Apple Crumble (Fat-Free)


3 medium apples, not peeled, 1/4 slice (I used Gala)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

1/3 cup Grape Nuts cereal
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon plus dash nutmeg
1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 drop vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Make thickener: Whisk together apple juice and cornstarch. Set aside.
3. Make filling: In a bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and half of the thickener. Place apples in a glass baking dish.
4. Make topping: Mix Grape Nuts, oats, cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix honey, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla. Blend with oat mixture. Spread over apples.
5. Pour remainder of thickener over apples and topping.
6. Cover and bake for 50 minutes or until apples are tender, maybe up to an hour. You can remove cover during the last 5 or 10 minutes for a browner, drier topping.

This is adapted from McDougall’s recipe for Apple Crisp. I left the skins on the apples; that’s where the nutrition and flavor are! I omitted the raisins and changed the sweeteners a bit. It’s not exactly fat-free because there’s a little naturally-occurring fat in oats and Grape Nuts. It’s not vegan because of the honey but you can substitute maple syrup.

Here’s a photo of the cover on my dish. The dish is about 6.5″ square. If you don’t have a cover, use parchment paper topped with aluminum foil.

Apple Cinnamon Granola (Fat-Free)

Granola fresh out the oven cooling on parchment paper.


  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, “extra thick” if you have them
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cooked apple. Use these instructions. Or use about 3/4 cup applesauce.
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Mix oats, salt, cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Preheat oven to 240 degrees F convection. If not using convection, preheat to 300.
  4. Cook apple, if using. Use these instructions: Spiced Apple In 5 Minutes, omitting any salt and spices.
  5. Heat cooked apple (or apple sauce), maple syrup, honey, and vanilla gently for one minute.
  6. Combine apple mixture and oats in a large bowl. Mix until all oats are moist.
  7. Spread evenly and thinly on a lined cookie sheet.
  8. Cook for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden brown.


  • I created this recipe in an effort to use up a bag of extra thick oats. They actually work better for granola than regular old fashioned oats. Bob’s Red Mill makes them.
  • You can add more salt, spices (e.g. nutmeg, ginger, cloves), sweeteners, nuts, raisins, etc. This is just basic recipe. (Raisins should get mixed in after the granola cools because they burn.)
  • Using convection bake instead of regular bake allows you to use a lower temperature which helps the granola get dry and crispy before it gets brown, a benefit when you’re not using oil. The movement of air aids crispness too. Fine Cooking has a great little video that explains how a convection oven works. I’ve added a link below.
  • You’ll regret not using parchment paper. I did!
  • I store it in a brown paper bag at room temperature to keep it crispy.

How a convection oven works (click the picture and it will take you to the video):

Let Me Ask You A Question About ConsumerLab

Photo not related to Consumerlab.

ConsumerLab is a private company that has supplements tested and generates reports for a fee. Here’s my question: If you knew that ConsumerLab was getting paid by the industry they claim to police, would it change your belief in their reports?

ConsumerLab uses the word “independent” throughout their website. But they take money from supplement manufacturers for “a proprietary certification program, licensing fees, contents re-publication license fees and advertising.” Results of proprietary tests are owned by the supplement company. What if ConsumerLab included a brand in their testing lineup that performed poorly? Would they strike it from their report if the company paid them many thousands over the years for proprietary testing? I don’t know. But it strikes me as a conflict of interest.

It strikes Marc Ullman the same way. In an open letter to ConsumerLab founder and president, Tod Cooperman, Ullman said:

Your failure to let the consumers that you claim to be so interested in protecting know that the companies you are endorsing pay at least part of your salary seems to be, at best, a grave oversight.

In a follow-up letter, Ullman itemized his concerns to Cooperman:

In particular, I felt a need to raise issues relating to your apparent practice of taking money from members of the industry that purports to police; your endorsement of a product line manufactured by a company that seems to have paid a significant amount of money over the years; the number of labs contracts with since it is not a “lab” itself; whether audits the numerous labs it pays to conduct its testing and; yet another of your seemingly endless series of negative comments about the supplement industry.

Marc Ullman is a partner in the Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman law firm. Its clients include supplement manufacturers. Still, he has a point.

ConsumerLab is not a lab. They send supplements to third-party labs. Are these labs independent? What’s their track record? We, as consumers, don’t know. Also … Why wouldn’t a supplement company go to a lab directly? Why pay ConsumerLab? Is it to ensure a positive review? Or a convenient omission?

So, ConsumerLab is not a lab, and does not exist purely for the consumer. They take money from both consumers and industry. How can they be objective? If it is true that, “ reports that its main revenue comes from sales of online subscriptions,” why not stop taking industry money? Disavow your relationship with the supplement industry and sell yourself as impartial.

They seem to be, primarily, a money-making middleman.

This is why private companies should not be taking the lead on supplement testing. The FDA should, but they’re not, and they never will, because there’s too much money to be made selling grass clippings. (That does not mean I don’t think supplements are helpful, it means I think they should be evaluated, independently, by reputable entities.)

Thank you, Virginia, for the heads-up.

Roasted Potatoes And Carrots (Fat-Free)

This tastes like beef stew without the beef. Well, maybe you have to be meat-free a while to think that.

Ingredients (serves 2 as a side dish):

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, 1/4 inch sliced
2 carrots, peeled, cut into chunks
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweet onion, cut into chunks
1 stalk celery, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, peeled or not but remember not to eat the skin

1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon tamari
Spices (parsley, sage, thyme, paprika, oregano)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place potatoes in a layer on the bottom of a small glass casserole dish or dutch oven. Top with carrots, onions, celery, garlic. Mix tamari, spices, and water together and pour over vegetables. Cover (parchment and aluminum foil or a cover for your dish if you have it). Bake for 2 hours. Check midway to make sure liquid has not evaporated away (add more water if needed) and to gently toss vegetables into the broth.

I adapted this from a McDougall’s recipe of the same name. She uses a prepared vegetable broth instead of water but I don’t like the ingredients in those. So I added diced celery to make up for it (like a mirepoix). She uses poultry seasoning which I also used. I like the aroma. I don’t pre-cook my garlic. The biggest difference is that I bake it for two hours instead of one. The vegetables are softer but still intact as you can see. And they’ve absorbed more of the flavor of the broth.

Supplements Are Contaminated

Back in 2010 I wrote about a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that said nearly all of the supplements it tested contained contaminants … pesticides, lead, and other heavy metals. It wasn’t minor: “16 of the 40 supplements tested contained pesticide residues that appeared to exceed legal limits.”

Employees of the GAO also went undercover posing as consumers. Here are some clips of their conversations with sales staff:

The supplement industry is a mess. The problem is that they’re not regulated. I know some people are happy about that because they’re concerned they might not be able to get their hands on them. Or that regulation will increase their cost. Both of those things are probably true, to an extent. But I would rather see them regulated if it meant more assurance that what’s on the label is in the bottle. Right now, you don’t know. There’s no guarantee that stated potency is accurate. Or that there’s no contamination. Most fish oil pills contain mercury, some at dangerously high levels. Many herbs contain pesticides and heavy metals.

Another problem is that vitamin and mineral supplements often contain (or say they contain) more than the RDA, which I think is a bad idea. The RDA/DRI already includes a margin of safety. And too much of a vitamin can be a problem. Recall that too much vitamin C lowered endurance and mitochondria production in men who were training. I’ve written about others. Really, you don’t want to go over the RDA. But supplement makers capitalize on consumers’ erroneous belief that more is better.

Here’s a hopeful sign … I was looking at a brand called Garden of Life. They test their supplements. Then they divulge results:

Of course, testing comes at a price. A 2-month supply of their men’s multi retails for $84.

“I’ve Come To Set So You Can Sight Me”

Andrew Wyeth, from Andrew Wyeth: Close Friends:

While I was recovering from lung surgery, Adam came over to see me on his tractor – the only vehicle he owned. “I didn’t send you any flowers, so I’ve come to set so you can sight me.” This is the drawing I did.

“Adam Johnson” 1951

I couldn’t find a decent picture of this online so I took a photo of a page in my book. Well, not my book, the library’s book.

Elevated Carbon Dioxide Reduces Mineral Content In Plants

Around three billion people worldwide depend on rice for their diet. But rice, wheat, and other crops grown under high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have lower levels of zinc, iron, and other nutrients. Source: Smithsonian

You know the saying, “desperate times call for desperate measures”? The times may not be desperate yet, not for well-fed people living in rich countries like the US, but the times do demand action. Because the climate is changing our food:

Hidden Shift Of The Ionome Of Plants Exposed To Elevated CO2 Depletes Minerals At The Base Of Human Nutrition

The study says that elevated carbon dioxide (eCO2) is reducing mineral concentrations in plants. It also decreases protein concentrations while increasing relative starch content.

Elevated CO2 levels were found to reduce the overall concentration of 25 important minerals — including calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron — in plants by 8% on average. Furthermore, Loladze found that an increased exposure to CO2 also increased the ratio of carbohydrates to minerals in these plants.

This reduction in the nutritional value of plants could have profound impacts on human health: a diet that is deficient in minerals and other nutrients can cause malnutrition, even if a person consumes enough calories.

Low mineral content eventually affects everyone’s food because, as much as locavores like to brag about their food being close and special, most people eat food grown halfway around the world. We have a global economy that includes agricultural commodities. Also, atmospheric carbon dioxide does not discriminate. Your plants, my plants, everyone’s plants will be exposed to it.

So, not desperate measure, but measures nonetheless … like fortification and supplementation, as much as I don’t like to consider that. For one … it’s an extra cost and the minerals don’t come packaged in their natural matrix which assists digestion, absorption, etc. And two … just as with food, access is affected by social inequality:

The case of iodine is illustrative: although iodized table salt nearly wiped out iodine deficiency in the industrialized world, a billion people still have no regular access to it, making iodine deficiency the leading cause of preventable brain damage, cretinism, and lower IQ in children.

Do you take a multivitamin/mineral supplement?

Thanks to Shaun.