Saturday, June 05, 2010

Benefits of Fresh Vegetables

Farmer's Market Tradition
Every Saturday morning my parents lounge out on the patio, several cups of coffee on hand to help wake them up while peaceful birds sing in the quiet stillness of a world still half-asleep. The kids are still asleep and the dew's wet kiss lingers on every surface. Soon, the caffeine kicks in and they're ready for a cool sunny morning of gathering fresh vegetables and fruits at either the Daytona Beach Flea & Farmer's Market, or another Florida community farmer's market. Grabbing their Reuze double tote bags and some cash, they head out to buy organic green beans, fresh yellow squash and cucumbers, green bell peppers, ripe cantaloupe, juicy watermelons, big ole' red tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, and fresh white 'n yellow corn. They enjoy talking to the farmers in the local community, and finding out where the produce they buy comes from and how it's grown. Usually, we know what they'll end up coming home with, but today they came back with something different.

Something that looks like it flew itself here to Earth!

I have no idea what this pale light green squash is; but, it reminds me of a flying saucer and it is delicious! My mom fixed a healthy recipe, sauteing chopped onions in butter before adding the squash that she'd chopped and boiled beforehand. A few minutes of sauteing and you're ready to eat!

Benefits of Fresh Vegetables

Delicious, fresh, homegrown foods make your mouth smile when you eat, did you know that?

Did you also know that fresh green vegetables are considered "nature's laxative", because they help operate nearly all of your natural bodily functions?

Fresh vegetables are low in calories, high in complex carbohydrates, contain no cholesterol and almost no fat. Rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C, vegetables also provide essential dietary fiber that keeps your body running like a well-oiled machine. They are nature's best source of a variety of nutrients, including vitamins, trace minerals, and dietary fiber, and many other classes of antioxidants. These nutrients may be your best weapon against age-related diseases, and help keep your heart healthy and strong.

Sure, eating rubbery dried out frozen vegetables is convenient. I have bags of frozen broccoli, vegetable medleys, strawberries, and blueberries in my freezer just like the next person. I just never use them. They are there "just in case". Who wants to open up an icy bag of soggy, frozen pieces of warped produce that have barely any taste?

Not me.

I like to taste the natural sweetness
of a handful of fresh blueberries, knowing that I'm also providing my body with a ton of healthy antioxidants.

I crave those rich colors that are evidence of the healthy nutrients embedded within each bite.

I enjoy the explosion of flavor from a fresh strawberry's kiss. It's like no other!

Fresh vegetables and fruits provide not only health benefits, but also what I call "mood benefits". We should be happy with what we are putting into our bodies, because our minds and bodies live off of it.

Mood Benefits of Fresh Vegetables and Fruit
The mood benefits of fresh vegetables and fruits comes from knowing you're eating the best possible sources of nutrients designed by nature.

Fresh vegetables and fruits make every cell in our body sing with joy. We weren't made to be drenched in fatty oily foods, day-after-day.

Our bodies were made to consume the sweetness of a fresh Georgia Peach. Think about the exploding juiciness of Florida's ripe red tomatoes. I know my landlord up in Tennessee is jonesin' for some. He made sure to tell me several times to bring him some the day before I drove to Florida. I'm glad he's just hooked on the tomatoes and isn't addicted to Florida's sweet oranges and soft seductive strawberries, yet. And we all know how exciting it is to enjoy fresh cold watermelon slices on a hot sunny afternoon.

Happiness for me comes with watching my family enjoy fresh corn like it's going out of style. Nothing beats munching on fresh ears of corn while warm melted butter drips down your chin. Who isn't smiling and laughing at the site of the devotees, who are so into eating that corn that they wait until the last kernel is gone before setting down the cob to lick their chin and mouth for those last few drops of buttery nectar? good for the mind, body and spirit!

Always health conscious, our family uses Smart Balance butter to melt on fresh steaming corn. Sprinkle on some Tony Chachere's Spicy Seasoning, or Old Bay Seasoning and your mouth is ready to do a happy dance. Actually, it's soooo good your whole body might join in on that dance!

Eating Healthy Never Felt So Good

So, tell me how good it feels to enjoy nature's bountiful harvest. Ask yourself if you like knowing where your fresh vegetables and fruits come from. For the best fresh produce, learn when vegetables and fruits are in season so you can enjoy them while they're fresh!

I know that at our house, fresh vegetables are on the table at every meal. Whether it's a plate of fresh green beans, a bowl of cheesy broccoli, or platters of corn so delicious it passes as dessert, we feel better knowing that the food we are enjoying is making our bodies stronger, and our minds happier!

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