As summer approaches and temperatures rise, the time to revisit hydration needs becomes more and more relevant.
The hotter it gets around you, the more bodily fluids are lost through perspiration, making the body’s systemic and cellular hydration requirements higher. When you become dehydrated and basic physiological requirements are not met, the heart is forced to work harder, compromising both mental and physical performance. In fact, when cells are inadequately hydrated, the body makes vital shifts in metabolic activity. You start to experience immune system dysfunction, digestive and detoxification adjustments, energy declines, decreased resilience, and slower cognitive abilities.
Even if most of us are aware of how important hydration is to our performance, hearing that we need to drink more water can sound like a broken record. Why is it that beverages (especially energy drinks, flavored water, and fruit juices) are the fastest growing segments in the retail grocery market, while drinking enough water in the day can seem daunting? Is it because water seems so plain and boring in comparison? Unfortunately, even with the claims promising improved performance, many of the popular conventional beverages also serve up performance-robbing ingredients: excess caffeine, too many simple sugars, and artificial additives.
At TIGNUM, we try to maximize hydration while also providing scientifically-proven, practical, fun, and tasty solutions. One of these solutions is to hydrate your body through the foods you eat. Most people don't realize just how much water their bodies absorb from fresh fruits and vegetables, but water from fresh food can be up to two thirds more hydrating than water from a glass. Key minerals (potassium/magnesium) and water-soluble vitamins (Bs and C) from these plant foods are critical in improving cellular hydration and function.
The following recipes are easy to prepare and offer a variety of combinations to satisfy many taste palates. I hope these summer recipe suggestions help you have a well-hydrated and high impact summer. As always, we would love to hear what you think.
Summer Recipes for Hydration/Cooling Down
Minty Sweet Pea Soup (warm or chilled)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 leek rinsed and chopped (use the white part only)
- 2 pinches Himalayan sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups freshly shelled sweet peas or one frozen (10-ounce) package of sweet peas
- 1 head Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
- 1 cup fresh pea sprouts
- 2-3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 6 cups tbsp organic chicken, vegetable, or bone broth
- 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 6 tbsp plain Icelandic or Greek yogurt (for garnish)
- Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
- Add chopped leek, 1 pinch salt, and pepper.
- Sauté until leek appears translucent (approx. 5 min).
- Stir in peas, lettuce, and second pinch of salt.
- Continue stirring while adding 1/2 cup of stock - make sure no vegetables stick to the bottom.
- Remove from heat.
- In a blender (or using an immersion blender), blend stock, the vegetable mixture you just removed from heat, pea sprouts, and mint. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your blender. Blend until smooth.
- Return blended mixture to a pot on low heat.
- Stir in lemon juice and taste. Feel free to season with a bit more lemon, salt, pepper, or mint as desired.
- Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and sprig of mint. Serve warm or chilled.
Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days. Serves 4-6.
Easy Prep Cool Gazpacho Soup
- 2 lbs Roma tomatoes (6-10 tomatoes), cored
- 1 red pepper, seeded
- 1 medium Anaheim or Cubanelle pepper, seeded
- 1 cucumber
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Avocado (1/2 as a blended ingredient, 1/2 for garnish)
- chopped hardboiled egg or bacon, for garnish (optional)
- Chop tomatoes, red pepper, peppers, cucumber, red onion, and garlic.
- Blend the tomatoes, red pepper, Anaheim pepper, cucumber, red onion, garlic, and 1/2 avocado using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. Blend until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the sides as needed with a spatula.
- Continue blending as you drizzle in the red wine vinegar and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
- Taste and season the gazpacho with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately at room temp or transfer it to a container and refrigerate it (covered), until ready to serve.
- Optional: top with chopped hardboiled egg, avocado, or bacon (optional).
Plum Citrus Squeeze Drink
- 4 oz beets, scrubbed and chopped
- 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
- 2 plums, pitted and cut in quarters
- ½ inch to ¾ inch ginger root, peeled
- lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 cup ice (optional)
- Blend all ingredients thoroughly.
- Drink immediately.
Lemongrass Mint Tabbouleh Entrée Salad
- 1 cup Bulgur wheat
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp Thai lemongrass mint balsamic vinegar or white balsamic vinegar (add lemongrass and mint leaves to taste with this option)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup scallions, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 3/4 lb feta cheese
- 4 pita bread rounds
- 8 oz cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces or white albacore tuna (optional)
- Place the bulgur in a large bowl, pour in boiling water.
- Add vinegar and olive oil.
- Stir and let stand at room temperature for one hour.
- After an hour, add scallions, mint, cucumber, tomatoes, and pinch of black pepper to taste.
- Stuff mixture into pita bread.
- Add feta cheese (and optional protein choice).
Recipes adapted from Daily’s Fit and Fresh restaurant by Chef Gregory Anne/Nutritionist Patti Milligan