Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’

Summer’s Extreme Weather

Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not
~Author Unknown

Here in the Northeast and in the Mid-west, we’ve been experiencing more than our fair share of cloudy days and rain, intense thunderstorms, flood and tornado watches and high humidity.  Since there really is nothing you can do about the weather (other than lead a greener lifestyle and hope other people will too), try not to let it get you down.  Eating certain foods can relieve weather-related depression.

Omega 3 fats found in fish oil, salmon (and other fatty fish), walnuts (and other nuts), flax seeds, olive oil, chia seeds and avocados, are essential for proper brain function.  When the brain functions properly, it’s hard to get depressed for long.  Studies have shown that just a gram of fish oil a day can decrease symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained periods of sadness, etc.  Omega 3 fats also lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular function.

Fruits like dates, papaya, bananas, strawberries*, mangoes, pineapple, grapefruit, peaches and apple* also help fight depression!  They contain the best natural sugars your body can process, as well as essential nutrients.  They hydrate too!

Out west, the weather is unusually hot and dry and they are experiencing less than normal rainfall!  Protecting your skin is essential, not only with sunscreen but with food too.  The following three summer fruits are cooling and may protect your skin from sun damage during the hot dry summer weather.

  • Cherries contain inflammation-fighting anthocyanins and melatonin, which may boost UV protection and encourage cell growth, both great ways to fight wrinkles.
  • Nectarines* contain nutrients that help correct sun damage from the inside out.  They contain vitamins and minerals that help control inflammation and free radical damage.
  • Watermelon has high water and lycopene content, which helps protect and preserve skin cells so the skin is tighter, smoother and better able to retain moisture.  Lycopene, also found in tomatoes, is a powerful antioxidant and may help ward off sunburn too.

Extreme weather conditions are hard on the body and the spirit, but eating whole, nutritious and seasonal foods can help.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!  Stay cool!!!

* Foods that you should always eat organic!

Information compiled from:

http://www.sharecare.com/health/diet-nutrition/article/eat-these-3-fruits-for-great-summer-skin; http://voices.yahoo.com/foods-fight-depression-eat-way-happiness-2710221.html and http://www.naturalnews.com/020611_depression_nutrition.html#ixzz2XtsDD1aP

 

Edible Landscaping

The local and organic food movement is a good one, ensuring a tastier, more nutritious and safer food supply, while reducing carbon emissions with food grown closer to home. Many people are growing some of their own food, going beyond the typical vegetable and herb garden to edible landscaping.

What is edible landscaping?  According to virginiaberryfarm.com, “edible landscaping replaces plants that are merely ornamental with food producing plants, allowing you to create a multi-functional landscape providing returns (fruits, berries, etc.) on your investment of water, fertilizer, and time”.  In today’s world where food safety is a growing concern and food prices escalate with the price of fuel, it makes good sense. Food also tastes better and has more nutrients immediately after it is harvested; produce trucked from long distances loses much of its nutritional value and doesn’t last as long.  Working in the garden and connecting with the soil is good for the body and soul, with nothing more gratifying than picking your own food for dinner.

We have good soil in New England and can grow a diverse crop right in our own backyard as hedges, ground covers, patio plantings, ornamental trees and on trellises.  Popular ornamental trees, pear, plum, and late producing apple like granny smith and golden delicious, are good choices, which don’t require much pest control.

High bush blueberries, as well as blackberries and raspberries, make excellent deciduous hedges or interspersed in an existing hedge.  They have lovely spring flowers and beautiful fall color. Native low bush blueberries and strawberries spread by their roots and can be used as a ground cover.  Both are drought-resistant and trouble-free.  Blueberries are an important part of a healthy diet, loaded with anti-oxidants and considered one of the “power foods”, but typically heavily sprayed with pesticides.  (Check out the dirty dozen list of fruits and vegetables.)  Rather than pay the price for expensive organic ones, grow your own.  Who can resist the taste of a freshly picked berry?

First blueberries of the season.

First blueberries of the season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grapes are ideal trellis plants providing beautiful shade and fresh healthy clusters for picking.

I can’t think of any reason not to plant an edible landscape, wherever you live! Be patient though. It takes a few years for your plants to produce – it works on root development for the first couple of years. Remember this gardening saying:  “The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, the third year it leaps”.  Happy planting!

One caveat:  birds and other animals sometimes get to the fruit before you do.  Email me for suggestions on how to control this problem, or just enjoy feeding nature’s creatures.

Some information compiled from virginiaberryfarm.com.

 


START YOUR DAY WITH AN ORGANIC SMOOTHIE

One of the most nutritious and convenient breakfasts is a delicious organic fruit smoothie.   The Department of Health recommends that we get at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, which research proves reduces the risk of heart disease and some cancers. With a smoothie you can almost get your full day’s requirement in one serving!

Start with 16 ounces of a liquid in your blender.  I prefer a combination of almond milk and kefir and/or yogurt for the calcium and probiotics. You can also use cow’s milk, soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk, 100% fruit juice or water for the liquid.  Experiment with different kinds to see which you like.

Image by Digital Wallpaper

To the liquid, add 2 -3 scoops of protein powder like whey, and then whatever fruits you like.

For the fruit, I start with a banana for the consistency and the nutritional value. In addition to the potassium, its natural sugars give an instant, sustained and substantial energy boost. Avocado is a delicious and healthy thickener as well.  I then add about a cup or more of blueberries or strawberries and pineapple bits (or whatever fresh fruits I have on hand).  Blueberries are powerful anti-oxidants, but make sure you use organic since all berries are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Pineapple is high in Vitamin C, A and manganese and good for arthritis, bones and joints, and indigestion.

Finally, I supplement with hemp, chia seeds, and fish oil for a super source of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids.  You can also use flax seed powder or oil, another good source of Omega 3.   Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid necessary for our brains and skin and an all around must for good health.

Blend the ingredients for a minute or two and enjoy your delicious, nutritious and easy meal setting you on your way to optimum health for the day. With its abundance of fresh fruit, summer is a good time to get into the smoothie habit.  (The rest of the year use frozen fruit).  Be creative – you’ll feel great!