Summertime and the living is delicious! This is the season with the greatest variety of fruits and vegetables available, which are the perfect fuel for your active days (see sidebar, below). Whether you find yourself hiking, biking or playing a grueling tennis match, you need to stay well-hydrated and nourished to match your energy output. Fortunately, fruits and veggies are filled with water, clean carbs and fiber to keep you satiated for hours.
When choosing your produce this summer, keep in mind that some crops have a heavier residue of pesticides than others. This may influence whether or not you choose to purchase organic varieties instead of conventionally grown produce. The 2017 Dirty Dozen list put out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes as the types of produce with the highest pesticide usage.
By contrast, EWG’s Clean 15 includes sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit because these foods contain the lowest amounts of pesticides. Note that a small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash grown in the United States is from genetically modified seeds. You may want to choose organic versions of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified foods.
Blueberries Bell Peppers Butter Lettuce
Cantaloupe Butter Lettuce
Figs Corn (non-GMO)
Lime Grape tomatoes
Lychee Green beans
Passion Fruit Shallots
Peaches Sugar Snap Peas
Plums Yukon Gold potatoes
Here are three of our favorite summer recipes featuring the bounty of the season. Enjoy!
Berry Smoothie Bowl
In a blender, combine 1 cup of frozen strawberries with ¼ cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, half a frozen banana and 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder (grass-fed whey or vegan). Blend to desire consistency and pour into a bowl. Top with fresh blueberries, blackberries, and hemp seeds.
Cucumber Avocado Mango Salad
Thinly slice one hot house (a.k.a., English) cucumber using a mandolin and place in a bowl with 1 diced mango, 1 diced avocado, zest and juice of 1 lime, one-quarter cup chopped cilantro and 1 cup shelled organic soy beans. Stir until well combined and serve.
For the sauce, combine the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon avocado oil, ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard and a pinch of cracked lemon pepper in a jar with a lid; shake to blend. Use a spiralizer to create noodles from 2 zucchini. Heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a large nonstick pan. When hot, add 1 clove minced garlic and the zucchini and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan to a serving bowl and toss the zoodles with the lemon sauce. Season with pink Himalayan sea salt and lemon pepper.