Hydrate with Food

All we hear during the summer months is “Stay hydrated!” So we automatically assume to grab a glass or a bottle of water and start chugging. Well we don’t just have to drink to stay hydrated, we can eat too (yes!) No more feeling water bloated (and having to run to the bathroom all the time) this summer to just stay hydrated! Let’s look into the top 5 hydration foods to add to our everyday meals.

Cucumbers Cucumber_and_cross_section

This summer veggie has a 96.7% water content. Add cucumbers to a salad, puree it with a non-fat yogurt with some herbs and make a cucumber soon, or just dunk them in your favorite hummus. Simply adding cucumbers to a meal will help you keep hydrated.

CeleryCelery-Stalks

This stalk packs in fiber, folate, Vitamin A, C and K. 95.4% water content, celery can help us all keep hydrated when we are sweating a lot of our liquids out. Remember that rumor that celery had negative calories? Well that isn’t entirely true since it does have 6 calories per serving, but this low-calorie veg helps maintain and balance our stomach acids. A few celery stalks a day can help with blood pressure, asthma, and helps keep the urinary tract clean. Celery is a perfect beach snack to dip in peanut butter, chop into a salad, or to throw into a light tuna salad.

Radishesradishes-02

Still high up there on the water content with 95.3% ranking, radishes can pack a punch for this summer. Radishes can had a sweet and spicy flavor to any dish you make this summer. Every crunch packs on the antioxidants found in radishes. Radishes can help with sinuses, stimulates appetites, and cleanses the kidneys. A simple radish coleslaw made with olive oil and lemon juice is a perfect side dish, or radish can be garnished on any salad this summer.

Tomatoes29tomato1-superJumbo

For those of us that live in the Philadelphia area, we all know that summer time is the perfect time for Jersey Tomatoes. Tomatoes have 94.5% water content. Ripe and in season tomatoes are easy to put into any dish: putting a few slices on a sandwich for the beach, cut into wedges for a salad, or sliced and ready to eat with a little salt a pepper YUM! Not only are tomatoes a great hydrating food they contain so many vitamins and antioxidants in them. Tomatoes can also help to prevent cervix, bladder, and pancreas cancers.

Green Peppersgreen-pepper

Green for go! Load up on the green peppers at your local farmers markets and grocery stores. Though all bell peppers contain high water content the green pepper comes in at the top of the list with 93.9% water content. Green peppers make the perfect snack for anytime, on kabobs, or stuff them up with your favorite quinoa recipes. Getting your daily dose to peppers can help improve your hair, skin, and nails!

These are just 5 simple fruits and veggies that can help us keep hydrated when our water gets a little bland. They also pack in lots of nutrients and vitamins, along with other added health benefits. Remember to also make sure the kiddies that you’re spending time with keep hydrated while they are in and out of the water, building sand castles, and riding bikes. You can also add your favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs to water to add a little flavor without added sugar. Some of our favorites: cucumber and strawberry, lemon and ginger, or mint.

There are plenty of ways to stay hydrated this summer – be creative and have fun with it!

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a few things that I love about spring + vibrant & cleansing spring soup

I love spring.

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I love it so much. It brings so much beauty, life, and color to everything.  It is a time for new beginnings. Within the first few days of spring,  I always start to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.   I write down goals and make small positive changes that will help to reawaken my mind, body and spirit. I also feel most connected to nature during spring (after my long winter hiatus with outdoors). I  feel so at ease when I am in nature, it’s my safe haven, an escape from stresses or troubles.

I want to be outside every minute, to soak up all of the new life and energy the days of spring have to offer. I love how you can actually smell the earth thawing and coming to life again. It’s as if mother nature is calling us to embrace her-  her signals are warmth and happiness.  I like to think it is her way of encouraging us… encouraging us to get outdoors again, to use her landscapes as our own infinite playground.

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One of my other favorite things about spring is the return of local farmers’ markets.  Fresh, organic and local produce makes me so happy. I love walking through and taking in all of the vibrant and beautiful colors  given to us from nature’s bounties. Not only are all of the fresh vegetables vibrant and beautiful to look at, they are so nourishing to our bodies. Just looking at them makes me feel good…and eating them makes me feel even better!

I love when I buy my seasonal fruits and veggies with dirt and bugs still on them.  It makes me feel that much closer to nature and proves just how fresh and organic they are. I always find myself gravitating towards my same go-to  fruits and veggies, so I have to ask my husband to remind me to switch it up.   Some of my favorites include asparagus, beets, arugula, snap peas, carrots, cabbage, fennel, leeks and broccoli.   With all of this fresh produce, lunch and dinner menus are endless. I also just love snacking on them raw, savoring the earthiness and natural sweetness, while gaining all of the nutritional benefits that come from live enzymes of raw foods.

A few other things I cannot leave farmers’ markets with out: local raw honey and fresh bundle of lavender. I love putting lavender in my bedroom and living room, it is so calming.

One of my favorite things to do with some leftover vegetables  is to make a seasonal soup.  Soups are so versatile,  easy, can be stored for days in the fridge or even frozen, and combine so many great vegetables and natural flavors.  They also give us a huge dose of nutritional goodness and are so delicious!

Here is a cleansing spring soup that leaves you feeling rejuvenated, light and awakened.

You can switch up the ingredients to your choice (just make sure they are fresh, seasonal, local and organic).  In this recipe I just used up what I had leftover from the market.

Spring Vegetable Cleansing Soup

2-3 Tbs. coconut oil or butter, divided
1 white or yellow onion, diced
1 lb asparagus, chopped into 1 in pieces
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into 1 in pieces
2 carrots, diced
1 small leek, sliced into crescents and rinsed really well
1 cup green peas
2 cups spinach
2-3 cloves garlic
4 cups + more vegetable broth (homemade is best but store bought will do)
Unsweetened almond milk, optional

Fill a large pot with about 2 inches of filtered water or vegetable brother with a pinch of sea salt. Add the asparagus, cauliflower, carrots and leeks. Bring to a boil. Once boiled, bring back to a simmer and cover with lid partially, stirring occasionally.

Saute the onions on medium heat in about 1-2 tsp butter or coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt. Saute until tender and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the leeks and garlic,  stir through. Cook for about 2-4 more minutes and remove from heat.

Check the veggies after about 8 minutes. They should be pretty tender. Add more vegetable stock or water if it has evaporated. Add the peas and cover for 1-2 minutes.

In a vita-mix or blender, add the onions, leeks and garlic. Add the steamed vegetables, including the liquid that is leftover to the blender. Add spinach, sea salt, black pepper, and *2 cups vegetable broth. Mix until well blended.

*Drizzle in more liquid of your choice if too thick.
**Nutritional yeast is a great addition to this as well for a cheesy, creamier texture- just add during the blending process.

Add a fresh squeeze of lemon to make more detoxifying and alkalizing.  You can also add more butter, coconut oil or even olive oil to incorporate some healthy fats and to add more of a creamy texture. Adding almond milk will also help that mission. Add salt and pepper, and any fresh herbs or spices you like. I had some fresh parsley and basil that I added in toward the end of blending. Once all blended up and tastes to your liking, pour in a sauce pan and heat on low-med to warm up, if needed.

Garnish with any of your favorite healthy toppings. I saved some asparagus tips to garnish with.

Serve, enjoy, and be thankful for the wonderful foods earth provided you with!

Health Benefits:

There are so many healing and detoxifying properties of each of the ingredients here. To highlight a few:

Asparagus –  contain many anti-inflammatory properties, as well as aiding in digestion and detoxification. Asparagus also helps control blood regulation and helps keep your heart healthy, as well as containing many anti-cancer properties. They also contains  anti-oxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals manganese, selenium and zinc.

Leeks– Leeks are a part of the Allium vegetable family, the same family garlic and onions belong to. Thus, they contain many of the same health supportive compounds, aiding in detoxification and alkalizing. Certain flavonoids in leeks protect our blood vessels, while  specific antioxidants help our vessels and blood cells from harmful oxidative damage. Leeks also promote a healthy cardiovascular system and help to counteract the harmful diseases caused from oxidative stress damage and low-level inflammation such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, inflammatory related issues, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Spinach– so many reasons to love this dark leafy green! It has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components and helps fight against cardiovascular problems. Spinach is loaded with Vitamin K, calcium and magnesium-all which help promote strong bones. It is also loaded with Vitamin C + A and Iron. Spinach is great for healthy skin and hair, among many other beauty benefits!

…I would be on here forever carrying on about all of the others.  Like I said, every single ingredient in this soup contains cleansing and health promoting properties.

So get to your local farmers’ market, whip up some vibrant green soup, and do something you love outside. Breathe in the fresh air and truly be aware and one with nature and all she has to offer. Don’t forget to take in and appreciate  each little bloom, bug and veggie that you come across 😉

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