Summer allergies and cooling off with salad

Sloane Miller Health Guide
  • It's been hot, I mean really hot, here on the Eastern seaboard. And when it gets hot, I kind of lose the will to eat. Well not really, but the thought of a heavy meal grosses me out. Even a light meal can feel like a drag. So that's when I really turn to fruit and veggies in their raw and glorious state to be my new best friends for a few reasons.

     

    As someone with food allergies, I go to the source for my nutrition as often as possible, meaning that I try to limit my intake of factory-created, processed food where cross contamination abounds and being a label sleuth becomes necessary.

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    Also, as the weather heats up and my body seems to swell with the outdoor humidity, I look to cooling foods like cucumbers or foods with diuretics built right in like watermelon to help move the inner and outer humidity through my personal weather system.

     

    Summer months, even this early in the season, are the best time to rediscover your inner bunny who delights in eating "rabbit food. The supermarket, the farmers' market, even your own backyard if you have garden, is teeming  with a bounty for the taking.  Here are two meal suggestions with cucumbers and watermelons in mind.

     

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    When I think Greek salad I think cucumbers, feta cheese, oregano and that lemony essence. I expanded that thought to create something completely green and luscious and light. Like most salads you can add/delete ingredients to your taste and you can stretch it out by adding more ingredients. I like French feta because it's less salty, but Greek feta is also sheepy good. Remember, never dress a leafy salad until the moment before serving or the leaves wilt. However, if you create a crunchy chopped salad it can withstand being dressed and sitting for a while, in fact it gets better that way.

     

    Great Green Greek Salad

     

    Organic mesclun leaves, iceberg lettuce, boston bibb lettuce, romaine, or any combination therein

     

    Fresh oregano leaves, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped, to taste

     

    Cucumber, peeled, deseeded, lightly salted, and cubed

     

    Green grapes, washed and halved

     

    French feta crumbled into medium crumbs (omit if your diet is dairy-free)

     

    Additional greens you can add: cubed green apple, slices of ripe avocado, diced green onion, chopped green peppers, pickled onion, quartered artichoke hearts.

     

    Alternative proteins you can  add: fresh chick peas (or canned organic chick peas), diced chicken, canned tuna, sliced turkey breast.

     

    For dressing, I used a fresh lemon wedges, great quality Greek or Italian olive oil, kosher salt and pepper to taste.

     

    Delicious and so light!

     

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    This past weekend I went to the beach; here's the table where I'm sitting to write this.

     

    When I arrived and my friend's house I made a quick, light lunch as no one was home yet. I really just wanted watermelon but I need some veggie protein and a little fat.

     

    So the Improv Lunch:  (clockwise): Garden of Eatin' Blue Corn Chips, Newman's own medium salsa, avocado with some salsa mixed in for a quickie guacamole and organic pinto beans. Dessert in the bowl to the right is a mélange of green grapes, blueberries and watermelon.

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    Can you think of a better way to settle in for the weekend but with the local newspaper, some guac and chips and a bowl teaming over with fruit, especially sweet, red watermelon?

     

    Again: the closer to the food source I'm eating, the fewer food allergic reactionsI seem to have. Pure, clean foods, simple meals with a range of colors and textures, very little that is processed and everything that is in season and local.

     

    Do you have any favorite go-to salads? Or fruits that you can get enough of this month?

Published On: July 02, 2008