By Donna L. Hamilton, MD, MS

Holistic wellness means doing things that make you feel good as well as look good.  A nice way to do that during a holiday celebration is by eating healthy and great tasting desserts.    Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have both!  For example, this recipe by ChefMD®  Dr. John LaPuma will nourish your body while satisfying your mind’s desire to have a guilt free, delicious treat. Having a wellness plan that satisfies all wellness needs  is key to developing optimal health.

In addition to tasting great, Dr. LaPuma’s recipes contain at least one ingredient offering health benefits.  This delicious holiday dessert features walnuts. Walnuts have a high level of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.  Research shows omega-3 fatty acids help decrease inflammation, which can have many positive health benefits.    They are also thought to have positive effects on brain function.

Visit for more great tasting and healthy recipes, and ideas for using food as medicine. This site is a great wellness resource.  It’s also a wonderful way to get  ideas for practicing self-care through healthy eating.

Be well!

Ginger Snap Apple Crisp with Sweet Cinnamon and Walnuts

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 223 per serving
Percent from Fat: 39%
Food as MedicineSM Ingredient: Walnut

Food as MedicineSM Tip

Walnuts are considered one of 14 “SuperFoods” because of their high omega-3 content. No other nut even comes close to containing the same amount of omega-3s! Eating a handful of walnuts everyday can improve your heart health and cholesterol level if you have type 2 diabetes.

Culinary Taste Tip

Some apples are better for baking than others. Granny smith and golden delicious are both good choices and are available year round. For a crispy, honey-sweet, and tart flavor, try using the newest apple on the block, the honeycrisp.

Culinary Technique Tip

Want to keep those fresh apple slices from turning brown? Keep them in a bowl of cold water with a little bit of lemon juice.



1/4 cup turbinado cane sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons Benecol or Take Control spread (not light), divided
2 (12 oz.) packages fresh apple wedges, such as Chiquita brand
2/3 cup coarsely crushed gingersnap cookies, such as Trader Joe’s (10 cookies=2/3 cup crushed=2 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 350°F. Combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of the spread in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and stir-fry 2 minutes or until beginning to soften. Stir in half of the sugar mixture and continue to stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar melts and juices from apples form a glaze. Divide mixture among six 6 to 8-ounce custard cups or ramekins. Combine cookies, walnuts, remaining sugar mixture and remaining 2 tablespoons spread, tossing well to distribute the soft spread evenly. Sprinkle mixture over apples. Bake uncovered 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Pecans may replace walnuts if desired.


Place the cookies in a plastic bag and use a meat mallet or bottom of a skillet to coarsely crush them.

Nutritional Analysis

Total fat (g): 10; Fat calories (kc): 89; Cholesterol (mg): 2; Trans fatty acids (g): 0; Saturated fat (g): 1; Polyunsaturated fat (g): 3.5; Monounsaturated fat (g): 3.5; Fiber (g): 4; Carbohydrates (g): 33; Sugar (g): 24; Protein (g): 3 ; Sodium (mg): 78; Calcium (mg): 18

Recipe © 2010, ChefMD®, LLC. All rights reserved.

Recipe reprinted with permission of John LaPuma, MD

Article  © 2010, Donna L. Hamilton, MD


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Donna Hamilton, MD, MS, FAAP

Chief Wellness Officer at Manifest Excellence
Bestselling author, dynamic holistic wellness speaker and wellness luminary Dr. Donna Hamilton, MD, has a mission to help everyone live the healthy, satisfying lives we’re all meant to lead. Dr. Hamilton passionately teaches what being healthy really means and how to do it in a way that fits your unique needs. Her easy, practical tips assist you with assessing the entire wellness landscape and appropriately planning your personal wellness journey.

A wellness thought leader, she champions a comprehensive approach to health by addressing mental, emotional, social, spiritual & physical well-being with a simple and potent message. Her book Wellness Your Way offers a practical strategy to assist readers in creating a happier, healthier life. For more information or to book Dr. Hamilton for speaking engagements visit or
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