[Spectacular Summer Smoothie is vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 3 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]
My mom was the original Sun Worshipper. In fact, apart from her famous Chiffon Cake, when I think of my mom, the image that usually comes to mind is of her lounging on a deck chair, soaking up the sun.
Every summer, our family spent about a month in the country, renting a cottage in Val Morin, just north of Montreal. When cottages became too expensive, we switched to a country hotel/resort in St. Donat (my dad supplied their meat, so I suspect he got a hefty discount).
My mother, my sisters and I all piled into the station wagon with my dad (and a load of beef, chicken and cheese in the back) to make the trek to “Mrs. Strober’s.” (I have no idea what the actual name of the place was; we always associated it with the owner/cook). The hotel was just like a country cottage, except massive. The white clapboard walls sported peeling paint, and rudimentary, unadorned furnishings inside had clearly seen better days. But it was clean, and there was a lake nearby, and lots of green space all around it; and it had a patio with metal tables and Adirondack chairs, which is where my mother spent most of her days.
She’d lounge by the patio tables, always folding up the umbrella to ensure she got as much sunshine as possible. Days were spent either playing cards with her girlfriends, or reading one of the many Harlequin romances she loved, or simply chillaxing with her face tilted back, like a tulip opening each morning toward the sun.
Although we kids rarely interacted with our parents except for mealtimes, I couldn’t help but notice that, as the days passed, Mom’s skin went from oatmeal beige, then to biscuit tan, and finally, by mid-August, to dark-as-burnt-sugar toffee. That’s when wrinkles on her chest began to appear, crinkled lines tracing across her cleavage like those on a well-worn handbag.
Of course, we kids loved Mrs. Strober’s, too, literally counting the days until we were free from school and could head up north for a whole month. We spent our days running around the property, dipping in the lake searching for guppies, roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories by the huge on-site campfire. Every day, we waited patiently for 4:00 PM to arrive, when towering plates of home-baked chocolate chip and cinnamon-sugar cookies were served (for free! take as many as you like!) in the hotel lobby. By the end of the summer, my skin, too, had been toasted by the sun, my bathing suit straps leaving thick white stripes over my shoulders and my arms and legs dotted with dabs of calamine lotion, like some cartoon dalmation with pink spots.
And while the food was authentically “home-cooked” and much like what we ate at home, the desserts were way beyond what my mother ever baked, or even bought. Three-layer chocolate cakes, four kinds of cookies all served at once, your choice of ice cream in five varieties–and fresh fruit that, would I see it today, I’d swear was genetically modified. The berries were so much larger and intensely colored than anything we’d see in the stores. Blueberries the size of marbles, strawberries as red as roses, deep ruby watermelon so juicy you’d drench the front of your bathing suit eating just one slice, requiring a second visit to the lake after dinner to wash it clean.
To me, summer’s fresh fruit is still the quintessential sign of the season. I think of summer as a time to eat lighter (I could never eat those heavy hotel dinners every day for a month any more!). Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables offer my metabolism a periodic rest and are easier on the digestive system. I love mixing up smoothies, puddings, ice creams and juices, or just eating all the glorious, colored berries straight out of hand for a real treat.
This smoothie is so easy and quick, it will evoke all the best memories of summer in one glass. Watermelon provides the anti-inflammatory compound, lycopene, the same antioxidant found in tomatoes (and watermelon is one of the foods highest in this compound–the best fruit source). Strawberries are a formidable source of Vitamin C and provide a slew of other health benefits. Cucumber is extremely alkalizing and can help to rehydrate your body during these hot summer days while providing Vitamin K and scavenging free radicals at the same time. And mint, in addition to its refreshing flavor and use as a digestive aid, actually contains anti-microbial oils, helping to guard against unfriendly organisms like H Pylori or fungi (goodbye, candida!).
Yep, you get all this in a smoothie that both nourishes your body and allows for gentle detoxification (with a break from heavier foods) at the same time.
Of course, along with the fresh produce, I also love the summer heat. Seems I’ve inherited my mom’s love of being in the sun and feeling the rays on my skin. Let’s just hope I don’t inherit the “skin that looks like an aged purse” tendency, too.
Spectacular Summer Smoothie
A great way to enjoy the quintessential tastes of summer. This makes a light snack smoothie, but feel free to add protein powder or more hemp seeds for a protein-rich drink.
1/2 small or 1/3 large cucumber, peeled (about 6″ or 15 cm long piece)
2 cups (480 ml) seedless watermelon chunks (fresh or frozen)
1 cup (240 ml) hulled strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
5-10 leaves fresh mint (or more, to taste)
10-20 drops plain or vanilla pure liquid stevia, or to taste
Place all ingredients in a Vitamix (or other powerful blender) and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. If fruit hasn’t been frozen, add 4-6 ice cubes to the blender for a cold drink.
[Suitable for: ACD Stage 3 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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