By Lianna Sugarman, LuliTonix
Spring, quite literally, is a rebirth, and we see the evidence all around us. Most of us — certainly most of us stuck in the Northeast this eternal winter — have fallen into some kind of winter funk during the cold days and long nights. As temperatures rise, we tend to be more active outdoors, we sweat more, and the needs of our bodies change. We are more apt to crave — and much more adept at metabolizing — raw cooling foods than we are in the winter.
Spring is also about shedding and release, and is a beautiful time to gravitate toward lighter foods, that cleanse and support, and allow us to release winter baggage physically and emotionally.
Here are some favorite NYC seasonal Spring/Summer foods, that you will see at the Union Square Farmers Market now and in upcoming months, to take home for some nutritionally charged and vibrant goodness.
Lettuces — any number of varieties
Back in the day, lettuce meant nothing more than some lifeless slabs of iceberg eaten as a ritual penance after too much culinary debauchery. Little did I know how many nutrients are in lettuce. Aside from being very high in water, lettuces are high in vitamin C, beta carotene, allergy-zapping folic acid, and fiber. Lettuce benefits our immune system, skin, bones, and teeth. So lettuce away: red leaf, green leaf, romaine, we eat them all.
We love: Using lettuces as wraps for light lunches. They also taste great with nut patés, but can be used for anything.
A naturally cooling herb, this fragrant favorite is a natural stimulant, helps with digestion, promotes mental focus, circulation, helps to eliminate bloating, and is even said to help with depression. Aside from tasting like freshness incarnate, mint is crazy versatile and goes with everything.
We love: Steep or blend into lemonades to create infused water, blend into raw soups, or throw into pestos for that extra fresh burst of brightness. Mint is also great in juices or green blends — the freshness helps cut down on the chlorophylly taste that some us of find to be a problem.
Strawberries in season are just so bright and fresh and fragrant. Among the most cleansing and alkalizing fruits, rich in vitamins and minerals, and packed with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory powers, strawberries also promote bone health, help with short term memory, and help to burn stored fat.
We love: Adding them in blends and smoothies, or try blending up with your nutmilk or coconut milk.
Ramps are available literally for ONE SECOND in the spring Farmers Market of NYC. If you blinked for too long, the elusive ramp season will be done. But just in case… ramps are rich in Vitamins A. C, Selenium, and Chromium, a metabolic toner and brain nourisher. These delicious garlicky/oniony greens pack a real nutritional punch
We love: Throwing them into some raw pesto. YUM.
Nothing says summer like cucumbers. Perhaps the most ideal hydrating food, cucumbers cool inflammatory response, can help to reduce stress via their array of B vitamins, and help to eliminate bloating. It is important to buy Organic cucumbers, as the peel of the cucumber is truly where the magic comes in, with a large amount of Silica, Potassium, and Magnesium. Silica is a crucial mineral, aiding in bone density, helping to keep the connective tissues moist, retaining luster in the hair and skin, and is just an all-around, all-star, anti-aging mineral.
We love: Throwing them into a blend, or using in a cold raw gazpacho or avocado blended soup.
These crunchy, peppery friends are packed with glucosinolates: beneficial sulfur-containing compounds only found in members of the cruciferous vegetable family. Beyond the power of sulphur as a beauty mineral, these compounds are thought to help protect the body against cell mutation. Potent anti-virals and detoxifiers, radishes are also known in traditional Chinese Medicine to be naturally cooling, meaning that they help to dissipate excess heat in the body, and promote balance within.
We love: Radishes sliced on avocado toast with a drizzle of olive oil. Nutritionally synergistic, and yum.
An excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and iron, sorrel also promotes digestion, stimulates the liver, and acts as a diuretic. Plus, it has a tart, delicious lemony flavor that's crazy-addictive AND some of them have the most beautiful red veined appearance that fancy up any salad.
We love: The tartness in salads, soups, or thrown into green blends.
Who doesn’t love cherries? These beautiful morsels are packed with antioxidants, help to ameliorate joint pain, burn belly fat, and can even help boost your melatonin levels and regulate your sleep. Brimming with memory boosting antioxidants, cherries are a great brain food as well.
We love: Cherry smoothies/cherry blends/raw cherry & cashew ice creams, cherry anything!
Cooling Farmers Market Beauty Soup
A cooling, soothing, superfood-rich soup, this is perfect for hot summer days. As with many recipes, the options are limitless — add onion, radishes, microgreens, or sprouts to amp up the nutrition even more.
· 2 avocados
· 3 cucumbers (Medium sized)
· a few leaves of sorrel (optional)
· juice of a lemon
· a slice of lemon peel/lemon zest (Optional - but we love citrus peel!)
· 1/4 cup chopped mint
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Optional: dash of olive oil, to taste
Lianna Sugarman is the Founder / Chief Blending Officer of LuliTonix. She began Vitamixing her own blends, laden with copious greens and superfoods, back in 2010, and quickly saw dramatic, positive improvements in both her physical and mental well-being. Compelled to share her new-found blend-induced wellness high/madness, she launched LuliTonix in fall 2012. LuliTonix is a Raw Organic blend company that harnesses the powerful health benefits of raw blended greens and a plethora of superfoods, in equal parts healing, badass, and totally addictive.