the shopper between $7-$8 for their apples.”

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That’s not taking organic apples into account, which are typically about 40 percent higher in cost than traditional apples.

Another potential factor at play, according to the Nielsen data? Apple variety overload. The varieties of apples available at the grocery store—from Gala to Granny Smith to Pink Lady to Fuji—have increased by 11 percent. Though apple options give shoppers more taste profiles to choose from, it can be overwhelming and cause them to opt for other fruits instead.

Creative ways to use apples in your kitchen:

Oddly, the sales of fruits such as berries, cherries, and mandarin oranges are actually growing. Nielsen attributes this to their natural “snack size”. While we’re all about eating fresh fruit, we’re a tad partial to apples for their incredible health benefits. They’re chock-full of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer and in turn help you lose weight. In a 2009 study determining how fruit influences satiety, those who ate an apple before their meal ate 200 fewer calories than those who did not.

Research also suggests that apples may help lower bad levels of cholesterol. Polyphenols, antioxidant compounds found in apples, may help inhibit the oxidation of LDL, otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is what leads to plaque buildup in arteries. Apples, however, are an excellent source of soluble fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

Sounds like there was actually something behind that “apple a day” rhyme. Apple sales may be declining, but we’re still loading up our grocery carts.


The Red Delicious is an apple atrocity. Why are we growing billions of pounds of them each year?

Hillary Bonhomme

Almost everyone agrees: The Red Delicious is a crime against the apple. The fruit makes for a joyless snack, despite the false promise of its name, with a bitter skin that gives way to crumbling, mealy flesh. The Red Delicious is a bit like a Styrofoam prop: It looks picturesque, but really has no business in the mouth. Maybe that’s why the New York Apple Association suggests people use their Red Delicious in holiday wreaths and centerpieces. They sure look nice, but they taste like inanimate objects.

This raises some important questions. Why do we keep growing 2.7 billion pounds of Red Delicious apples every year? And are growers still excited by the Delicious or are they stuck between a declining market and an orchard they can’t afford to tear up?

To understand the modern Red Delicious, it helps to know its roots. In the 1870s, a farmer named Jesse Hiatt discovered a rogue apple tree growing between the rows of his orchard in Peru, Iowa. After trying to chop it down several times, he finally let the tenacious upstart grow to his surprise, it matured into something that bore delicious, crisp, red- and gold-streaked fruit. Hiatt sent his apple to a contest that the Stark Brothers’s nursery held in 1894, searching for the next great apple. When C.M. Stark, the company’s president, bit into Hiatt’s submission, he reacted like a 19th-century Action Bronson: “My, that’s delicious,” he reportedly exclaimed. And that became the name.

Nelson Wu

Stark snatched up rights to the apple immediately, according to the book, Apples Galore! by A.C. Bright, and marketed it with a savvy that ultimately changed the business. Around the turn of the 19th century, the company spent three-quarters of a million dollars promoting the Delicious tree, including sending it as a free gift to customers throughout the United States. Stark’s hope that the apple would prove successful in multiple climates panned out, and before long the nursery was flooded with letters requesting to plant the tree. By 1922, the annual value of the Delicious crop was $12 million.

The next year, a New Jersey grower discovered that one branch of his Delicious tree had not only ripened before the others, but had also turned a deep crimson red. That “sport,” or mutated branch, was purchased for $6,000. Soon, the whole industry of Delicious growers was on the lookout for their own mutation that would produce a prettier, more apple-like apple.

As the Red Delicious continued to evolve, subsequent breeding privileged physical appearance and durability over taste. The famous dimpled, coke-bottle bottom made the apple easy to stack and transport, while the tough skin reduced bruising and helped improve shelf life. By the 1980s, the Red Delicious made up 75 percent of the entire apple crop grown in Washington, the state that produces two-thirds of the country’s apples. But delicious it was not.

“They eventually went too far and ended up with apples the public didn’t want to eat,” Lee Calhoun, an apple historian and orchardist told The Washington Post in 2005.

In 2000, the government approved the largest bailout in apple industry history, spending a total of $138 million or roughly $30,000 per grower, in Washington. But this solved only some of growers’ financial woes since then, the industry has focused more heavily on exports. If Americans won’t eat the Red Delicious anymore, the thinking goes, surely someone else will.

The qualities that cause U.S. eaters to shun the Red Delicious have had a silver lining: The apple’s thick skin, low cost, and good looks make it a perfect export apple. According to Steve Reinholt, export manager for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, the apples store and ship exceptionally well, arriving on distant shores looking unblemished and pristine. Oneonta was the first grower to export Washington apples in the 1930s and today the company ships fruit to over 50 countries. Americans may be turning away from the Red Delicious, but the rest of the world—for now—appears to be willing to pick up our slack.

Flickr / Bernt Rostad

By the 1980s, the Red Delicious made up 75 percent of the entire apple crop grown in Washington, the state that produces two-thirds of the country’s apples—but delicious it was not

“Red Delicious is the gateway apple,” Reinholt says, the apple that hooks countries on American-grown fruit. Today, over half of our Red Delicious crop is exported, leaving roughly 580 million pounds of the apples to be eaten in this country. This global demand has been a boon for orchardists who began production long ago. The Red Delicious may not be making growers rich but it is providing a necessary entrée into countries that want a taste of Washington apples.

Most of our Red Delicious apples wind up in Mexico, India, Indonesia, China, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Many of these markets have unsophisticated supply chains, where product can wait in ports for days, or be left to sit in holding areas without temperature control. Paul McCarthy, assistant manager for Northwest Fruit Exporters, says that it can take 15 to 21 days for an apple to ship from Seattle to China—an arduous journey best undertaken by a hearty, low-maintenance fruit.

At the same time, the cheap price of Red Delicious makes the fruit especially desirable in markets with low average incomes. The variety tends to cost less for several reasons. First, soft domestic demand has tanked price and they tend to be grown on older trees, with the startup costs long since paid off. Also, their production doesn’t include the “club fees” charged to orchards growing newer, proprietary strains like the Honeycrisp, since the Delicious variety was developed almost a century ago.

Still, O’Rourke feels that as incomes rise in those countries, people will likely turn away from the Red Delicious just as we did. In China, for instance, where the color red is associated with luck and prosperity, the apple’s looks have long made the Red Delicious desirable. But that’s already starting to change, according to Public Radio International. Though less than a decade ago many Chinese consumers were still buying with their eyes, more recently taste has become a bigger factor in this market. “Products go in and out of fashion,” O’Rourke says.

Red Delicious represents a full 35 percent of Oneonta’s apple production even though Reinholt says he’s slowly cutting back. “We are reducing our volume of Red Delicious every year,” he says. That’s the tricky thing about being in the apple business: Trees take years to grow and change is often glacial. But consumer appetites can shift almost overnight.

For now, Americans still manage to choke down billions of Red Delicious apples annually. The question is, who’s buying?

We’re choosing them at the supermarket less often, and the Gala now reigns supreme as the nation’s favorite apple, according to the U.S. Apple Association. While the Kroger grocery chain says it still carries Red Delicious, spokesperson Kristal Howard acknowledges that the apples “have declined in popularity with our customers.”

Increasingly, then, the Red Delicious is served in institutions where people have little choice about what they’re eating. It’s the official apple of the captive audience.

“The three most commonly served fruits are apples, oranges, and bananas,” says Carol Chong, national nutrition advisor for Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program. In schools and cafeterias she visits throughout country, “typically it’s Red Delicious apples” being served, she says. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that Red Delicious is the apple of choice in schools, hospitals, hotels, and even food banks throughout the country, though it’s hard to say definitively if that’s true. Not all institutions keep data on how much of each food they get, and none of the data differentiate between types of apples.

At Baldor, the Northeast’s largest produce and specialty food distributor, Red Delicious may be the second most popular apple variety—but American consumers aren’t buying them directly. The bulk of them go to hospitals, “then schools and hotel chains,” says Ben Walker, senior director of marketing and development. “They’re less popular with our retail and food service clients.”

Regular buyers of the Red Delicious tend not to be known for culinary prowess. They are more often places that want a raw ingredient at low cost and high volume.

When Red Delicious growers can’t find customers among the public, in other words, they can often rely on the U.S. government. When even that fails, growers and distributors can always give unsold apples away for free in exchange for tax credits. Myrna Jensen, a marketing and communications associate at the Oregon Food Bank (OFB), which coordinates food deliveries to 21 regional food banks and more than 1,200 food assistance sites within the state, says that the charity gets a lot of produce that way. “We take what the growers want to give us,” she says. Last year, OFB received 50 truckloads of apples—or two million pounds—in donations. The fact that the Delicious still makes up roughly 30 percent of the Washington apple crop means that a lot of those pounds had a dark red skin and a not-so-delicious taste.

“I’ve not really had a great tasting Red Delicious,” Jensen personally concedes. But the food assistance system is often forced to traffic in whatever’s left unsold, and the Red Delicious is frequently the last apple standing.

Reviled, rejected, and refused across the country, the Red Delicious has found its purpose as the apple people eat when they can’t choose or afford anything else. It might not be a glamorous position but it’s an important one nonetheless. Unlike a lot of fresh produce, these apples have a months-long shelf life and can be a healthful food in places where grocery shelves have few other fresh foods to choose from.

You might not like the taste, but the fruit’s durability, high volume, and low price tend to be too powerful to ignore. And don’t forget to keep the Red Delicious in mind next time you need an apple for your holiday wreath.


Jonathan Jarrell, 42

Location: Atlanta

Occupation: Attorney

Experiencing primarily: loss of smell/taste

For how long: 4 months

MORNING: I didn’t have much of a breakfast other than coffee with oat milk. I got a sense of the depth of coffee, but not the flavor. I got a handheld milk frother for Christmas, and I’ve been using that to enhance the airiness in the oat milk, so I can get a sense of creaminess as opposed to straight black coffee.

AFTERNOON: For lunch, I had a homemade sandwich: turkey, roast beef, and gouda on rye. I had more mustard than usual on there, so I got some of that horseradish tang. With the gouda, I was hoping to be able to get some of the smokiness. Unfortunately, I guess it was too subtle, so that ended up being more of a “just eat it to get the nutrients.” I haven’t noticed a suppressed appetite, so unfortunately that has not been a silver lining of this, but I’m being mindful to keep up with the nutrient intake.

Later I had a honeycrisp apple. I could get a bit of the sweet-sourness out of that, together with the crunch. And then I had a bag of cheddar Sun Chips absolutely no flavor, but the crunch was satisfying. I’m paying attention more to textures than I did before because — aside from the nutrition, or outside of going for something super spicy to feel the physical sensation of the burn — it’s the only way to derive any sort of interaction or enjoyment with food.

I typically drink water throughout the day. I have been drinking more sparkling water just to get some effervescence from the bubbles.

DINNER: I had homemade three-bean chili that I loaded with crushed red pepper and hot sauce so that I could get some burn. I also threw in cheese to melt to get some creaminess. The texture was nice because some of the beans were more al dente, and together with the meat — which was softer in texture — it provided a nice contrast. I also had a green salad. I have found myself adding salt to my salad these days. That’s one of the things that I can derive some pleasure from, if something’s really salty.

After dinner I had a chocolate chip cookie. I stuck it in the microwave to get some kind of meltiness. I got the sense of sweetness, but not the flavor from behind the sweetness. But with the gooeyness from warming it up, it was nice texturally. And then I had some almonds. One of my go-tos has been smoked almonds. They’re salty and smoky, which I can get a sense of, as well as crunchy.

Photo-illustration: Eater photo from Westend61/Getty.


Why we shouldn't eat frogs' legs

I n the cavernous community hall of the Vosges spa town of Vittel, a large and lugubrious man, his small, surprisingly chirpy wife, and 450 other people are sitting down to their evening meal. It's rather noisy. "Dunno why we do it, really," shouts the man, whose name is Jacky. "Don't taste of anything, do they? White. Insipid. If it wasn't for the sauce it'd be like eating some soft sort of rubber. Just the kind of food an Englishman should like, in fact. Hah."

Outside, the streets are filled with revellers. A funfair is going full swing. The restaurants along the high street are full, and queues have formed before the stands run by the local football, tennis, basketball, rugby and youth clubs.

All offer the same thing: cuisses de grenouilles à la provencale (with garlic and parsley), cuisses de grenouille à la poulette (egg and cream). Seven euros, or thereabouts, for a paper plateful, with fries. Nine with a beer or a glass of not-very-chilled riesling. The more daring are offering cuisses de grenouilles à la vosgienne, à l'andalouse, à l'ailloli. There's pizza grenouille, quiche grenouille, tourte grenouille. Omelette de grenouilles aux fines herbes. Souffle, cassolette and gratin de grenouilles.

Everywhere you look, people are nibbling greasily on a grenouille, licking their fingers, spitting out little bones. "Isn't it just great?" yells Jacky's diminutive wife, Frederique. "Every year we do this. It's our tradition. Our tribute to the noble frog."

This is Vittel's 37th annual Foire aux Grenouilles. According to Roland Boeuf, the 70-year-old president of the Confrererie de Taste-Cuisses de Grenouilles de Vittel, or (roughly) the Vittel Brotherhood of Frog Thigh Tasters, which has organised the event since its inception, the fair regularly draws upwards of 20,000 gourmet frog aficionados to the town for two days of amphibian-inspired jollities. Between them, they consume anything up to seven tonnes of frogs' legs.

But there's a problem. When the fair began, its founder René Clément, resistance hero, restaurateur and last of the great Lorraine frog ranchers, could supply all the necessary amphibians from his lakes 20 miles or so away. Nowadays, none of the frogs are even French.

According to Boeuf, Clément, whose real name was Hofstetter, moved to the area in the early 1950s looking to raise langoustines in the Saone river the water proved too brackish and he turned to frogs instead. A true Frenchman, his catchphrase, oft-quoted around these parts, was that frogs "are like women. The legs are the best bits".

Hofstetter/Clément would, says Gisèle Robinet, "provide 150kg, 200kg for every fair, all from his lakes and all caught by him". With her husband Patrick, Robinet runs the Au Pêché Mignon patisserie (tourte aux grenouilles for six, €18 chocolate frogs €13 the dozen) on the Place de Gaulle, across the square from the restaurant Clément used to run, Le Grand Cerf. Now known as Le Galoubet, there's a plaque commemorating the great frogman outside. "As a child I remember clearly him dismembering and preparing and cleaning his frogs in front of the restaurant," says Robinet, who sells frog tartlets to gourmet Vitellois throughout the year, but makes a special effort with quiches and croustillants at fair-time. "It's a big job, you know. Very fiddly. But we were all frog-catchers when I was a kid. Now, of course, that's not possible any more."

Boeuf recalls many a profitable frog-hunting expedition in the streams and ponds around Vittel. "One sort, la savatte, you could catch with your bare hands," he says. "Best time was in spring, when they lay their eggs. They'd gather in their thousands, great wriggling green balls of them. I've seen whole streams completely blocked by a mountain of frogs."

Others, rainettes, would be everywhere at harvest time. Or you could get a square of red fabric and lay it carefully on the water next to a lily pad that happened to have a frog on it, "and she'd just hop straight off and on to the cloth", Boeuf says. "They love red."

Pierette Gillet, the longest-standing member of the Brotherhood and, at 81, still a sprightly and committed frog-fancier, remembers heading out at night with a torch in search of so-called mute frogs, harder to catch because they have no larynx and hence emit no croak. "They'd be blinded by the light, and you could whack them over the head," she says.

But those days are long gone. As elsewhere in the world, the amphibians' habitat in France – where frogs' legs have been a recognised and much remarked-upon part of the national diet for the best part of 1,000 years – is increasingly at risk, from pollution, pesticides and other man-made ills. Ponds have been drained and replaced with crops and cattle-troughs. Diseases have taken their toll, and the insects that frogs feed on are disappearing too. Alarmed by a rapid and dramatic fall in frog numbers, the French ministry of agriculture and fisheries began taking measures to protect the country's species in 1976 by 1980, commercial frog harvesting was banned.

These days, a few regional authorities in France still allow the capture of limited numbers of frogs, strictly for personal consumption and provided they are broiled, fried or barbecued and consumed on the spot (a heresy not even Boeuf is prepared to contemplate). There are poachers who defy the ban two years ago a court in Vesoul in the Haute-Saone convicted four men of harvesting vast numbers of frogs from the Mille-Etangs or Thousand Lakes area of the Vosges. The ringleader admitted to personally catching at least 10,000, which he sold to restaurants for 32 cents apiece.

By and large, though, France's tough protection laws, enforceable by fines of up to €10,000 (£8,500) and instant confiscation of vehicles and equipment, seem to be working. As a result, all seven tonnes (officially, at least) of frogs' legs consumed at this year's Vittel fair have been imported, pre-prepared, deep-frozen and packed in cardboard boxes, from Indonesia.

Needless to say, this does not much please patriotic Gallic frog-fanciers. "We'd far prefer our frogs to be French, of course we would," laments Gillet. "Especially here in the Vosges. This really is the heart of frog country."

A Vittel restaurateur, who for obvious reasons demands anonymity, suggests there are still "ways and means" of securing at least a semi-reliable supply of French frogs for those who demand a true produit du terroir, "but it's really not very easy, and no one here will tell you anything about it. We'd like to source locally, but the law is the law."

But the fact that the Foire aux Grenouilles – not to mention the rest of France, and other big frog-consuming nations such as Belgium and the United States – now imports almost all its frogs' legs has consequences that run deeper than a mere denting of national gastronomic pride. For scientists now believe that, just as with many fish species, we could be well on the way to eating the world's frogs to extinction. Based on an analysis of UN trade data, researchers think we may now be consuming as many as 1bn wild frogs every year. For already weakened frog populations, that is very bad news indeed.

Scientists have long been aware that while human activity is causing a steady loss of the world's biodeversity, amphibians seem to be suffering far more severely than any other animal group. It is thought their two-stage lifecycle, aquatic and terrestrial, makes them twice as vulnerable to environmental and climate change, and their permeable skins may be more susceptible to toxins than other animals. In recent years, a devastating fungal condition, chytridiomycosis, has caused catastrophic population declines in Australia and the Americas.

"Amphibians are the most threatened animal group about one third of all amphibian species are now listed as threatened, against 23% of mammals and 12% of birds," says Corey Bradshaw, an associate professor at the Environment Institute of the University of Adelaide and a member of the team that carried out the research into human frog consumption that was published earlier this year in the journal Conservation Biology. "The principle drivers of extinction, we always assumed, were habitat loss and disease. Human harvesting, we thought, was minor. Then we started digging, and we realised there's this massive global trade that no one really knows much about. It's staggering. So as well as destroying where they live, we're now eating them to death."

France is the main culprit: according to government figures, while the French still consume 70 tonnes a year of domestically gathered legs each year, they have been shipping in as many as 4,000 tonnes annually since 1995. Besides popular, essentially local events such as the Foire aux Grenouilles, frogs' legs are mostly a delicacy reserved for restaurants with gastronomic pretensions one three-star chef, Georges Blanc, has at one time or another developed 19 different recipes for them at his celebrated restaurant in the Ain village of Vonnas, baking and skewering and skilleting them in everything from cream to apples.

Barack Obama eating frogs' legs. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Belgium and Luxembourg are also noted connoisseurs, but perhaps surprisingly, the country that runs France closest in the frog import stakes is the US. Frogs' legs are particularly popular in the former French colony of Louisiana, where the city of Rayne likes to call itself Frog Capital of the World, but are also consumed with relish in Arkansas and Texas, where they are mostly served breaded and deep-fried. Bradshaw has a picture on his blog of President Barack Obama tucking with apparent gusto into a plate of frogs' legs.

The world's most avid frog eaters, though, are almost certainly in Asia, in countries such as Indonesia, China, Thailand and Vietnam. South America, too, is a big market. "People may think frogs' legs are some kind of epicurean delicacy consumed by a handful of French gourmets, but in many developing countries they are a staple," Bradshaw says.

Indonesia is today the world's largest exporter of frogs by far, shipping more than 5,000 tonnes each year. Some of these may be farmed, but not many. Commercial frog-farming has been tried in both the US and Europe, but with little success: for a raft of reasons, including the ease with which frogs can fall prey to disease, feeding issues and basic frog biology, it is a notoriously risky and uneconomic business. Frogs are farmed in Asia, but rarely on an industrial scale most are small, artisan affairs with which rural families try to supplement their income.

The vast majority of frogs that end up on a plate are harvested from the wild. Bradshaw and his colleagues estimate that Indonesia, to take just one exporting country, is probably consuming between two and seven times as many frogs as it sends abroad. "We have the legally recorded, international trade figures, but none of the local business is recorded," Bradshaw says. "It's back-of-an-envelope work. That's what's so alarming."

The scientists' biggest concern, he says, is that because of the almost complete lack of data, no one knows in what proportion different frog species are being taken. If, as they suspect, some 15 or 20 frog species are at any given moment supplying most of world demand, the consequences could be catastrophic. For while overharvesting for human consumption may not in itself be quite enough to drive a frog species to extinction, combined with all the other threats frogs face it certainly could be.

"The thing is, it isn't a gradual process," Bradshaw warns. "There's a threshold, you cross it, and the whole thing crashes because you've just completely changed the composition of the whole community. There's a tipping point. It's exactly what happened with the overexploitation of cod in the North Atlantic. And with frogs, there's no data, no tracking, no stock management. We really should have learned our lesson with fish, but it seems we haven't. This is a wake-up call."

Back in Vittel, Boeuf says he had no idea frogs were in such trouble. "They're an endangered species here, I know," he says. "That's why we have to be careful, and we are. But if we can buy them in such quantities from Indonesia, surely it must be all right. They're being careful there too, aren't they?" Sadly, it would seem they are not. And all for a few greasy scraps of limp, bland flesh.

People say frogs taste like a cross between fish and chicken. In fact, they taste of frog: in other words, precious little bar the sauce they are served in.


Why You Should Never Peel An Apple

Part of what makes an apple the ultimate healthy snack is the ease with which you can wolf one down. The only thing between you and digging in is basically a careful wash.

But a picky eater or two have certainly been known to require a little more fussing before the first bite of an apple, namely removing the skin.

Whatever the excuse -- maybe you don't like the texture or the taste -- you're plain and simple not getting all an apple has to offer by peeling it first. Here are some very powerful reasons to never remove the skin again.

The skin packs most of the fiber.

A medium apple with the skin contains 4.4 grams of fiber. Without the skin, you're only getting 2.1 grams, not even enough to qualify it as a "good source of fiber" (the cutoff is 3 grams).

The skin also packs most of the vitamins.
That same medium apple with skin packs 8.4 milligrams of vitamin C and 98 international units (IU) of vitamin A. Ditch the skin and that falls to 6.4 milligrams of vitamin C and 61 IU of vitamin A.

Apples can ease breathing problems -- but only if you eat the skin.

The compound responsible is called quercetin, and -- you guessed it -- it's found mostly in the peel. One study found that people who eat five or more apples each week have better lung function thanks to quercetin's effects, Health.com reported.

Quercetin also protects your memory.
The antioxidant seems to fight off tissue damage in the brain linked to Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative problems -- at least in rats, according to a 2004 study.

The skin may also keep cancer at bay.

A 2007 study from Cornell University pinpointed a handful of compounds called triterpenoids in the skin of apples "that either inhibit or kill cancer cells in laboratory cultures". In particular, these compounds targeted human liver, colon and breast cancer cells, according to the study's author.

A skin-on apple a day keeps spare pounds away.
The peel is also home to ursolic acid, an important compound in the obesity-fighting ability of apples. Ursolic acid seems to increase muscle and brown fat, which in turn up calorie burn, thereby lowering obesity risk, at least in mice, according to a 2012 study.


More About Apples

Even though some apples are better suited for certain kinds of recipes than others, you don&apost have to limit yourself to using just one kind of apple when you&aposre cooking or baking. Many cooks like to use a mixture of apples to get more complex flavors and textures.

If you&aposre buying apples during autumn&aposs apple season at farmers&apos markets and specialty grocers, you have a better chance of finding regional and heirloom varieties. Be sure to ask the grower how they work in recipes.


Rice: Arsenic

Rice (especially rice grown in Texas) contains arsenic, a toxin that can cause bad things like vomiting, abdominal pain, and vertigo when consumed in large quantities. The highest levels are found in brown rice, the lowest in instant rice. Despite the toxin's presence, it would be incredibly difficult to poison yourself by eating too much rice in one day. That's not to say nothing bad will happen consistent exposure to even low doses of arsenic over time can lead to heart disease and bladder cancer. According to the FDA, there is anywhere from 2.6 to 7.2 micrograms of inorganic (vs. organic, which is much easier for your body to metabolize) arsenic in one serving of rice. Given that it would take about 50 grams of arsenic to kill the average 150-pound adult, youɽ have to eat nearly 7 million servings of rice—in one sitting—to achieve death by rice. If we assume that one serving is about 1/4 cup, that's almost 1,800 cups of rice! (Credit: visualpanic / Flickr)


Sugar & Carbs are Highly Palatable Foods

You’ll note that the thing all of these foods have in common is sugar & carbs. Foods rich in sugar & carbs are the thing that I desire when given the remote possibility of an opportunity. They’re highly palatable foods. They’re addictive to a sub-section of our population, especially to those of us who have at any points in our lives been metabolically broken or obese.

Those of us who were metabolically broken and obese have compromised gut and digestion. I’m going out on a limb by making that blanket statement, but I’ve yet to meet a single person who defies that definition. I’m sure there are exceptions, and there’s plenty of “healthy” individuals with bad guts. If that’s you, then this also applies to you – so listen up!

What happens to someone who’s formerly been addicted to palatable foods is that the reintroduction of it, in most any capacity (even fruit) can trigger an emotional and chemical response in your brain that makes you want to add it back into your diet. Looking back, we were even serving starchy and dense veggies at almost every meal – it was carbohydrate city in our home for the month of December! Ultimately, these special occasions with special treats become less special and ultimately one find themselves without any pants that fit and a constant craving for more sweets and carbohydrates.


Beef stew

Who doesn't love a big, comforting bowl of beef stew? There was just something about this particular dish from Cracker Barrel that made you feel good about the world. Until, that is, they decided to discontinue it in 2013 — that fall, the world got a little bit darker for Cracker Barrel patrons.

"I just flew from CA to FL, straight to Cracker Barrel from the airport, to find out you discontinued my beef stew! DISAPPOINTED!!" tweeted one distraught diner. Mourned another, "Okay, so I just found out that @CrackerBarrel got rid of their beef stew and I am so upset. I loved it so much!! ☹" And if you're thinking time may dull the sting of not being able to chow down on this hearty dish anymore, you'd be sorely mistaken. Fans were still taking to social media as recently as 2018 to express their sorrow over losing such a culinary treasure.


This shelf-stable dressing disappeared from TJ's shelves during the pandemic, and fans aren't happy. If you're missing it, you can buy a bottle on Amazon, albeit at a heavily inflated price point.

And if you'd rather make homemade salad dressing at home, try one of these 10 Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes to Make.