'Tis the season now when all the Farm Stands and Farmer's Markets in the East End are overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables. How can you pass up on that perfect head of lettuce or those amazing peaches? There are heirloom beets and tomatoes, blackberries and cherries, kale and carrots, fresh corn and cucumbers... How can you eat them all? You don't want to waste all that goodness!
Several years ago Chef Bruce introduced us to the Wellness Foundation of the Hamptons and we signed up for their 6 week Wellness Challenge. The mission of the foundation is to "support individual efforts to improve quality of life through the integration of optimal nutrition, physical fitness and stress management" and their Challenge really works. For 6 weeks you meet in a group once a week and learn how to take control of your health through an active Vegan lifestyle.
My husband Gary, being a chef, was skeptical about the whole idea of a Vegan diet - no meat, fish, dairy, etc.. For years he had been creating healthy food, reducing the amount of salt and sugar and processed foods in the recipes he composed. So he challenged them in return - to teach him... Through books (try Dr. Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" & "Eat for Health"), movies (Food Inc. & Forks Over Knives) and positive results at the end of the 6 weeks, we were convinced - and so was our doctor!
One of the most exciting things we adopted out of this education was to start every day off with a healthy smoothy* or two. You actually absorb much more of the nutrients in fresh vegetables and fruit when they are liquified. So get a good blender, shop your way through those farm stands and think PLANT RICH DIET.
* Dark greens and fruits have the most antioxidants. Stay away from the tropical fruits as they contain a lot of sugar. Try a smoothy with a handful each of kale & romaine lettuce. Add an apple and a pear, some blueberries, a peach, a little ginger. Use black cherry juice & carrot juice for the liquid. So many variations to try... Enjoy life and live healthy!