As I'm writing this, we are having a humongous thunderstorm! I am loving the crashing booms but the lightning, not so much! You don't have to be struck by lightning to know that in the summer we all tend to overindulge.
Ice cream, French fries and those great burgers at Flo's are all special treats and we should enjoy them in moderation. But something about summertime just lures a lot of us into bad behavior! We can't seem to resist those HUGE sodas and frozen cocktails at the water's edge.
After a sweltering day, the pleasure of an icy cold frozen Margarita and some loaded nachos can't be underestimated. So since we are all going to be naughty, here are some suggestions for keeping your health and your waistline from going to pot.
Start the day with fruit! This is the time we should be stuffing ourselves with fruits in season. The abundance of cherries, apricots and nectarines, juicy peaches and ripe watermelons make fruiting and juicing easy, inexpensive and great for your body! Start your day with a huge plate of fruit, all you desire!
Eat melon first and bananas last. Why spend a fortune on fast food smoothies when you can make a fabulous and organic one at home? Get out your blender and fix a scrumptious smoothie with organic apple juice, a whole banana and handfuls of berries. Add a couple of spoons of yogurt, swirl with three or four ice cubes and enjoy a breakfast or snack that won't bog you down but satisfies!
Instead of drinking sugary, tooth rotting sodas, try some herbal sun teas. Substitute herbal tea bags for black tea and let the sun do the steeping. A sprig of mint and some stevia and you have a refreshing, healthy, thirst quencher. I love the ones with lemon in them.
Natural hygiene tells us that food combining is the way to eat and I agree. In other words, don't eat a carbohydrate and a protein together. At first, this might sound strange, but not if you think about it. Eating carbs together with proteins places a real stress on your digestion and requires different enzymes to digest your meal.
So although steak and a baked potato and chicken and dumplings or that plate of spaghetti and meatballs is delicious, it is making your digestion very unhappy. It's a leading cause of IBS and a clogged, bogged colon. There are some fantastic vegetarian recipes both on-line and in many cookbooks.
Don't be afraid to try them. Go to the farmer's markets and buy the fresh, local produce. Much of it is actually organic, just ask. Don't forget Rita's Real Foods in Bayport, a source of all things organic!
Vegetarian eating isn't some weird practice, it's a way of life for millions of people all around the world. It doesn't have to be a boring repast of lettuce and tomatoes with a few cukes sliced in and some rancid bottled dressing. There are hundreds of varieties of lettuce as well as frise. Add spinach, arugula and mushrooms, throw on some blue cheese or provolone, avocado, chickpeas or pickled black eyed peas and some ranch dressing made at home. You can make a salad into a feast.
If you really have to have some meat, leave out the beans and you have a properly combined salad. Dress your salad with extra virgin olive oil and raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, healthy and delicious as well. I really look forward to my supper. I get to sit down, relax and review the days events with my Mom, and eat a satisfying, healthful meal.
Once again, a large, fresh salad with all the veggies you can handle is a good choice, but if you want something a bit more exciting, try my vegetarian gumbo. You can get frozen okra already sliced at the market to save time.
In four tablespoons of olive oil, saute the "Holy Trinity," onion, green, red and yellow peppers and celery, chopped to your liking. I prefer a rough cut, not a dice. When the onion becomes transparent, add either fresh diced plum tomatoes, or any good canned variety and let them blend for about five minutes, then add the okra.
When the okra turns a darker green, add chopped zucchini, summer squash, cooked carrots or any vegetable that suits you. Throw in some Tony Cachere's Cajun seasoning or use Old Bay. Careful, there is salt in these seasonings. Let it all simmer until the squashes just soften and serve over rice. Like it spicy? Splash in the Tabasco for a real kick!
If you have a rice cooker, wonderful, just use brown rice instead of white. In the words of Louisiana's beloved chef, Justin Wilson " I gaur onnn tee" you will love this recipe!
Resting your system with a delicious vegetarian week or two will refresh you and make up for the sins of excess you know you'll be committing sooner or later. You might even decide to eat veggie a few days a week because you like it!
Dr. Kleine regrets she cannot give advice by phone or e-mail. To make an appointment, call 631.472.8139 or e-mail us at Drfootsi@myway.com