There is a huge array of great, fresh foods you can enjoy at this time of year. Fresh fruits and vegetables are chock full of nutrients your course, daily salad is always a favorite. Don’t forget to put lots of different kinds of garden vegetables into that salad, not just lettuce. Add some fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs, cucumber, or radishes. To make it even more interesting, how about some pinenuts, walnuts, or pecans–any nut or seed will do. When I used to live in Malibu, we had an incredible organic garden. Oh, how I miss it! We had an amazing supply of tomatoes, so I created the perfect Greek Salad that had those juicy, sweet tomatoes in it and cucumber, red onions, and kalamata olives. I topped it off with walnuts for an extra crunch and add an olive oil and balsamic dressing. Sometimes I would add some chicken–voila–what a meal!
More Family Time Doesn’t Mean Overeating
Let’s face it, summer is usually a very social time. In many parts of the country, it’s time to come out of hibernation. You pull out the barbeque and you are in heaven. You may decide to spend all summer long grilling. Make the family gathering not just about the food but about making connections with others. It’s mostly about enjoying each other’s company anyway, isn’t it? While on vacation, in regards to your food choices, do the best you can when you are traveling. Just because its summer doesn’t mean your healthy diet has to be thrown out the window.
Visiting Farmer’s Markets
Visit your local farmer’s market where you will find every kind of vegetable you can imagine. If you feel industrious, start or expand your garden. Expanding gardens was always a favorite of my mother’s. Each year her garden would take up more and more of our back yard. She just loved growing things and always had such a green thumb. She still does. Growing vegetables and herbs of your own may be just the perfect thing for you this year. Add some vegetables to every meal and you will be getting even more antioxidant and phytonutrient “oomph” throughout your day.
Remember to Relax
I know I sometimes sound like a broken record about this; however, it’s true. Truly relaxing and having downtime is essential for overall health. In other cultures, they often take their siestas when it’s hot and do very little during the middle part of the day. That does not mean slow down completely. No, you must move your body daily as in daily exercise. We are much too sedentary in our culture, which is often one of the primary reasons for many of our health conditions. Movement provides a natural detoxifying effect for our body, mind, and our spirit.
When picnics and outdoor events are the norms, it’s important to take care to protect your food. Remember to pack everything on ice. While traveling, even for short periods, take a cooler and load it with beverages and food. We don’t want any food poisoning to ruin our summer activities. Keep food refrigerated until ready to cook, even if you have it marinating. When grilling foods, make sure the coals are hot, so your food will be properly cooked. The grill should be hot 20 to 30 minutes before cooking. Always use a meat thermometer to check if your meat is done. Do not use the same plate for cooked and raw food while cooking.
You need to remember to drink water, even more, when the temperature goes up. Drinking pure, clean, water versus teas, coffee, sodas, and juices is important to hydrate the skin and reduce body heat. It also lubricates your tissues as well. Drink at least 64-80 oz. of water daily. If you are exercising, make sure you are hydrating yourself even more. Also, make sure your children have adequate amounts of liquids and limit sugary drinks. Some of the signs of dehydration are listlessness, light fever, headache, nausea, or overall tiredness. Always keep your water bottle handy.