It’s Heating Up – Hydrate Your Body With Plant-Based Foods

 

The best, most efficient way to keep your body hydrated is to drink water. As I discussed in my blog post “Infused Water – Stay Hydrated this Summer”, drinking water is a good thing to do but not very exciting so most of us don’t drink enough. Still, water does its job and has no calories, so if you want to hydrate your body and watch your calorie intake, plain old water is for you.

HOWEVER, if you want to add a little zest to your daily water requirements, here are some great ways to hydrate your body with plant-based foods. Just clean and enjoy. It’s just  that simple.

  • Watermelon has a very high water content – 92%. And, it is so sweet and delicious. And, it is very nutritious, And, it is very affordable this time of year. Best part: watermelon is very, very low in calories. So what’s not to love about watermelon? Need more: it is an excellent source of lycopene – a carotenoid that has been found to help protect against free radicals, enhance the functioning of our immune system and promote eye and lung health. (kind of important, right) AND it is an excellent source of vitamin C. Boom!
  • Canteloupe has a water content of 90%. It, too, is incredibly delicious and nutritious; and also low in calories – 1 cup = 56 calories. Awesome! Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A & C and beta-carotene (another carotenoid phytonutrient).
  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, to name a few, also have high water content – from 88% to 91% – and are rich in vitamins, fiber, and phenolic phytonutrients. Berries are convenient, readily available, versatile, and extra-super delicious. They are perfect “little finger” foods for children, are just right for a mid-day snack, fit nicely into a packed lunch and are one of the best “sharing” foods.
  • Cucumbers are one of my favorite veggies. They are crisp, cool and refreshing. Cucumbers have a whopping 96% water content; that must be why they are so compatible with revitalizing drinks such as infused water. Additional benefits to eating cucumbers include: they are high in vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin A, folate, potassium ad manganese; and, if you need more incentive to choose this scrumptious plant-based food, they are low in calories. 1 cup = 14 measly little calories.
  • Celery is another favorite summertime plant-based food that will help keep you hydrated. Celery is 95% water and is an excellent source of vitamins K and C. I love the crunchy nature of celery and it serves as the perfect vessel for almond or peanut butters. It is a portable snack perfect for dipping and, BONUS, it is really low in calories – almost hardly worth counting!
  • Radish is the little veggie that is often overlooked; but when you discover how uniquely tasty it is, you’ll wonder its not always in your fridge. I love the peppery flavor it adds to my salads. Radishes have many great nutrients such as vitamin C & B6, copper, manganese, and folate and is an incredible source of fiber. Again, I sense a theme here, radishes are very high in water content – 95% – and a calorie-watcher’s friend; only 9 calories in 1/2 cup. I recently enjoyed some black radishes. Their flavor profile was not much different from the red radishes we see commonly in grocery stores, but I loved them for the color they added to the plate.

There are plenty of other delicious, nutritious, low calorie, plant-based foods that can help you hydrate your body. Spinach (91%), cauliflower(92%), tomatoes(94%), broccoli(90%), sweet peppers(92%), zucchini(95%), apples(84%), grapefruit(91%), eggplant(92%) Add some to your meals every day along with drinking some fresh, clean, delicious, infused water, and you’ll have no problem meeting or exceeding your body’s water needs.

Got some great suggestions for hydrating with plant-based foods? Share them with Jazzed Up Veggies and our readers by commenting below.

****Please take a moment to open and view the graphic below. It contains some important food safety tips for fresh produce.

Tips for food safety of fresh produce

Eat Great Food this Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Blog Post

Labor Day Weekend is seen as the last big hurrah of summer. Children are back to school, sports and recreational activities begin their Fall programs, and workplaces seem to pick up the pace now that everyone is back from summer vacation. The 3-day weekend gives us an opportunity for one more gathering in the park, a pool party in the back yard, or a road trip to the beach.

summer
Ahhh, summer, it’s hard for us to let you go!
Food is usually a central theme at holiday celebrations. Sharing good food with friends and family is part of our social fabric; yet, when it comes to packing our picnic baskets and filling our coolers, our understanding of the importance of nutrition seems to disappear. Let’s be honest; potato chips, colas, sweets and fried things are common fare for picnics. I’ve even heard these foods referred to as “treats”. Yet, the vast majority of these foods are nothing more than high fat, high sugar, high sodium, high calorie, low value, unhealthy choices.


Disturbing facts: By the end of 2015, potato chip sales  just in the U.S. will exceed $4.5 billion. One 6.75oz package of potato chips, 1 very small bag, has 1085 calories, 73 grams of fat, a whopping 1071 milligrams of sodium. Most people do not limit themselves to a 6.75oz serving.


 

Better Picnic Basket Alternatives

Here are some suggestions for your weekend celebration. Each one is easy to prepare, budget-friendly and definitely nutritious. Preparing these recipes together is an excellent opportunity to make nutrition a family affair.

Black Bean Burgers: Jazzed Up Veggies
Tabouleh Salad: Jazzed Up Veggies
Hummus: Jazzed Up Veggies
Chickpea Spread: Jazzed Up Veggies
Sangria: Jazzed Up Veggies
Dessert: Jazzed Up Veggies
Best Kale Chips: Recipe by Angela @ohsheglows.com
Sweet-Potato Chips: Simply slice sweet potatoes very thin, toss with a very small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Bake on cookie sheet slowly at 250 degrees for 1.5 – 2 hours.
Flip once.
Raw Veggies: carrot sticks, cucumber slices, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, grape tomatoes, red pepper sticks, celery boats, & shelled edamame. Our Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread recipe makes a great dip for raw veggies or make some garlic hummus.
Nuts & Seeds: raw cashews, almonds, shelled sunflower seeds, and pistachios are great choices
Water: Keep everyone hydrated with infused water.

Enjoy your weekend. Breathe deeply, relax, make memories with family and friends, and nourish your body. Moments like these really nourish our souls.

Infused Water – Stay Hydrated this Summer

We chose the name “Jazzed Up Veggies” for two reasons: we wanted to demonstrate plant-based cuisine can be fun and creative and infusing a little music into our lives is just a very good thing. It is officially summer now and for those of us in the desert it is here with a vengeance. Let’s set the summer mood first and enjoy a taste of my very talented husband’s original music. This is Summer Nights from Graham Berry’s 2013 Album Quintessence Graham’s album is available on iTunes. Just click the link.Enjoy!


Great music, right? Now, let’s talk about water. We all know it is essential to life; but do you know just how essential? We can survive for several weeks without food, but we can only survive a few days without water. Here are some important stats:

Our bodies are made up of about 60% water
Our brain is 75% water
Our muscles are 75% water
Our bones are 22% water
Our blood is 92% water

I don’t need to say much about how critical it is to keep our brain functioning well, right? And we sure know it when our muscles are dehydrated (Ouch, leg cramps). Here are some important things you may not have given much thought to about our blood: blood transports essential oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies, provides protection against bacteria and viruses, and helps regulate our body temperature.Now, think about what the consequences are of not staying hydrated: oxygen and nutrients will have a hard time getting to our cells (very bad), our resistance to infections and illness will weaken (also very bad), and our ability to regulate our body temperature during these hot summer days will diminish (very, very bad especially in extreme climates). This is serious stuff!

We know what we need to do.Trouble is, water is just not that exciting. Instead we find ourselves drinking juice, or caffeinated beverages, or Heaven forbid, soda. (Please, please, please don’t drink soda. There are no redeeming qualities to soda. It is simply full of GMO sugar and chemically developed flavors that have absolutely no relationship to real food. Nothing good can come of drinking this stuff. Sorry for the rant.) Anyway, juices are good but they are high calorie options. Given the amount of fluid we need every day, you will be packing on the pounds if you make juice your water substitute. Caffeinated beverages (tea and coffee) taste good and have some good qualities, but caffeine is dehydrating; so we defeat the purpose by drinking these as a substitute for water.

Bottom line – there is no good substitute for water.

However, we can make water much more interesting by infusing it with fruits and or herbs. Getting your daily requirement of water won’t seem nearly so difficult when it is flavored with the best of the summer season. Here’s how:

Lemon Organic Lemon is so bright and refreshing and is the #1 recommendation for infused water. Wash well and cut half the lemon into thin slices and add slices to a pitcher of filtered water. Allow to infuse for at least an hour in the fridge. Many practitioners recommend you drink a full glass of lemon infused water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Lemon water will get your body ready for the day by charging up the metabolism and flushing out toxins. Lemons are high in vitamin C and have great antioxidant properties. They are also very low in calories – BONUS!

There are so many ways you can enjoy infused water. You can add slices of just one fruit such as orange or experiment with combinations such as grapes, raspberries and mint. Have some fun. Remember the objective is to drink more water and to enjoy it.

PS: There are many beautiful vessels to keep your infused water in. You can use a simple water pitcher or one of the special vessels available in many shops. I recommend you purchase glass vessels; but if you purchase plastic please be sure it is BPA free. Plastics can leach toxic chemicals into your drinks so purchase with care.