The Summer Foodie

One of the best things about summer is eating fresh produce in season. Nutritionist and Kripalu presenter John Bagnulo, PhD, MPH, highly recommends buying organic, especially for produce contaminated with the highest levels of pesticides and herbicides, known as the Dirty Dozen. (That list, compiled by the Environmental Working Group, currently includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines [imported], cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas [imported], and potatoes.)

Kripalu Executive Chef Jeremy Rock Smith says his favorite summer foods include watercress, arugula, tomatoes, fava beans, zucchini, green beans, berries, and melon. Kripalu Lead Nutritionist Annie B. Kay loves basil this time of year—great to add to salads and for making pesto.

“Basil and other green herbs are incredibly balancing biochemically,” says Annie. “Those wonderful flavors in herbs are from their volatile oils and flavones—phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing qualities.”

She also recommends tulsi. Sanskrit for “holy basil,” tulsi is one of the most sacred plants in India and a favorite among Ayurvedic practitioners for its purifying and antibacterial qualities. It helps fight off everything from colds and allergies to headaches and fevers, and makes a tasty tea.

There are few things simpler or more delicious than a ripe summer tomato. Eat them plain or with a drizzle of olive oil.

While it goes without saying, perhaps the most important thing to remember this summer is to drink lots of water. Depending on the heat, how active you are, and how much you sweat, you’ll likely find yourself more thirsty than usual. While the general rule is to drink about eight glasses a day, it really depends on the person.

To liven up your water, try adding a slice of cucumber or lemon to add flavor. In the summer, Larissa Hall Carlson, Kripalu Schools faculty member and former Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, switches from lemon to lime, which is slightly less sour and easier to digest during the pitta season. Larissa also recommends watermelon and coconut water for staying hydrated. Have a happy, healthy summer!

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