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To Your Health

Eat

This summer, bring a splash of color to your table.

As someone who has been fascinated by and infatuated with food for as long as I can remember (and through subsequent chapters as a chef, restaurateur, author, teacher, consultant, and media expert), I have explored and navigated many denominations of food philosophy: vegetarian, vegan, raw, macrobiotic, Ayurvedic, locavore, pescetarian, gluten-free, and hybrids of each.

In sifting through these ancient and contemporary systems, each promising a diet for a long and vibrant life, you will find a number of guiding principles that most seem to agree on. Acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan sums up this collected wisdom in just seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Further, he seems to concur with my grandmother, who was big on eating a rainbow. Eating a colorful plate of food is a near-foolproof way to provide your body with all the essential vitamins and nutrients—including the antioxidants, phytonutrients, carotenoids, flavonoids, and others labeled with newfangled buzzwords. For joyful longevity and verve, I would only add to Mr. Pollen’s maxim, “Chew well, dine in good company, and enjoy every bite.”

Refreshingly Easy Summer Sippers That Pack a Nutritional Punch

Iced Green Tea Chai Latte

This refreshing iced chai tea uses antioxidant-rich green tea, creamy fresh almond milk, and an invigorating blend of spices that aid digestion. Using more than one sweetener yields a sweeter taste than one alone, so less overall sweetener is needed. For a quick fix if soaked almonds are not on hand, just use raw almond butter and blend.

2 green tea bags

2 cups boiled water

1 cup raw almonds, soaked 8 hours in filtered water, drained and rinsed, or 4 tablespoons raw almond butter

2 cups filtered water

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2–3 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste

2–3 tablespoons raw honey or agave nectar, or to taste

Pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Steep tea bags in hot boiled water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible. Let cool.

2. In a blender, combine cooled tea, almonds or almond butter, 2 cups filtered water, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, maple syrup, honey or agave, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Start with less sweetener and add more as desired.

3. Strain through cheesecloth, squeezing to extract as much liquid as possible.

Serve over ice or return liquid to blender and blend with ice for a frosty frappé.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free | Raw food friendly

Makes 4 servings

Watermelon Lime Slush

Watermelon, laden with hydrating electrolytes and the antioxidant lycopene, and lime, loaded with cell-protective vitamin C, are a refreshing match to keep you cool and nourished.

2 cups watermelon, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ cup lime juice

3 cups watermelon, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch cubes, frozen

1–2 tablespoons agave nectar or raw honey (optional)

Ice if needed

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

1. In a blender, blend 2 cups cubed watermelon and lime juice until smooth. 

2. Add frozen watermelon and blend until smooth and slushy. Add agave nectar or honey if desired. 

3. Add ice and blend for a thicker consistency.

4. Serve in tall glasses and garnish with mint leaves.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free | Raw food friendly

Makes 3–4 servings

 

Ginger Raspberry Honey Spritzer

This reviving spritzer blends the clean kick of ginger—so good for digestion and circulation—with bright, antioxidant-rich raspberries and enzyme-rich honey. Double the recipe, stash in the fridge, and just add sparkling water on demand for a refreshing pick-me-up all season long.

2 cups raspberries (fresh or thawed frozen berries)

½ cup filtered water

3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

5 tablespoons raw honey, or to taste

½ cup lemon juice

1 liter sparkling water, seltzer, or soda water 

1. Combine raspberries, water, and ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, covered. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in honey until dissolved, and let rest for 15 minutes.

2. Pour through a strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible.

3. Add lemon juice and chill in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. To serve, pour about ¼ cup of the concentrate in a tall glass, add ice, and top with 6–8 ounces chilled sparkling water, seltzer, or soda water. Stir and serve immediately. Store leftover concentrate in a sealed jar or container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free

Makes 6 servings

BONUS WEB RECIPES

DRINKS

Old-World Summer Sangría

Sangría is a fusion of love and life. Red wine contains a wealth of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant that safeguards cells and protects skin from UV damage. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes offer the highest concentration of this mighty nutrient. I recommend a lighter, fruity red wine to complement instead of compete with the addition of sweet fruit. Prepare several hours ahead for the flavors to have a chance to mingle and meld.

1 cup blueberries

3–4 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste

1 bottle dry, fruity red wine

12 grapes, halved

2 plums, pitted and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 peach, pitted and thinly sliced

1 orange, thinly sliced

1. Mix blueberries and maple syrup in a pitcher and muddle with a wooden spoon.

2. Add wine, grapes, plums, peach, and orange and mix.

3. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours for flavors to combine. Serve with ice.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free

Makes 4–6 servings

SMALL BITES: TAPAS, SALADS & QUICK DISHES

Summer Beauty Chop-Chop Salad

Here is a classic chopped salad bursting with summer flavor and a great variety of textures. The dressing and vegetables can be prepared ahead of time, though wait to toss in the avocado so it doesn’t brown.

Dressing:

4 Brazil nuts

3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar (or half regular balsamic + half maple syrup)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon umeboshi plum vinegar

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 small clove garlic

1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Pinch dried chili flakes (optional)

¼ cup filtered water

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Chop-Chop Salad:

1 carrot, finely diced

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

2 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 ripe but firm avocado, diced

4 radishes, trimmed and diced

1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and finely diced

2 scallions, finely chopped

¼ cup almonds, finely chopped

¼ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped basil

8 romaine lettuce leaves, cut along the rib and chopped

1 cup finely sliced radicchio 

1 endive, trimmed and sliced

1. In a blender, place Brazil nuts, aged balsamic and balsamic vinegars, umeboshi plum vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, thyme, oregano, sea salt, pepper, chili flakes if using, and water and blend at high speed until as smooth as possible. With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil in a slow steady stream until emulsified. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Set in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes or longer for flavors to combine.

2. Prepare remaining ingredients and toss together in large bowl.

3. Drizzle with half of the prepared dressing and toss, adding as much dressing as necessary to coat evenly. Serve immediately.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free | Raw food friendly

Makes 4–6 servings

 

Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing, Arame & Vegetables

Buckwheat soba noodles make this dish a nutty, gluten-free, nutrient-enriched delight. Arame seaweed is a champion source of precious minerals, trace elements, and protein. Miso is full of belly-beneficial probiotics and predigested protein, and it lends a complex savory, salty flavor. For a completely gluten-free dish, use tamari.

Dressing:

4 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar

2 tablespoons peeled, finely shredded fresh ginger

2 teaspoons white miso

Noodles & Vegetables:

12 oz. dried buckwheat soba noodles

¼ cup dried arame seaweed

Filtered water to cover seaweed

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced snow peas or snap peas

4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced 

1 carrot, cut into matchstick pieces

1 large English cucumber (thin skin), quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise

Dressing:

1. In a bowl or pitcher, whisk together sesame oils, tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup or agave, ginger, and miso until emulsified. Let stand for 15 minutes or longer to allow flavors to combine. This dressing can be made ahead and stored in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.

2. Cook soba noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse well. Transfer to a large bowl and toss noodles with dressing while still warm. Place in the fridge to begin chilling.

3. Cover the dried arame with filtered water and soak until soft (10–15 minutes). Drain and rinse.

4. Add arame, snow or snap peas, scallions, carrot and cucumber to soba noodles and toss to mix well. Chill in the fridge.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free

Makes 6 servings

Kelp Noodle Pad Thai

This rendition of pad Thai evokes a dynamic harmony of flavor and texture. Kelp noodles are a gluten-free, low-glycemic, low-calorie alternative to traditional rice noodles. Plus, for raw-food enthusiasts, they are a raw food! Look for them in the refrigerated section of natural markets and marinate them in lemon juice to help soften them. The creamy pad Thai sauce is absolutely divine and excellent to serve with any type of vegetable or as a dipping sauce.

Kelp Noodles:

2 12-oz. packages kelp noodles

Juice of 1 lemon

Pad Thai Sauce:

4 tablespoons raw almond butter 

2 tablespoons unscented coconut oil or olive oil 

2–3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

1–2 tablespoon lime juice, to taste

1–2 tablespoons chopped ginger, to taste

1 small clove garlic

½ to 1 Thai chili pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar (optional)

¼ cup coconut water or filtered water, or as needed to blend

Pad Thai Salad 

2 cups finely sliced green cabbage 

2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)

2 cups mung bean sprouts (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)

¼ cup chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons chopped almonds

lime wedges

Kelp Noodles:

1. Toss kelp noodles with the lemon juice and allow to marinate for 30 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse noodles.

Pad Thai Sauce:

1. In a blender, place almond butter, oil, soy sauce or tamari, lime juice, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, sweetener if desired and ¼ cup coconut water or water (if using coconut water, additional sweetener may not be needed). Blend until very smooth, adding additional liquid only as necessary to blend.

Pad Thai Salad 

1. Toss together drained kelp noodles, cabbage, and scallions. Toss with the pad Thai sauce and let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour for flavors to marry and noodles and vegetables to soften. Mix in mung bean sprouts just before serving to keep them crunchy. Serve garnished with reserved scallions and mung beans, chopped cilantro, chopped almonds, and lime wedges.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free | Raw food friendly

Makes 4–6 servings

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Pesto

Grilling corn in the husk yields tender kernels and a delectable natural sweetness. This cilantro pesto is a bright, flavorful complement to the corn and is also excellent served separately with other vegetables and grains.

6 ears of unhusked corn

1 cup packed cilantro leaves

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 tablespoon lime juice

1 scant teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Oil grill and preheat to medium high. Fill a large bowl with cold water.

2. Keeping the husks attached at the base, peel back the husks of each cob and remove the silk. Re-cover with the husk.

3. Soak the corn cobs in cold water for 5–10 minutes to prevent husks from charring too quickly.

4. In a food processor, place cilantro, garlic, pine nuts, lime juice, salt, and pepper and chop in pulses to combine well. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

5. Place corn, covered in its husk, on the grill. Cook for 3–4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for 3–4 minutes on the other side. Remove from the grill, let cool to touch, then remove husks. Return to grill and cook, turning to lightly char all sides, for about 5–7 minutes total.

6. Remove from grill and generously brush with pesto. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper if desired and serve hot.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free

Makes 6 servings

Quinoa Olive Tabouli

This tabouli uses nutty, protein-rich quinoa instead of bulgur wheat for a light yet satisfying gluten-free salad. Parsley is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants; flavorful olives are loaded with iron and phytonutrients; sweet, juicy tomatoes and cooling cucumber offer a wealth of antioxidants and minerals. Traditionally, tabouli is served at room temperature, and leftovers are delicious the next day.

1 cup quinoa 

2 cups water

1 cup Castelevetrano or other green olives, pitted and chopped 

1 1/2 cups parsley leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

4 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced

3 medium ripe tomatoes, diced

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tender romaine lettuce leaves (optional)

1. Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a bowl to cool.

2. Toss olives, parsley, mint, scallions, tomato, and cucumber with olive oil, lemon juice, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. 

3. Once quinoa has cooled to the touch, toss with vegetable and herb mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours), stirring occasionally, for flavors to develop. Serve with romaine lettuce leaves for scooping up the salad if you wish.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free

Makes 4–6 servings

Three-Bean Salad

Beans are a premium source of protein for clean-burning energy and cholesterol-lowering fiber. This nutrient-rich salad has great texture and flavor, combining buttery edamame, full of omega-3 and B-complex vitamins; mineral-rich hearty garbanzo beans; and fresh green beans loaded with carotenoid antioxidants and vitamin C.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced, or 2 teaspoons dried 

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed

1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well

½ cup thinly sliced red onion

2 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

¼ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces on an angle

1. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

2. Mix together edamame, garbanzo beans, red onion, scallions, celery, parsley, and cilantro. Toss with dressing mixture to coat. Set aside.

3. Bring a saucepan of water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Blanch green beans in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until tender and bright green. Drain and shock by running under very cold water or dropping in a bowl of ice water to arrest cooking and keep the color bright.

4. Toss the green beans with the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free

Yield: 6 servings

DESSERTS

Chia Seed Pudding with Fresh Peaches and Blueberries

This pudding is deliciously reminiscent of tapioca. Chia seeds are abundant in skin-beautifying omega-3, energizing protein, age-defying antioxidants, and soluble and insoluble fiber for healthy digestion to keep you full without weighing you down. 

¾ cup almonds, soaked in water for 8 hours, drained and rinsed

2 cups coconut water

Pinch sea salt   

¾ cup chia seeds

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean

2 tablespoons natural sweetener of choice—maple syrup, palm sugar, or agave—or to taste (optional)

1 ripe peach, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

1 cup blueberries

1. Place soaked almonds in a blender with coconut water and salt. Blend at high speed until smooth. Pour through a cheesecloth or fine strainer and squeeze or press to extract as much liquid as possible.

2. In a bowl, mix chia seeds with nut milk, vanilla, and sweetener. Let stand for 30 minutes or longer to gel. For a thicker pudding, use less liquid; for a less thick pudding, add a bit more liquid. Serve at room temperature or chilled, topped with peach slices and blueberries.

Dairy-free | Gluten-free | Raw food friendly

Makes 4–6 servings


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