The summer is calling! It’s very easy to get excited about the summer with all of the campfires, grill outs, get-togethers and many other activities around the town. Along with that comes drinking and food. Sometimes these foods are not so healthy for you. We have come up with a few things that we thought you would love to hear on how to redirect those unhealthy choices to things that 1. Taste great. 2. Are healthy for you. And 3. Are so pretty your friends will be jealous. Before we get into the recipes, let’s talk about simple superfoods and drinks you can have that are not only great for overall health, but make you feel great!
I’ll discuss a few superfoods, and the first one that I want to talk about is Turmeric or curcumin. This little superfood has HUGE impact on the body, from its antioxidant and anti- inflammatory qualities, to the way that it can help with chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Turmeric is one of the best superfoods, and can be used in so many dishes, from Indian food, to chicken noodle soup, to turmeric lattes. This yummy spice can change your life. If you are purely looking for benefits of this spice and a high potency of the product there are turmeric capsules that you can buy and take as a natural substance to help your body and save your health.
The second superfood I would like to mention is Maca. Maca is an adaptogen. An adaptogen helps to regulate the communication system between your brain and your hormones. Hormones control your adrenals, thyroid, emotional status, and basically anything that you can think of. Maca gives your body a restorative substance that is all natural and will level out those hormones. Just make sure that when you buy it, it comes from a pure and natural source with no additives. You can typically find maca at a whole foods store or in a local health food store such as the Stevens Point CO-OP.
The last superfood that I would like to discuss is Elderberry and Elderberry syrup. This berry has been used to fight off viruses, and may even have benefits for people that have diabetes, heart disease, and cancer as well. They are very high in vitamin A, C, and E. Elderberries and elderberry syrup can be consumed in water, just under your tongue, in smoothies and drinks and various other ways. Speaking of drinks, I did promise you a recipe for a healthy mocktail, so let’s get to it!
With this Elderberry, Raspberry, and Mint Mocktail you will not miss your favorite alcoholic beverage. This was found on quericavida. Here are the following ingredients:
Elderberry, Raspberry, and Mint Mocktail
½ C Elderberry Syrup
2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
36 oz of very cold soda
¼ C Mint leaves, lightly mashed
8 oz Raspberries
Instructions: Mix all ingredients in jar and serve immediately!
By Dr. Sara Stefan, DC, CCWP, fCBP
June is Dairy Month. June mean mosquitos and might be what you think of as the start of summer. June probably conjures up a lot of ideas and musing for you. To me, June is my mom’s birthday that always coincides with strawberry season.
As a kid, every year we would pack up the cardboard strawberry flats, a bucket of warm, soapy water and a few rags and we’d pile into the car to drive to the local strawberry patch. It was the one time of year where going to Clintonville meant something special was happening. Even back then, my parents were insistent upon getting there as soon in the morning as possible. You know, you have to “beat the heat”. So we’d bumble down the road in our trusty minivan and jump out onto the grassy, uneven terrain of the field turned parking lot. From there we would scour the horizon until our eyes landed on the tractor pulling the wagon full of people. We would be crossing our fingers that it wasn’t too far away since we could barely contain the excitement and the idea of warm, sweet strawberry juice running down our chins. (My mom was smart. She came prepared with the aforementioned bucket of water for post-picking cleanup before piling back into the car in a strawberry induced haze.)
The tractor ride was one of the best parts. It would chug and jerk and if you weren’t paying attention, every once in a while it would feel like you were almost about to fall off. Or maybe that was just me – the scrawny little kid in a hand-me-down tee shirt and jelly shoes with just enough meat on my bones to keep me from bouncing up and off the trailer. Then, all at once, the driver would stop and everyone would scramble off in search of the worker who assigned you your row where you would begin your search for the world’s best strawberry. “Work from this flag, down. Take the flag with you and put it where you stop. Don’t leave any ripe berries and stay in your row”. I was a rule follower even back then so it was a simple nod of the head and get to work. If you pick strawberries like I do, you’ll pick for a few minutes, get a bit in your bucket and a sense that not everyone is watching you (especially the workers!) and you’d sneak your first berry. I can almost taste and feel that first fresh berry of the season on my tongue. Warm from the sun. So juicy you have to eat it all in one bite, and so sweet you realize that any other strawberry you’ve eaten in the last 6 months was nothing like this, not even comparable.
Fast forward 25 minutes or so and your feet are a little achy. Your back might be a little tight. And the sun shining down upon your back probably has you feeling more than a little warm, even though it’s only 8:30 in the morning. If you’re lucky, the berries that year are big, plump and the truest color of red you’ve seen in person. You pick around the leaves and find cluster upon cluster of berries and pretty soon, your flat is filling up. Mom looks over, sees what you have and declares, “I think we have enough.” You know what that means? That means fresh strawberry pie and homemade strawberry jam and fresh berries for every meal for the next three days. YES! It also means you better pick a few more and stuff them into your face before you put your stake in and head for the edges of the field.
Once you hop back on the tractor and get back to the farm house, it’s time to find out how much your strawberries weigh. Slide the box down and feel the cardboard grate against the well-worn wooden countertop. Who picked more? Mom gets out cash to pay the older woman who smells like my grandmas, and reality sets in. Strawberry picking is over and it’ll be a whole year before you get to do this same routine all over again….bummer.
The good thing is you still have all the fruits of your labor, literally. The other good thing is that year after year, this annual tradition becomes part of your DNA. You probably don’t realize it as it’s happening, but this is the sort of thing that fires you up while simultaneously calming you down. Every year now, when mid-June rolls around, I scope out the calendar and the weather to see what day I can get out and pick. It is exciting. And then when we start to pick, a sense of child-like wonder comes over me and time slows down a little bit (except for last year when we were racing to finish picking before a hellacious storm brewed not far in the distance. We did end up beating it. We pulled onto the highway just as it started to downpour. Not sure what all the folks out in the fields did or how they missed the thick, grey clouds rolling in).
It’s these types of memories and experiences that I want to leave with my kids. I need to realize that we might be setting our own, new traditions right now, and I don’t even realize it. What is happening today that might leave an indelible mark that they’ll never forget? I guess my point in telling you this long story about something so mundane as picking strawberries is best summed up in a quote by BJ Palmer, the developer of Chiropractic,: “We never know how far reaching something we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.” We are obviously in the middle of an odd time right now. What isn’t always obvious, though, is that life is made up of series of memories and events. Cherish the moment right now and create positive, character building events. Start new traditions if you want or build upon the old, trusty ones. Either way, love the people around you, find the best in life, and live the life of your dreams.
Oh, and by the way, a cup of strawberries provides vitamin C, manganese and also contains folate (vitamin B9) and potassium. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and plant compounds that may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control, among many other benefits. Whatever you choose in this next season, make it impactful and fun. Create memories and friendships. And as always, stay healthy, my friends! Enjoy!