I send all my readers wishes for a happy, healthy and safe USA Independence Day. I love all the traditions and celebrations of our nation’s freedoms: family and friend time, a few days in the cool, Colorado mountains and great food. Above all, I wish you freedom from digestive distress!
Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
I encourage you to use wisdom when attending the ever popular, all-American backyard barbecue event. This is certainly an opportunity to be outdoors during this spectacular season and spend time with family and friends. The food offerings of this traditional gathering may be delicious, but they also hold the potential for a gastric disaster. The typical back-yard-on-the-grill menu consists of grilled animal protein slathered in barbecue sauce, potato salad, pasta salad, baked beans, chips with a variety of dips, brownies topped with ice cream and assorted alcoholic beverages.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I am not against a delightful backyard gathering, but I urge you to use wisdom as you fill your plate. Select several items from the relish tray—remember that “pickled” (fermented) foods promote healthy gut function. Also, consider choosing a fresh summer green salad with a lighter dressing or vinaigrette. Grilled summer vegetables drizzled with olive oil make a great substitute to the potato or pasta salads. Deviled eggs offer an easier- to-digest protein source that will keep your energy reserves fueled.
A light, summer red wine deliciously tops off the meal and supports healthy digestion. Summer’s fresh produce gives us great variety in tasty nutrition that supports healthy digestion and a strong heart. Staying well hydrated with flavored water helps keep your body’s temperature in balance as well as support more efficient digestion. I hope you will enjoy these seasonal flavors and share them at your next summer gathering. To help you keep your cool when the outdoor temps rise, these summer-y flavored waters come to the rescue to quench your thirst:
In a large pitcher:
1) Add freshly washed seasonal fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, watermelon or cantaloupe slices) to a pitcher of purified water, green tea or sparkling water. Pour over ice in a tall beverage glass and enjoy.
2) Add sliced lime and a medium sprig of fresh peppermint. Fill the pitcher with purified water. Pour over ice in a tall beverage glass and enjoy.
3) Place a washed fresh sprig of rosemary in purified water; let the rosemary “infuse” into the water for about 1-hour before serving. Pour beverage into an ice-filled glass and enjoy.
Connie’s Comments: This is a great afternoon beverage to naturally stimulate heart and circulation activity. Rosemary also promotes mental clarity.
For a lighter side dish, I hope you’ll enjoy this Grilled Squash recipe:
Summer Yellow Squash Medley
2- medium yellow crook-neck squash, washed and cut into 1/2” chunks (if the skin is tender, I leave it attached; if it’s thicker and tough, I peel the squash and remove large seeds))
6-8 Brussels sprouts, washed and cut in fourths (remove stem end and any discolored leaves)
10-12 cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in halves
2-4 shallots, washed and cut into 1” pieces
Herb seasoning or fresh snipped herbs (basil, rosemary sprigs or lemon thyme)
• Place all cut vegetables into a large mixing bowl
• Drizzle with olive oil gently stir to lightly coat vegetables
• Sprinkle with Herb seasoning to desired taste
• Transfer to an oiled, pre-heated grilling basket
• Grill for about 12-15 minutes or until desired doneness; stir every 5-minutes to heat well through
• Transfer to serving platter
Connie’s Comments: Any combination of summer produce may be used for grilling: red bell or jalapeno peppers, zucchini, eggplant, fingerling potatoes, green beans, or any of your favorite garden fresh foods.
Savor the season as you enjoy the fireworks, parades, and social gatherings. God Bless America!