Hit the farmers market for better health!


Spring is here and the heat will soon set in and before the Summer begins, I want to make sure that I take full advantage of the light, fluffy and seasonal fruits and veggies into my recipes and have them as part of my restorative and nutritive repertoire. What should you do to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck and get the juiciest and tastiest, but most importantly healthiest fruits and veggies this season?
Start by visiting your local farmers market; our local market is open every Saturday.
If you can’t make it to the farmers market and must get it from a grocery store, get your fruits and veggies early, doing so ensures that you get the best pick. It also means you will get the most nutrition out of your food because it did not have to sit in a truck or warehouse for long periods of time. Download FoodScores from EWG.org to ensure you get the best-rated food.

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Look for seasonal foods. They vary from region to region, but your local farmers can let you in on the secret. Here are some of my favorites:

Strawberries– I LOVE strawberries, they are such a versatile fruit! You can make smoothies, you can decorate cakes, you can make jelly, or you can eat them as is… Believe it or not, they are also a great source of Vitamin C and act as a fast-working antioxidant. You have heard that carrots help with your vision, but I bet you have not heard that strawberries also promote eye health. It is that same vitamin C that helps protect our eyes from cataracts and damage to our eyes. One thing to keep in mind is that strawberries tend to be treated heavily with pesticides because of its propensity to go bad so fast or for it to be attacked by bugs, so get some good toxicfree fruit and veggie cleaner and soak/wash your strawberries well before eating.

Oranges– though thought as of a winter fruit by some, I think of it as an all year round fruit. The benefits of Oranges and their Vitamin C are fantastic. One medium size orange can contain up to 70% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C helps strengthen your immune system and during spring time, while allergy season is in full swing, this is especially important. It accomplishes this task by eliminating free-radicals that damage things like your skin. It also helps with brain development, the folic acid or Vitamin B9 in oranges helps keep your brain in working order. One added benefit that most of us do not normally practice is eating the orange peel. Orange peels have over 60 types of flavonoids and over 170 different types of phytonutrients and lots of fiber and these compounds are vital to roles carried out by various systems in your body.

Broccoli– Broccoli aids in the reduction of cholesterol because of all the fiber it contains, which binds to the nasty cholesterol in your blood and helps it exit your body much faster. Broccoli contains high levels of calcium and vitamin K and both are needed to have strong bones and ward off osteoporosis. It also helps with other types of heart health, surprise, surprise… it also helps with eye health and digestion in general. Did you know that broccoli has as much protein as a cup or rice or corn but half the calories? I didn’t and probably none of the GMO (well when it comes to corn that is).

There are many other fruits and vegies I could talk about like asparagus, artichokes, greens, mangoes (though not native to this area), peaches, and so on…. But I am almost out of space!

So… how about I end with my favorite smoothie recipe….

Strawberry Banana Smoothie (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Fresh strawberries (hulled and diced)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk (not Silk, because it contains soy)
  • 1 cup Ice cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp Honey (get some from the local farmers market, if you suffer from allergies, wildflower honey from your particular region is supposed to help and this is a great way to incorporate it into your diet)

Instructions:
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.
2. Add more almond milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
3. Adjust honey to taste.
4. Serve immediately.

Until next time, stay healthy, stay toxicfree! And enjoy the yummy recipe!

As published in Moments August 2015

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