How to get through summer happy and healthy
Although the really hot humid weather has not yet started, summer officially arrives later this month. With warmer temperature in sight and longer days ahead, it is time to enjoy patio-season (or perhaps a drink in the quietness of your own porch or backyard). Finished work and heading outdoors to meet up for a drink? Have a quick read here on some summer tips that won’t ruin your mood nor your health:
Have some food in your stomach.
Before having that simple glass of wine or refreshing cold beer, have some complex carbohydrates, proteins or fats. Since alcohol is a simple sugar that is quickly absorbed, having some food in the stomach delays alcohol absorption and does not spike blood sugar levels. Consider having some vegetable sticks dipped in some nut butter or guacamole or nut and seed crackers with some cheese. You can also drink a small amount of olive oil before going out which coats the stomach. Not a big fan of drinking straight olive oil? Take a capsule of evening primrose oil which can act as protective layer for the stomach as well.
Whether you have that stout beer, French wine or amaretto sour, the liver metabolizes 95% of alcohol consumed. When alcohol enters the bloodstream it bypasses the digestive tract and goes straight to the liver. Among the 100 functions of the liver, one is the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Once alcohol comes into play, processing carbs, proteins or fats is being put on hold. This can result in weight gain and decreases the ability of the liver to deal with other toxins.
Although this process always happens no matter what type of alcohol, you can reduce your toxic load by looking at quality. If you have a choice, select local craft beer or organic produced alcohol to avoid intake of added ingredients. In wine and beers we can find a range of additives such as sulphites, GMO-corn, caramel colouring to name a few. In beer the main ingredient is usually a type of grain, water and yeast. If you have a gluten-intolerant, opt for dry ciders, being mindful of the sugar content in many sweeter ciders. So far there is no ingredient labeling enforced, so it is difficult to know what is in a bottle or can unless you ask or contact the manufacturer.
Enjoy the sun in moderation
This won’t be news but sitting in the sun too long (even with sunscreen) ages the skin, weakens the immune system and can encourage tumor growth. Although the sun’s ultraviolet rays are helpful for absorption of Vitamin D, they are more dangerous than 20 years ago due to the thinning of the ozone layer. Find a spot in the shade or wear a hat and cover up. Wearing sunscreen blocks out some of the UVA and UVB but not all of it. Additionally many sunscreens are chemically based and add more toxicity to the body. Read more here about harmful sunscreens.
BBQ Beyond Meat
Smelling that deliciousness in the air of barbeques getting fired up? Think beyond meat and try grilling some cold-water fish. Avoid any smoked, cured or pickled animal protein as these contain nitrates* and can be detrimental to your health. Try a vegetarian BBQ by roasting Portobello mushrooms and season with oregano, basil and marjoram. To top if off you can sprinkle mushrooms with goat cheese or nutritional yeast for a vegan alternative.
Make vegetable skewers from chopped up peppers, pineapple, and zucchini. Also try slicing up root vegetables in thin strips such as turnips, yams, carrots, and rutabaga. Put these on early during your BBQ as they might take a while before they turn soft. BBQing root vegetables is a fantastic way to meet complex carbohydrate needs and adding fiber to your diet. As a dessert soak some apples or pears in ice water with freshly squeezed lemon and briefly place on a clean rack on the BBQ. Sprinkle with some cinnamon and honey and you have a delightful BBQ dessert.
Probably the most challenging of all is to actually really be there: whether it is sitting on that patio with your friends, by yourself in the garden or meeting up with family or colleagues. Checking in with yourself what it is that you need in that instance or perhaps realizing that it is already there without the need to take an extra drink or bite. Taking time to listen to yourself and others and enjoying the moment that is. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “ We are always getting ready to live but never living”.
Wishing you a happy and healthy summer!
Nitrates in small amounts are found in spinach, celery, beets and other greens. Nitrates used for curing meats or fish can be harmful to the body as it converts to nitrite and can form into nitrosamines in the body, which is a carcinogen.