Turns out I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel like eating as much in the summer as I do during wintertime. Eating habits change, and much of the influence has to do with the weather. Those living in beautiful Montana, as I did for a short while, will surely attest this — summertime heat waves not only change eating patterns but induce you into this dreamy state of lethargy, wherein you feel completely unproductive and totally don’t care about it.
However pleasant the feeling, you probably wouldn’t want to spend your entire summer doing absolutely nothing. The pineapple raspberry banana smoothie is a remedy of sorts for exactly this heat-related dilemma.
Back to my idyllic Montana years, living in the southwestern city of Bozeman (on that note, if you’re thinking of moving there, on account of this funny though acerbic article, you should seriously reconsider it), my solution to the summertime lack of appetite was eating loads of fruit- and vegetable-infused smoothies and salads. Very hydrating, thirst-quenching, and — in contrast to a hot soup of chicken broth — appealing during summer’s merciless heat.
By the way, has anyone else noticed that summers have been becoming bewilderingly hotter?! I mean, on some days I bet some of us would consider wearing nothing — unless you’re Karl Lagerfeld…
Back to the life-saving smoothie, let’s break down what makes it so great and summer-suitable.
Its appropriateness is a no-brainer, summer is the season of fruit and vegetable abundance. So, for anybody attracted by the eat-what’s-in-season lifestyle, smoothies are a great and easy way of enjoying summer for what it has to offer. And I mean smoothies needn’t be exclusively consumed as desserts (quick spelling tip: “desserts” — unlike the single s-ed and sandy ‘deserts’ — have two s’s because you always want more of them), besides treats, they can be eaten as breakfasts, lunches, or even dinners. Admittedly, the dinner-kinds need be slightly more protein-loaded, and likely more vegetable-rich — but still, the point is that smoothies are very versatile and can even be made to serve as meals.
The first ingredient in our smoothie creation is pineapple. Though these tropical guys don’t grow all year round (at least not where I’m at these days, that is Toronto), they’re still readily available. March to July is their prime time. Being very vitamin C-rich, pineapples are vital for the proper functioning of your immune system. It’s “a pineapple a day keeps the doctor away,” right?
Next up, raspberries. In season in Ontario June through to August. These cuties are loaded with quercetin and kaempferol, effectively making these little berries anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, cardio-protective, as well as anti-cancerous and anti-allergic!
Bananas — whose fact of us eating them Ali G infamously used as proof of our evolution from monkeys — are rich in magnesium (making them an excellent period food – besides leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, dried fruit, and dark chocolate), which is a mineral that helps keep blood-pressure levels in check, and whose deficiency is linked to insulin resistance, heart diseases, and osteoporosis (bone fragility). And did you know bananas’ peels are not only edible, but actually contain even higher levels of magnesium than bananas themselves? The easiest way to consume peels is to cut them up, freeze ’em, and drop into you smoothies!
Adding hemp hearts — yes! marijuana’s (nonactive) relative — to your smoothie will protein-boost it, like complete-protein-boost it. As well as charge it with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, the latter of which helps reduce inflammation, making these seeds sought after by sports people (so, like, totally not me). Hemp hearts’ lavish fiber and omega-3 fatty acid composure also makes the seeds a very viable substitute for meat-abstainers. These little, yellowish, grain-like kernels can be bought at your local health store, or on Amazon here.
Now that you got your “thick, smooth drink of fresh fruit pureed with milk, yogurt, or ice cream” (that’s smoothies’ official New Oxford American Dictionary’s definition for you, very aptly said indeed), sweeten it with honey! Make it the dark, raw, organic kind, and get it at your local farmers’ market — in my case, that’ll be St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market —, or better yet, go hunt it down, shirtless, in the wild forests of Montana. (Alternatively use maple syrup, which’ll de facto make it vegan.)
From my experience, adding lemon to a water base will give the smoothie a natural tangy taste, allowing all of the flavors to come out — feel free to substitute with yogurt and let me know how delicious it turns out!
Stay cool, stay in school, and drink your smoothies (to keep the doctors away)!
- 1.5 cup (350 mL) cut pineapple
- 1 cup (250 mL) frozen rasperries
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 2 tsp honey
- Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Garnish with frozen raspberries. This recipe will yield two servings.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of reading through the latest issue of Lodestars Anthology — an independently published magazine-meets-journal, printed biannually, with each volume taking an in depth look at a different country. Notably, the periodical’s name, ‘lodestar’ — consisting of the Old English noun ‘lode,’ which back in its day denoted ‘way’ or ‘course’ — refers to the star, especially Polaris, used to guide the course of a ship, though figuratively can also be used to refer to something or someone acting as a model or source of inspiration.
The focus of the number I got to sit down with was Scotland. And knowing nothing about it, I must admit that I walked away informed and inspired. Although, as I found out, Scotland is relatively small — land- and population-wise, in terms of the latter inhabited by merely 5.5 million people — the magazine managed to cover a breadth of topics and territories, painting an expansive picture of a deftly variegated land.
Helping you navigate this Scottish journey is a, very useful, illustrated map of the country, conveniently situated very near the magazine’s beginning, on which are marked the destinations the texts deeper within will be heading. Original illustrations are in fact prevalent throughout the anthology, offering diversity to the photo-exclusive magazine scene — though of course, picture-perfect photography remains at the heart of the project.
Its engaging copy — keenly informative though itself captivated by the folklore of the land it is exploring — is skillfully interspersed with meditative poetry. And though the aftereffect is undoubtedly edifying, this comes through not without its lighthearted dose of factlets — for instance, did you know that the bicycle was (most likely) invented by Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick MacMillan?
These bits of easily palatable pop-facts do not lessen the historical wealth and accuracy of the research driving much of the texts. Given Scotland being the focus, the penchant for history — and recurring praise of Scotch whisky! — is perhaps inevitable. As such, the perspective offered is wide and illuminating, framing Scotland’s quintessence through depictions of dilapidating medieval castles to newly emerging festivals.
Further enriching the narrative are insightfully vivid personal encounters with Scotland’s culinary scene — filled with surprises like hot marmalade pudding with Drambuie (a sweet, golden-colored, 40% ABV liqueur made from Scotch whisky, honey, herbs, and spices) custard served at The Three Chimneys restaurant on the Isle of Skye, or a Brooklyn-inspired goat cheese and apple double cheeseburger at the BlackHorn hamburger go-to in Saint Andrews — complimented with first-hand advice of where to spend your post-feast night.
Add to the growing list of pleasures within an interview — you guessed it, about the art of distilling world-class Scotch whisky — some more original artwork — specifically paintings, drawings, as well as photos of ceramics and tweed fabric — and a few introspective essays, and you have before you a collection capturing Scotland’s radiantly gray uniqueness while offering insider’s advice about where to eat, sleep, and, perhaps most importantly, get lost — not to mention, you’ll also leave knowing the name of the castle in which the film crew of the not-so-historically-accurate Braveheart hosted its 1993 after-party (hint hint: Stirling Castle).
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For the longest time, the high price tag of slow masticating electric juicers has been keeping me from purchasing one — until I heard of the Z Star manual juicer!
My eureka moment occurred while staring at my manual coffee grinder — I thought to myself: Since there’s such a thing as a manual coffee grinder, are there not manual juicers? Long story short, they do indeed exist! And are by definition — at least compared to the Breville-type 13,000-rotation-per-minute workhorses — slow. Which is in fact super important, and what makes quality electric juicers pricey, because the relative slowness of the machine allows for a low-temperature extraction, effectively preserving all of the healthy enzymes and vitamins which are otherwise killed by the inevitable heat created when a food’s body comes in contact with a ultrasonically fast rotor.
Many manual juicers however are intended for wheatgrass only. The amazing thing about the Z Star juicer is that not only can it process virtually all fruits and vegetables (I’ve tried everything from blueberries to beets — but I mean, peppers to potatoes should be no problem, I just wouldn’t drink that) the juicer lets you homogenize nut butter, frozen fruit sorbet, and salsa. Not to mention that there’s a special nozzle end-piece for squeezing out pasta-shaped dough!
Wonders, I know.
And spinning the crank isn’t hard, nor does it take long. Part of the reason is the juicer’s thoughtful built, most of which is designed out of BPA-free plastic (funny thing, in the beginning I thought that’s bad, believing that, you know, quality’s all about things being casted out of impenetrable heavy-duty metal, but turns out not at all, quite the opposite, those metal bulletproof tanks are quite heavy and can become impossible to turn). Needless to say the d-u-r-a-b-l-e plastic makes it light, compact, and easy to clean. One of its main features is its specially designed auger (the rotating blade that squeezes the living juice out of the things that get caught in its blades), which, due to it being extra-long, helps extract a very high yield of juice. This auger sits tightly within a two-stage perforated metal screen (the part which holds back the flesh and lets out the juices). Both the auger and the screen live securely within the plastic housing, whose two parts join together like a Russian matryoshka doll, forming a nested whole which then connects to the main metal body. Then on goes the funnel plate piece at the top, nozzle at the front, and crank (also made of quality metal — durable but not heavy) handle at the back. The assembled unit is attachable via a rubber-padded clamp, so that whatever you mount the juicer to stays scratch-free and pretty. Finally, place the juice collection cup underneath and near the middle of the juicer, an empty bowl (only thing not included) for collecting the pulpy fiber in front of the nozzle, and use the produce pusher to — as the name implies — push stuff down the throat of the funnel.
Once you’ve juiced, disassemble the unit — all the parts can be washed (in the sink, not the dishwasher) except for the main metal body, crank, and clamp. A cleaning toothbrush-like brush is included for cleaning the metal screen, so it’s easy enough, although if you’re having trouble getting the fruit and vegetable flesh out of the tiny holes try soaking the screen in water before scrubbing it.
A piece of juicing advice: alternate between densities of the stuff you’re pressing. So if for example you’re juicing something soft, like apples, pushing a carrot through time to time will help the pulp come out and keep the juices flowing.
Although I stand by saying that cranking it is easy enough, if you’re a do-it-all-at-once sort of gal or guy and are determined to prep a year’s worth of carrot juice within a single evening (a Guinness World food record kind of a feat), perhaps consider getting the Solostar motor attachment.
Now that you’ve got your juicer, try our irresistibly delicious green juice recipe!
I always found egg classifications confusing. Between ‘free range’ and ‘free run’ I’d assume that the running kinds are freer. Turns out it’s the other way around. The freely ranging ones are the lucky ones, because unlike their free-to-run-in-their-cages-only colleagues they’re allowed to roam outside…
I also always found it funny how an egg is really a chicken’s menstrual cycle.
After a year of eating eggs, I began to wonder, considering the whole ovulation period thing, that perhaps eggs have estrogen. Turns out they do! (The yolk specifically.) They have these quasi-estrogens called phytoestrogens, basically estrogen occurring naturally. And considered beneficial in diets: “Phytoestrogens may have protective action against disorders like prostate, breast, bowel, and other cancers, cardiovascular disease, as well as brain function disorders.”
Cool you say, yes it is! Eggs and chickens are amazing. And like all life should be treated exceptionally. Probably provided much more than free range chickens get…
I was recently in Poland. I went to see Krakow, one of Europe’s uber cool hotspots, and for a few days were sight seeing the little towns outside of the city.
Turns out most people living in this country’s countrysides have chickens! Such smart and beautiful animals. The freer the happier—they and their eggs.
The Polish chickens I got to hang out with are super happy, basically living in nature, so more free than ‘free run’ or ‘range,’ more like ‘free free’ chickens.
The eggs were delicious—I promise you’d love them!
What they eat makes such a difference. These guys here eat grass, compost, and grains—and hatch between 1-2 eggs a day. I wonder why this varies?
What’s the bottom line, the take away, the teleological didacticism of all this? Happy chickens = happy eggs.
What other things do you think will make the world a better place?