It’s still summer and the weather is hot and sticky! Create balance in the pitta season by continuing to eat locally grown seasonal foods and being outside during the cool morning and evening hours.
August is tomato month and if you haven’t made homemade salsa or gazpacho, now’s the time! The main ingredients in both recipes are: tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs and spices of your choice!
Tomatoes can be red, green, yellow, orange, black, and purple…and everything in between; the more color the better for nutrient content and flavor. Tomatoes can be soft and juicy or firm…mix it up for the consistency you like. Be sure to keep the tomatoes on the counter vs. storing in the refrigerator, they taste better that way. Use this guide for how to store tomatoes and other produce:
Adding sweet and/or hot peppers will depend on your desire for the ’heat’. Learn how to avoid burning, stinging hands and skin when chopping and cleaning hot peppers at http://startcooking.com/hot-
Onions, scallions and garlic can be mild or strong…experiment in the kitchen and start with smaller amounts so you don’t overpower the recipe with the strong medicinal properties of the allium family.
Cilantro is a popular herb in salsa BUT some people have the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap! If that’s you, use flat leaf parsley instead.
Spices are added LAST because spices are DRIED substances from seeds, roots, bark or other vegetables and a small amount goes a LONG way baby! Common spices used in salsa are salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and paprika.
Here’s a simple recipe for either SALSA or GAZPACHO:
3-4 cups chopped tomatoes (all colors, all types)
1 pepper (red, green or yellow) seeded and chopped
3/4 cup chopped onion (red, green, yellow or white)
1/4-1/2cup fresh chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 chopped garlic clove
2 freshly squeezed lemon and lime(4-5Tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
From this basic recipe, add any of the spices mentioned in very small amounts. Whether you like your salsa or cold soup thin or chunky, just blend your ingredients more or less!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d rather eat and enjoy my food than use a pill, potion or powder to get these cancer fighting nutrients!
Try garnishing the salsa or gazpacho with plain yogurt or a couple slices of avocado. The probiotics in plain yogurt and monounsaturated fats in avocado taste good and help satisfy our appetite along with aiding in digestion, assimilation and absorption of the macro and micro nutrients in the fresh vegetables.
Take your salsa or gazpacho and eat outside! Food tastes so much better when are mindful of each bite. Eating slowly without distractions makes the eating experience memorable and makes us less likely to mindlessly overeat. Try to eat at least one meal per day away from your phone, computer or TV; maybe that means go outside.
Meditate by gently tuning in to your senses…seeing without really looking, hearing without listening and enjoy nature. Enjoy relaxing rather than rushing and your body will respond by decreasing the hormones insulin and cortisol, reducing stress and tension. Before or after you eat, take a 30 minute vacation outside and do nothing, absolutely NOTHING and enjoy what you feel, see, hear and smell during the summer.