an exclusive feature from Debra Orringer*
Summertime brings up such a sense of emotions and memories. I think of my dad mowing the grass, my mom making iced tea and memories of my best friend and I living in the pool at the local park, and I mean that literally…. I thought I would grow up and be a mermaid!
If you google the phrase, “Summertime Song,” a whole myriad of songs pop up from Ella Fitzgerald to Jerry Mungo to Bon Jovi and more. So, why does summer bring up such a sense of emotions? It’s the freshness of the season. The sun on your face, the smell of nature and the sound of the birds. Summertime is a time for vacations, relaxation and abundant sunshine with an ultimate goal to ground ourselves. I like to think of this time of year as one where we think about what feels good inside and out.
Your spiritual side is as important to your total well-being as is your nutritional side. Why do I say this? Because nutrition ultimately works hand in hand as the first step in beginning to feel good spiritually. And, what better season to examine yourself and inner being than summer. I can’t think of a more pleasant time for some attention to that inner you.
What we put into our bodies has a direct effect on how our bodies act. That means if you put in foods that are healthy, full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, then your body will be at ease. However, if you put processed foods, high salt, high sugar and low nutrients into your body, then your body will be in a state of dis-ease, anxiety and internal inflammation. Inflammation is at the center of almost all chronic diseases in our lives today, and I think what we all want is to be more grounded and more at ease in our lives.
So, if we want a fresh start, take advantage of the summer season and all the sunshine and rejuvenation that goes with it (!) and then add some seasonal fresh, colorful foods. Sounds like a great recipe, right? Yes, just like the season. I prefer to start with foods that are deliberately able to help sort out any internal inflammation our bodies have. Chronic internal inflammation can put our bodies in a sense of “fight or flight” incessantly. Below is the list of my favorite six anti-inflammatory summer foods and why they are so good for your nutritional grounding. And of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t throw some color in there!
- Berries, the darker the better, contain antioxidants that help with inflammation in the body. What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are little compounds that help protect cell damage. No damage means no inflammation.
- Turmeric is a spice that is popular in Indian dishes. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to help protect against certain cancers, arthritis and even Alzheimer’s.
- Ginger is known for its ability to aid with internal inflammation as well as aid your digestive system. When I was a little girl, every time I was feeling sick to my stomach, my mom would make me a ginger tea. I still make it every now and then; and then I feel the need to call my mom to chat. Hi Mom.
- Cauliflower has tons of phytochemical and antioxidants in their little bunches. It’s considered a cruciferous vegetable (like broccoli, cabbage, kale and brussel sprouts). Extensive research has shown that these vegetables are packed with nutrients and essential vitamins. Flood your body with what it needs, and your body will respond with sunshine and happiness. Every time I try to say cruciferous, I think of a spell from Harry Potter.
- Tomatoes are a nightshade vegetable and loaded with lycopene which is a natural occurring chemical in foods that give it the red color. They are also loaded with carotenoids which are antioxidants. I’m seeing a pattern here. Plus, growing up my dad always had the BEST tomato garden. We had buckets and buckets of tomatoes every summer. And whenever I cut fresh tomatoes I feel the need to call my Dad. Hi Dad!
- Garlic is a food that contains sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system, and your immune system is what helps protect you against disease. Plus, garlic tastes great when sautéing it with some of those cruciferous vegetables.
All of these foods can help keep us grounded and nutritionally rebooted for the start of the summer season. And because it’s summer time and the weather is hot, how about enjoying a fabulous and cooling anti-inflammatory smoothie? I love the color of this one. It’s bright and shiny like the sunshine – ergo my…….
Tropical Sunshine Smoothie!
- 1/3 cup coconut milk or cream
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 small orange
- 1 cup frozen bananas
- 1-inch piece of ginger root
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
Put everything together in a high-powered blender and whip it up. If you want more of a smoothie consistency, then replace the water with more coconut milk and if you want this more as a sunshine-ade (juicy), then replace the coconut milk with water. Depending on the tropical taste you’d like, feel free to replace the orange with pineapple or mango. When you put liquid gold into your body, you will turn it into a temple!
Becoming Nutritionally Grounded is an exclusive feature for Grandparentslink.com by Debra Orringer.
*Debra Orringer, MS from Naples, FL, is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with over 20 years in the industry. She has managed the wellness programs at the Kennedy Space Center as well as consulted for several national fitness companies, authored articles, and retains a myriad of advanced level certifications. Debra produces a nutritional blog weekly at www.DebraOrringer.com and can be reached at DebO@DebraOrringer.com “Being Healthy Doesn’t Have To Be Hard”