It's here! Summer produce is both ripening and sweetening and it just feels right to do a deep dive into some of the benefits of our favorite summer fruits, in particular. Here's a snapshot of what we have in our kitchen at the moment. On any given day, we're adding melon, blueberries, plums, and nectarines to the mix too. (Not to leave vegetables out or anything, but they'll have to just get their very own post once tomatoes come onto the scene). So here goes!
High in vitamin C (very high, in fact) and fiber and especially sweet this time of year, chow down if you feel a summertime cold coming on. My favorite way to eat them is in smoothies with banana and peanut butter (yup)!
Also a decent source of vitamin C and fiber, peaches pack a punch in the potassium category too. We need potassium to keep our muscles healthy, so peaches would be a good choice as an after-workout snack (paired with protein, of course). I love a juicy peach and blueberry cobbler myself.
Turn to these little babies when you need a boost for your skin because they are high in Vitamin A. Apricots provide a nostalgic flavor to me since I grew up with a flourishing tree in my backyard. I love chopping ripe apricots up into oatmeal with a little cinnamon or nutmeg in the mornings.
These sweet bursts of flavor keep up with berries and stone fruits on all fronts: in Vitamins A, C, potassium, and fiber levels. Additionally, some say cherries can help with insomnia, as they can increase melatonin production (specifically in the form of tart cherry juice). My favorite way to eat 'em, though? Straight outta the bowl.
There are a whole slew of detoxes out there, but I wouldn't survive for 6 hours on any detox that doesn't let me chew my food. This isn't to say I'm 100% against detoxes, though! Sometimes when we've had limited control over our food choices (for instance, after saying as a guest at someone's house or traveling extensively), our bodies begin to crave those unhealthy carbs that we know are slowly making us feel inflamed, irritable, and heavy. Here's why I developed my one week sugar detox:
-This plan allows you to eat real (tasty) food.
-Taking on a week-long project like this will kickstart regaining control over sugar cravings.
-You can do anything for a week!
How do you know if a sugar detox is a good idea for you? Well, if you're experiencing one of the symptoms I just mentioned above, that might be a good indicator. If you are in a place where you can't get through the day without dessert, that's another indicator. Sugar is very addictive and very harmful to your health...I won't even bother linking you to evidence. All you have to do it Google it. Sorry to be harsh.
Now, the idea is to eventually take on a diet low in added sugar, meaning that once you get through this detox, you'll be able to add back in fruit, honey, maple syrup, and other unrefined forms for sugar. But for one whole week, my recommendation is to stay very low carb (as carbohydrates turn to glucose--sugar). You'll feel for a time like you're giving up more that just sugar, but after the week is through, everything BUT the refined sugar can be added back in (slowly is best)! Honestly, after your sugar detox, a piece of fruit will taste insanely like candy and you'll be in a much stronger place to resist refined sugar for good. Often, it feels more hopeful to focus on the foods you can eat during a project like this one, but to simplify the guidelines, I'll lay out the "no"s first. Stay away from:
-Sugar, in obvious forms (dessert)
-All grains and starchy vegetables
So...what can I eat? Plenty! Remember: you can do anything for a week. When I sugar detoxed, I made a point of splurging on fancy nuts, cured meats, and delicious teas so that when I was really craving chocolate or cheese, I'd have something new to distract me. That reminds me of an important point--the sugar detox week requires careful preparation (meal planning and grocery shopping) and cooking from home. Don't take this project on during a week when you can't prepare your own food; you'll feel miserable. Here's a sample menu for a day on sugar detox:
One egg and sugar free (read those labels) breakfast sausages with a side of sliced cucumber and tomato
Coffee with coconut cream (in moderation)
Cashew bread (look for a recipe that's mainly cashews and eggs), topped with vanilla-infused coconut oil
Paleo Cobb salad (romaine, organic cherry tomatoes, organic bacon pieces, a cage free hard boiled egg, scallions, and a dressing of pureed avocado, olive oil, lime juice, and salt)--pictured above
Organic celery sticks with all natural peanut butter
Sugar free almond meal biscuit (lots of recipes out there!)
See? Plenty of options! You'll want to watch out for a couple of things. For one, know how many eggs you can handle in a week. I personally can't eat them every day for digestive issues, so if you have high cholesterol or an egg sensitivity, you might want to eat stir fried veggies and a white meat sausage for breakfast instead. Also, the point of a detox is to rid your system of toxins...so you need to be drinking a ton of fluids during your sugar detox if you want to effectively cleanse your system of it. Lastly, listen to your body. If your stomach reacts negatively to all the fatty foods, stick to the basics: lean protein and vegetables. Lots of vegetables.
What do you think? Are you game to try this? I know my sugar cravings were much more manageable after I took this project on and...true confession, I only did it for 5 days. 7 days would be best, but even if you challenge yourself to a few sugar free days, your body will tell you one way or the other if it's working. Feel free to reach out if you're interested in this project or have questions about it! You CAN do it.