Sunday, July 11, 2010
Guest blogger!! A great post from Suzi at Natures Fare!
We don’t think there is anything better than Okanagan summers. Scorching hot days on the lake and at the beach melt away into evening BBQs with friends and nights playing golf until the sun goes down. I’ve been taking my PGX religiously for the past year knowing that over the next few months it will be too hot most days to wear anything but my bathing suit, and slowly but surely it is helping me to reach my weight loss goals. I’ve managed to lose three more pounds this past month and am looking forward to taking advantage of all the beautiful beaches and outdoor activities the Okanagan has to offer.
Summer presents its own unique set of challenges for healthy eating. The farmer’s markets and shelves at Nature’s Fare are already bursting with local, organic produce in all colours of the rainbow, which makes this season the best time to start incorporating more whole foods into our diets. However, it is also the season when it is all too easy to rely on quick, processed, and packaged foods for a day at the lake or on the boat. The convenience of these foods comes at a high cost. Processed foods are designed to have long shelf lives, and as a result, are often full of artificial ingredients such as MSG, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, genetically modified organisms, and artificial sweeteners. To top it off, they can be very high in calories and the wrong kinds of fats while offering almost nothing in terms of nutrition. On the other hand, whole foods like organic vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are full of micronutrient vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. And as we know, fibre keeps us feeling full for longer, making it easier to resist cravings and stick to our healthy eating plans. Instead of grabbing for candy or a chocolate bar, consider a locally grown organic peach or nectarine to satisfy your sweet tooth. Replace your white bread with sprouted grain bread and your white rice with brown rice or quinoa, a Peruvian superfood packed with protein. Try some raw almonds or spicy kale chips instead of potato chips when you’re feeling the need for something crunchy or salty. Here is one of my favourite summer recipes – make a double batch so that you have enough for dinner tonight and enough leftovers for the beach tomorrow.
Grilled Organic Vegetable Whole Grain Pasta Salad (adapted from epicurious.com)
½ cup organic Italian parsley
½ cup organic fresh basil
1 large organic garlic clove
1.5 tbsp organic red wine vinegar
1.5 tbsp organic balsamic vinegar
½ cup organic extra virgin olive oil + 2 tbsp extra for grilling
2 large organic ears of corn, husked
2 large organic zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1 large organic red bell pepper, cut into small chunks
1 large organic red onion, cut into three large rounds
1 pint organic cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
½ cup organic kalamata olives (or more, depending on preference)
½ cup organic feta or goat cheese, crumbled
¾ pound organic whole grain fusilli pasta (I like to use spelt or Ezekiel pasta for this recipe)
Make vinaigrette by blending parsley, basil, both vinegars, garlic, and olive oil together using a blender or food processor. Season with sea salt and vinegar to taste.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and place in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tbsp of the vinaigrette.
Light barbeque and set to medium heat. Brush zucchini, corncobs, and onion with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, turning often, about 10-12 minutes. When cool, cut kernels from corncobs and cut zucchini and onion into small chunks about the same size as the red pepper. Add grilled vegetables to pasta along with the red peppers, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. Toss with vinaigrette and crumbled feta cheese. This salad tastes best at room temperature.
Thanks and hope to see you soon!!