Be Light and Healthy

Here Come Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Posted on: June 26, 2011

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.  You’ll wish that summer could always be here.”  Charles Tobias

Ahhhh, summer.  Life just seems simpler in the summer.  Gone are the bulky layers of clothing and complicated schedules of the other seasons.  Early in the morn the birds sing their waking songs heralding the arrival of dawn.  The sun majestically shines nurturing the earth and her creatures with rays of light.  The energy of summer is expressed in many diverse ways.  There are days when her essence invigorates us.  On those days we feel vibrant and have endless energy as the expansive light propels us forward into the evening.  Conversely, there are days when her rhythm inspires idleness and simplicity as we dwell in her vibration.  Nature’s duality beautifully balances her opposing elements. 

As we advance deeper into the season and the temperatures climb, the earth bestows her nourishing bounty upon us.  Instead of avoiding the kitchen on hot days by dining at a restaurant, simplify eating and meal preparation.  Recognize that your appetite wanes on really hot days and plan to have fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.  If you have to heat up the stove or oven, doing it early in the morning while it is still cool with the windows open to let the heat out will make your day more enjoyable.  It’s also the season of cookouts, and trying to eat healthy can present a challenge.  Though it may not bother you to refrain from eating the traditional barbeque fare, other people may feel uncomfortable around you.  Even if it is ultimately their issue, you may feel awkward and out of place.  Bringing a healthy choice to share with others can help you avoid unwanted attention and meld into the background like everyone else.  I’m not a big fan of veggie burgers, but I like to eat them at a cookout because it makes me feel more a part of the gathering.

A platter of fresh fruit, such as blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, grapes, bananas, and/or watermelon is always refreshing on a hot summer day.  Fresh vegetables and various flavors of hummus are tasty and a good substitute for chips and dip. 

Below are a couple of simple yet different summer salad ideas:

Cabbage Salad – Super Simple!  This salad is about 4 meal size servings.  It can easily be doubled to bring to a gathering.  When I initially started making this recipe years ago, I used white sugar as the sweetener but have evolved to try different options.   

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of cole slaw (or 4 cups shredded carrots, green cabbage, and red cabbage)
  • 1/3  cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sweetener – honey, maple syrup, date sugar, or white sugar
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar

 Directions:

  • Roast seeds and nuts in a hot, dry skillet stirring constantly until a little browned. 
  • Mix seeds and nuts with cole slaw.
  • Whisk together soy sauce, sweetener, and vinegar.  Just before serving pour over cole slaw and mix well.

 

Wheat Berry Salad – Delicious & Colorful! A great option to bring to a gathering or keep in your refrigerator to eat for breakfast, add to a salad, or as a side dish.  Wheat berries can be found at Whole Foods Market or in the natural section of most grocery stores.  This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 3 cups water
  • ¾ cup chopped or whole walnuts
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh pineapple (or 1 8-Ounce can crushed pineapple)
  • 4 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

 Directions:

  • Soak wheat berries in water for 8 Hours or overnight.  Rinse.
  • Bring water and wheat berries to a boil then simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Drain water.
  • Add walnuts, dried cranberries, pineapple, sunflower seeds, and mix together.
  • Refrigerate.

Be gentle with yourself as you transition to a healthier lifestyle.  If you’ve spent your life eating conventional food at summer barbeques or using the heat as an excuse to eat out, it may feel awkward to be eating healthier.  From my experiences I’ve learned that it gets easier each time you do it, and believe that it will for you too.  Compromise with yourself and allow some indulgences.  When you consciously choose to indulge, take smaller bites and chew slowly.  Intentionally savoring the experience will allow you to enjoy it and then release it without any guilt.  Focus on the positive choices you make, and congratulate yourself on your successes.  Forgive yourself for any choices that you wish you hadn’t made and consider them learning opportunities.  Trust that you will make better choices next time.  By slowly transitioning to healthier choices, you may eventually find that you lose your desire for much of the unhealthy stuff.    

I invite you to continue making small changes in your lifestyle as the temperatures heat up.  Take advantage of your waning desire to eat when it’s hot out, and be prepared with fresh fruits and vegetables.  Bring a healthy dish to share with others at summer cookouts.  You may find other kindred spirits interested in trying new healthy options too.  If so, mention this blog and suggest they sign up for weekly e-mail updates at www.belightandhealthy.com to get informed and inspired to Be Light and Healthy.  When you sign up, you will receive an e-mail requesting you confirm your subscription.  After you confirm, you will begin receiving weekly updates.

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