18 Sep 2013
Everyone has heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Here’s why:
Every body needs a certain amount of fuel to perform the most basic functions, like breathing, circulating blood and oxygen through the body, adjusting hormone levels, and growing or repairing cells. The more you ask of your body (as in, the more exercise you do), the more fuel it needs. During sleep, your body performs all of these functions as it repairs and rejuvenates your body. And depending on when you last ate and when you wake up, you can go anywhere from 8-15 hours without eating. This leads to decreased glycogen stores and make your morning workout or routine harder.
Current research, including a review of studies dating back to the 1950’s, shows that eating breakfast is associated with better concentration, memory, and school achievement in children and adolescents compared to skipping breakfast. The brain is fueled primarily by glucose, the simple sugar also used as the body’s most readily available source of energy and found in most complex carbohydrates. Without an adequate supply of glucose, the brain does not function optimally, and skills like memory, alertness, and understanding of new information are negatively affected.
Eating breakfast habitually has been shown to reduce risk of overweight and chronic disease in children, adolescents, and adults. One study found that men who skipped breakfast were 20% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men who didn’t, and people who ate breakfast had lower rates of heart failure through their lifetimes. In addition, people who eat a nutritious breakfast are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout the day.
Athletes need breakfast to help them maintain a balanced energy intake and fuel the brain and body for a day of training and school or work. Breakfast is especially important if you workout in the mornings, as exercising after over 8 hours of fasting will result in lower energy levels, decreased performance, and poorer concentration. Basically, you won’t be able to go as hard, move as quickly, or focus as well as you would if you had some fuel in your body.
Eating before a morning workout can be challenging, but if you had a recovery snack and good dinner the night before, your glycogen stores will be better off, so even a small amount of food will make a difference. Because you often wake up as late as possible and are short on time, the key is finding something that provides enough energy, is portable, and that you tolerate well. Your daily breakfast should contain carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and fat, but an early morning, pre-workout breakfast should be lower in fiber and fat because these two can cause stomach discomfort if eaten in high amounts right before exercise. Some good options include a banana and a few almonds, apple and deli meat or jerky, dried fruit, a fruit smoothie with protein powder, or a Lara bar. But remember that you can eat anything for breakfast, so don’t feel limited to “breakfast foods”. If you want last night’s leftovers at 7 am, go for it. The best choice for your pre-workout breakfast will depend on how much time you have between eating and training and how well your body tolerates fat and fiber close to exercise.
10 Sep 2013
I know, it’s confusing. There are a bazillion different iterations of the paleo diet – some include dairy, some allow dark chocolate and added sugars in dried fruit, some are OK with paleo baked goods and some aren’t, etc. One thing most paleos do, though, is eat plenty of sweet potato, pumpkin, and winter squash but avoid the white potato. Why no love for the white potato in the paleo diet? Two words: glycemic index.
What Is the Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index is a number based on an equation developed by scientists a few decades ago to quantify the effect of various foods on blood sugar. The glycemic index of a food is essentially the effect of 50 grams of that food on blood sugar compared to 50 grams of white bread. High glycemic foods (like a bagel) cause the blood sugar to spike quickly and then drop off after a short time. Low glycemic foods result in a small increase in blood sugar that falls back to normal gradually. Below is one of my favorite visuals, a good graph explaining the effect of high and low glycemic foods
Low Glycemic Foods
High Glycemic Foods
White potatoes get a bad rap for being a “fattening”, nutrient deficient, processed food. Obviously, not all iterations of potatoes are healthy (here’s lookin’ at you, French fries). But potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrate and are a good source of several important vitamins. 1 baked potato contains more than 25% of your daily needs for potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C and are also a good source of magnesium. In addition, a new analysis by the Agricultural Research Service found that potatoes have compounds called phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Potatoes are an unprocessed source of complex carbohydrates that can be good for post workout recovery and provide some essential nutrients. Obviously, you can get those same nutrients from fruits and green vegetables in much higher amounts. The point is that potatoes are not the nutrient deficient bad guy they are often made out to be, and can be included in a healthy diet every now and then for variety. This, however, does not mean potatoes (or any chip made from a potato) “count as a vegetable” or that French fries are a good side dish for your bun-less burger. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on how you prepare the potato. A baked potato with a little grass-fed butter or chopped up piece of bacon is much better for you than chili cheese fries.
The take away: enjoy your mashed or baked potato every now and again. Just don’t eat it in place of your green vegetables or fruits.
03 Sep 2013
Happy September! Know what that means? Fall. Know what fall means? Pumpkins!When pumpkin stuff comes out, well, I’m happier than this camel on Wednesday.
These days fall is basically synonymous with pumpkin flavored goodies (thank you, Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte, for that). There’s pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins… one New York Times writer has even argued that pumpkin is the new bacon. (Don’t worry, he doesn’t argue that pumpkin is better than bacon.)
Pumpkins are fun to carve or paint and delicious to eat, but pumpkins and their seeds also offer some health benefits. Namely, pumpkins are
20 Aug 2013
Intermittent fasting (IF) has emerged as one of the many trendy diet options these days. Basically, “intermittent fasting” is the practice of periodically alternating between fasting – drinking just water and perhaps low calorie drinks like coffee – and non-fasting, i.e. eating normally.
IF comes in a variety of plans and structures. The most popular of these are:
Periodic Fasting – eat normally for 5 days of the week. For 2 non-consecutive days, reduce calorie intake, usually to 500-600 calories. You can spread out the calories into smaller snacks or eat one meal after 24 hours of fasting (so, say you started at 7 pm the night before, you could eat 500-600 calories at 7 pm the next day).
Restricted Eating Period – eat normally, but only for a set window during the day. Most people using this plan eat during an 8 hour window starting around 10 am – 12 pm and lasting until 6 – 8 pm. This essentially equates to skipping breakfast and making lunch your first meal.
13 Aug 2013
Ah, creatine. Some people love it. Some people think it’s steroids. There was a ton of research on creatine published in the 1990s – early 2000′s, and more has trickled in since then. Here I’ll give you an overview of creatine: what it is, what it does, how you take it, and the research on its effectiveness and safety.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a protein made up of 3 amino acids. It is found in meat and fish, and is also produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas and is stored in muscle cells.
What Does Creatine Do In the Body?
Creatine has a few important functions in the cell, including:
1. Provides readily available energy to skeletal muscles.
2. Helps reduce acid build up in muscles caused by lactate and Hydrogen during exercise.
3. Activates certain pathways that generate energy.
The recommended dose of creatine – the dose used in the majority of studies – is 20 grams per day (in 4 daily doses of 5 grams) for 5 days followed by 2-3 grams per day for up to 10 weeks. This is the dosage commonly tested in athletes, so it’s not known if the same dose is effective in non-athletes.
Effect of Creatine on Athletes
Abundant evidence has found that creatine in the recommended dose increased the amount of creatine in the muscles by 20% on average, but responses ranged from 0-40% and were influenced by the amount of creatine already present in muscles. Creatine has also been found to
- Increase body mass. Some research has attributed this to water weight, while other research has shown the gains were mostly in dry, fat free mass. Other research found that long term supplementation increases the diameter of muscle fibers without adding water. For the most part, research consensus suggest that the gains are mostly muscle mass.
- Enhance muscular force and power. One study found that creatine users saw an increase in bench press repetitions and power during jump squats compared to non-users and another found that creatine users increased their bench press, squat, and power clean weight volumes.
- Help maintain goal speed/work level on the last few repetitions or seconds of output.
Insulin (a hormone that helps the body use carbohydrates) is also thought to increase uptake of creatine, meaning that you may see increased benefits by eating carbohydrates (fruits, juices, and starches) along with a creatine supplement.
While the consensus is that creatine can increase body mass and enhance strength, endurance, and speed in power and strength athletes, little research supports its use among endurance athletes. Some research showed creatine use slowed runners in a 6 km run, most likely due to increased body mass, but another study suggested it could be useful in enhancing the short kick sprint at the end of a long distance run. For the most part, though, creatine is not associated with any performance benefits for longer duration endurance sports like distance running and soccer.
It’s also important to note that, while the research showing the benefits of creatine supplement for athletic performance, research with opposite findings are also prevalent. The thinking is that there is an upper limit to the amount of creatine the muscles can store, and evidence indicates that when high levels of creatine are ingested, the body responds by decreasing its production of creatine. So, a person with low natural levels of muscle creatine taking a supplement might see performance gains whereas a person with higher levels their muscles or who get a lot of creatine from food sources would see less or no improvement.
Is Creatine Safe?
There has been some speculation that creatine supplementation can cause kidney or liver damage. Several studies analyzing blood values indicative of liver health found no evidence that creatine could damage the liver. There has also been little evidence to suggest creatine causes kidney damage. Some adverse side effects including gastrointestinal upset. muscle cramps, and dizziness but these were mostly anecdotal, and no hard evidence suggests creatine was the culprit for these ailments. One case reported rhabdomyolysis (severe muscle breakdown), but this person was taking over 10 grams of creatine (a VERY high dose) for over 6 months before that occurred.
The other safety concern with creatine is based on food safety. While creatine is approved by the FDA, it is regulated as a vitamin or supplement and not as a food, meaning it’s hardly regulated at all. Because of this, manufacturers can add any number of ingredients and make dubious health claims without proving safety and/or effectiveness. Some creatine supplements have been found contaminated in recent years. Since it is widely available online and at a number of retailers, it’s important to exercise caution and look for supplements that have undergone third party testing.
The Bottom Line
Creatine is a useful performance aid in short duration, quick burst athletic exertions like sprinting and power lifting, and users have a low chance of experiencing serious or even uncomfortable side effects. Creatine should, however, be used with caution and in moderation as research into the effect of supplementation over a number of years is still needed.
06 Aug 2013
Note: I had planned on writing an awesome post on creatine for today. But on Tuesday I made the soul crushing discovery that I have misplaced the USB that has all of my research and documents from 2007 to the present, including all of the reports I’ve done on creatine. So, for now, enjoy this post about hydration, and stay tuned for said awesome post on creatine next week, when I either find my USB or have enough time to re-do all my research.
It’s been hot this summer. While we’re flirting with fall weather this week, the weatherman tells me the heat and humidity will be back by the weekend. Dehydration - when your body does not have enough fluid to function normally – happens when you lose more fluid, usually from sweating, than you are able to take in. You are considered to be in a state of dehydration when you lose 2-3% of your body weight in fluid. At a loss over 3% of your body weight – which for a 150 lb person is 4.5 lbs – you can begin to see impairment in motor function and mental ability – meaning you will start to feel confused, uncoordinated, and fatigued.
How much water do you need? On average you need about 30 milliliters (ml) of fluid per kilogram (kg) of body weight to maintain hydration. For most people this is around 2 liters, or the commonly suggested “8 glasses a day”. However there are many factors that can increase the amount of fluid you need. These include:
- Weight - People who weigh more need more water. So while a 120-pound athlete needs just under 7 glasses of water per day, his or her 180 pound coach would need a little over 10 glasses to stay well hydrated.
- Climate - Dehydration can occur in all types of weather. When it is hot you lose more water to sweat, and in colder weather you may not sweat as much but you will lose more fluid during breathing. Yes, you can lose fluid this way! The average person loses about 500 ml, or 2 cups, of water per day simply breathing. And according to one study, you can lose 42% more water, or almost a cup, when you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.
- Altitude also increases fluid needs, and experts recommend those exercising at higher altitudes drink 3-4 liters of water per day.
HYDRATION FOR ATHLETES
The number you just found is the amount of water you need before accounting for exercise. During exercise, you will need to drink some extra water. For optimal hydration, and give your body time to get rid of any excess fluid, drink 2-3 ml per pound of body weight 4 hours before exercise. Try to drink 8 ounces of water 15 minutes beforehand, and then continue to drink during the workout. A good rule is to drink enough water so that you feel energized and avoid thirst, but don’t drink so much that you feel full. This usually adds up to around 8-16 ounces per 30-60 minutes of exercise. After training you will have lost some fluid and need to replace it. Generally, the recommendation is to weigh yourself before and after practice, and drink 24 ounces of water for every pound you lost. After a few practices you will get an idea of how much you normally lose, and won’t have to do this very often.
Electrolytes also play an important role in hydration. The most common electrolytes are:
Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and maintains the proper function of nervous, muscular, and other systems.
Chloride helps maintain a normal balance of body fluid.
Potassium is responsible for regulating heartbeat and muscle function and is important in neuron function. Extreme high or low potassium levels can cause irregular heartbeat, which can be fatal.
Bicarbonate maintains the right amount of acidity in the blood and bodily fluids. *This is important because muscle cramping is most often related to an accumulation of acid in the muscles.
When you sweat, you lose electrolytes in addition to fluid. Gatorade, and most other recovery drinks, have 100-120 mg of sodium, and the following foods have at least that much, if not more, in a common serving size: salted nuts and seeds, trail mix, deli meat, eggs, most dairy products, canned tuna, humus, olives, pickles, and raw or cooked spinach. Most sports drinks contain about 30-90 mg of potassium, but this electrolyte can be replaced by eating foods such as raw nuts, yogurt, milk (or chocolate milk), fish, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, peaches, and melons. Most of the time, unless you are training for an extended period (greater than 90 minutes) or in very hot or humid weather, sports drinks are generally not needed to maintain hydration and electrolyte balance.
But…don’t overdo it! While it is important to maintain fluid balance and avoid dehydration, it is possible to become over hydrated. This happens when you drink significantly more water than is lost with sweat, causing sodium levels to drop. Your body likes things to be in a nice, balanced place, and when things get too high or too low your body will tell you. Low sodium levels usually mimic heat stroke symptoms, and let you know something is up with dizziness, headaches, nausea, irritability, and confusion. Over hydration happens primarily with endurance athletes (marathon runners or cyclists, for example) and as a power athlete your risk for this is not as high. But it is important to keep in mind, especially if you’ve been hydrating well in hot weather and still feel like you might have heat illness. If this happens to you, stop training, and have a sports drink or eat something salty.
23 Jul 2013
Clean sport. Athletes doing accomplishing amazing things with hard work and a solid, healthy diet. Or as baseball fans like to say about Babe Ruth “hitting home runs on beer and hot dogs” . But the past few years I feel like there is just one doping scandal after another. For every athlete like Ray Lewis or Ray Allen using a healthy diet to get the edge, there are athletes using the latest performance enhancing drugs/substances. The drug tests are getting more sophisticated and rules are getting tighter – as a college athlete I remember about taking an average of 3-5 times random drug tests per year. Drug tests are super fun and basically involve waking up at 5 am and walking/scootering to the Stadium so a compliance official could watch me pee in a cup. But hey, at least I wasn’t a pro athlete, so nobody ever showed up on my doorstep unannounced to watch me pee in a cup. But I digress.
This year alone we’ve seen a couple of scandals, including
- Lance Armstrong finally admit to doping, stripped of all 7 Tour de France titles, and sued a LOT
- ARod and several other MLB players suspended for illegal substances in connection with the Biogenesis lab in South Florida, most recently Ryan Braun of Milwaulkee
- Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell – for those who don’t follow Track & Field, these men are the 2nd and 4th fastest 100 m sprinters – tested positive for PEDs less than a month before the world championships
There are a lot of arguments for both sides. Some say we’re fighting an uphill battle and should just allow PEDs in professional sports. Others say technology is getting better and we should keep fighting to preserve clean, drug free sport. But it isn’t necessarily that black and white. Some things I tend to think about in this “gray area”:
1. I am a purist and I think all sport should be clean. I’ve been competing in something since I was 8 years old and never once did I consider taking something illegal. Then again, there isn’t a lot of pressure among gymnasts and women pole vaulters to take PEDs, and I never had the carrot of a multi million dollar contract on the line.
2. Anabolic steroids can cause health problems later on. We know they’re bad. But there are a lot of other “banned substances”, deemed illegal because they may enhance performance just a little too much. Olympic pole vaulter Brad Walker makes a great point about this here.
3. In 1994 the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) essentially deregulated the supplement industry, meaning athletes need to be extremely careful about what they buy. Supplements we think nothing of buying at CVS like fish oil, enzymes, or even cough medicine could contain a banned substance. As you notice, some of these are nutrition supplements, so it’s a Catch-22. As a dietitian I may recommend a fish oil supplement or BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) to reduce the stress competitive athletics puts on your body, but many of these supplements may contain a banned substance.
*If you’re curious, here is a list of banned substances from the WADA.
So, what do you think? Should we pursue clean sport, or legalize PEDs? What about CrossFit? Do you think there are people using PEDs in CrossFit, and if so, do you think they should undergo the same testing and regulation as other sports?
17 Jul 2013
What is Organic?
“Organic” means the food was produced with agricultural methods that facilitate cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and maintain biodiversity. Organic production does NOT involve pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering.
There are a few ways organic foods can be labeled. Foods that are made with all organic ingredients can use the USDA Certified Organic Seal And can claim “100% organic” on the front label. Foods made with 95% of organic ingredients – by weight, excluding water and salt – can use the claim “organic” and also display this seal. Foods that are labeled “made with organic ingredients” contain at least 70% organic ingredients. The can be listed on the font label and in the ingredients list but the organic seal cannot be displayed on the product. The below image provides a quick glance at organic labeling.
According to a review conducted in Brazil, some organic foods had slightly better nutritional content and durability, but more studies are needed to determine whether or not they are actually superior. (Sousa AA, Azevedo Ed, Lima EE, Silva AP. Organic foods and human health: a study of controversies. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2012 Jun;31(6):513-7.)
Another review, this time looking at the safety of organic versus conventional foods, found that there is not strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious compared to conventional ones, but they may reduce the exposure to pesticides and antibiotic resistant bacteria. (Smith-Spangler C, et al. Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66)
I also found a review conducted in Germany that focused on organic versus conventional dairy. The study added data from the last three years to an existing pool of data and found that organic dairy products are higher in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and have a higher omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio than those of conventional types. Typically, the Western diet is high in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats, but a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is thought to reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease. The authors suspect that these results are due to the differences in the way organic and conventional dairy cows are fed. (Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 19. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5639. [Epub ahead of print])
A study on the environmental impact of organic farming found that organic systems had lower nutrient losses and energy requirements but had higher nitrous oxide emissions and required more land than conventional farming. Most studies did show less environmental impact from organic farming than conventional farming.(Tuomisto HL, Hodge ID, Riordan P, Macdonald DW. Does organic farming reduce environmental impacts? – A meta-analysis of European research. J Environ Manage. 2012 Sep 1;112C:309-320. [Epub ahead of print)
And finally, there is the now infamous Stanford Study. Published a few weeks ago, this review of studies on conventional versus organic fruits and vegetables found that organic produce wasn’t overall any more nutritious or any less of a health risk than conventional produce, although it did lower the risk of pesticide exposure.(Smith-Spangler C, Brandeau ML, Hunter GE, Bavinger JC, Pearson M, Eschbach PJ, Sundaram V, Liu H, Schirmer P, Stave C, Olkin I, Bravata DM. Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66.)
Basically, what all this tells me is that organic produce has its benefits – like that it is more sustainable, better for the environment, and contains less pesticide residue. But this doesn’t mean eating conventionally grown foods are bad for you. While a conventional apple may have more pesticide residue than an organic one, it is still far below the level that the Environmental Protection Agency deems unsafe.
Focus on eating more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables overall, no matter how they are grown. If you can afford to buy every single item organic, and are inclined to do so, then obviously this is ideal. BUT, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t lose sleep over it. The health benefits of eating more fruits and veggies far outweighs the risks brought on by the amount of pesticide or bacteria on the item. Especially if you wash it well.
Now, if you want to start buying some organic foods, I suggest starting with milk and dairy, since research HAS shown organic dairy to be nutritionally superior. Next, move on to the fruits and vegetables known as the “dirty dozen”, which are basically items with either thin or edible skins that are most likely to transmit any pesticides on to you. These are:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
Finally, I’d like to make one last point about organic foods. A lot of people associate the word “organic” with “healthy”, but this is NOT always the case. For example, organic cane sugar is no better for you than normal cane sugar, and a brownie made with organic sugars and nuts will add just as many calories and sugars as a brownie made with conventional items. When you choose an organic item, except for dairy, it should be because you want to choose something produced with a lower environmental impact and less pesticides, not because you are looking for a “healthier” or “more nutritious” food.
What’s your take on organic foods? Must have, or waste of money?
10 Jul 2013
Up until this year I was not the biggest fan of kale. But since it started showing up in my CSA every week, I figured out what to do with it. Here are 3 of my favorite kale recipes. How do you prepare/cook kale?
1. Kale with dried apples
1 Bunch fresh, raw kale
1 TB olive oil
1/3 cup 100% pineapple juice
1/2 cup dried apple rings, chopped
Wash and chop kale, remove and discard the large stem from the center. Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute kale until wilted. Add pineapple juice and dried apples. Simmer 2-5 minutes.
Kale is a nutrient rich green vegetable, and makes a great side dish for your chicken, beef, or fish. Raw kale can be on the more bitter side (depending on whether or not you’re a bitter taster), which is why it’s often added to smoothies and juices, although some enjoy it as part of a salad. This recipe adds a little sweetness and makes 2-3 servings.
2. Kale and fruit smoothie
This smoothie will be bright green and delicious.
1 cup raw kale
3/4 cup milk (I used 1% organic cow’s milk)
16 chunks Trader Joe’s frozen mango
Blend milk and kale first until completely liquid. Add frozen mango and mix until blended.
3. Collard greens style
I originally made this recipe using collards, but since then I’ve used Trader Joe’s Southern Greens, beet leaves, and kale and it’s turned out great every time.
1 large bunch of raw greens
4 slices uncured bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Remove the leafy part of the greens from the hard stem in the center, and shred into 2 inch pieces. Cook the bacon over medium heat until done, remove and set aside. Discard or set aside all but 1 TB of bacon grease. Cook onion and garlic in bacon fat until onions are translucent. Add greens and stir in until cooked down. Then add spices, broth, and bacon chopped into bite size pieces. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add cider vinegar and simmer another 3-5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
03 Jul 2013
Nutritional value Fruits and vegetables have the most nutritional value (i.e. vitamins and minerals) when they are ripened on the stem and then picked. However, when they come from places far away, they are picked before ripeness and ripen along the way. So while they may gain color and size, they won’t gain nutritional value. This is one reason many people argue that fruits and vegetables don’t have the same nutritional content as they did 50 or 100 years ago.
Cost Seasonal produce is often cheaper for two reasons. For one, it grows more naturally in season and so requires less labor intensive care. Second, it often comes from a source closer to home. It’s easy to find USA produced strawberries and cherries in the summer for instance, but in February they all come from Mexico or Chile, which also adds the cost of transportation and gas to your grocery bill.
Flavor and Taste Fruits and vegetables taste better when they ripen on the stem versus in the back of a refrigerated truck. Buying seasonal produce means you get the most flavorful and tasty produce.
Sustainability This is a big buzz-word lately. But buying local, seasonal produce cuts down on the environmental impact of shipping food several thousand miles. It will also support your local farmer, keeping him in business to continue producing delicious fruit and vegetables.
What’s in Season When? Right now it’s summer, which means cantaloupe, cherries, corn, summer squash, champagne grapes, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, key limes, peaches, and strawberries to name a few. In addition, apples, bananas, celery, lettuce, carrots, onions, cherry tomatoes, and lemons among others are available year round. Visit the Fruits and Veggies: More Matters website for a complete list of spring, summer, fall, winter, and year round vegetables and fruits.
Find a Farmer’s Market! Nearly every city and town in America now has a farmer’s market. You can do a Google search or visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing Service Web Page for a searchable directory of farmer’s markets. Just enter your zip code and search!
I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend and enjoys some delicious seasonal foods!