We asked the experts on Team VIVA Wellness for their favorite recipes for summer, taking into mind seasonal produce AND the ways in which various foods and the science behind them interact with our bodies. If “food is medicine” it’s important that your wellness approach includes paying attention to what you’re eating, whether you’re eating for function or for delight!
Summer is a perfect time to enjoy sourcing more of these items locally (a guide to Milwaukee and Waukesha County Farmers’ Markets here). Look for organic and local products when you can, but keep in mind some farmers use responsible farming practices without the formal organic certifications which can be cost and time intensive to obtain.
Before we jump into the recipes, we also want to note a few products and services which are great tools for hydration and digestion, especially during summer when you’re sweating more, often just by existing, or after busy weekends or festivities when you know you just aren’t as diligent with your water intake as you normally may be. The addition of minerals and electrolytes can help your body adjust in places where food and beverage doesn’t seem like it’s helping you adequately “catch up” to what’s been depleted, all available at VIVA Wellness:
- Magnesium CALM drink
- ZUMA minerals for electrolyte replenishment
- IV hydration, especially our Wellness Drip
If your digestive function isn’t feeling optimal or reacts sensitively to certain types of foods, consider consulting with our colon hydrotherapists. If you find that you are experiencing loads of digestive distress, such as loose stools that come from food choices or sensitivities, it’s possible that your fluid and electrolyte balance is low or off. Because you aren’t necessarily sweating in this instance, you may not realize this is a quick way to become dehydrated quickly. Additionally, dehydration outside of digestion issues (from heat, sweat, etc.) influences digestion GREATLY, meaning it’s hard for your gut to do its thing without the proper volume of fluids available, so consider the options above and extra hydrating food choices.
Pickled Red Onions
From Arianne, Nurse at VIVA Wellness
If you experience digestive distress when consuming onions, changing the way they’re prepared can make them easier to digest. Mouth puckering and subtly crunchy, pickled onions are a great option and kick your dish up a notch.
Raw apple cider vinegar not only stimulates the secretion of stomach acid, but it also breaks down the cellulose in onions, making them easier to digest. Results in less gas and less bloating.
- Slice one large red onion into thin slices.
- Add sliced onion to salted, boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
- Drain and place onions in a mason jar.
- Cover onions 1/4 of the way up with raw apple cider vinegar.
- Add a sprinkle/pinch of sea salt.
- Add 1 clove of smashed garlic.
Enjoy immediately after cooled and keep in the fridge for up to a week. These are great for the top of salads, any protein, eggs, cheese/crackers, sandwiches, etc.
Grain-Free Zucchini Bread
Grain-Free Zucchini Bread from https://nourisheveryday.com/grainfree-zucchini-courgette-bread/
Planting zucchini usually delivers an abundant harvest, and while you can of course prepare them in so many ways with other veggies, it’s also an excellent addition to breads. The following recipe isn’t a sweet zucchini bread, as so many are, but more like a classic “staple” type that can even be used in place of crackers. Loads of options. High fiber. Vegan. Dairy-free. Vegetarian.
- 75 grams coconut flour (2/3 cup)
- 110 grams ground flaxseed (2/3 cup)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 300-400 grams zucchini/courgette (2 medium-large)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (125 mL)
- 6 eggs
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a loaf tin* with baking paper.
- Combine all the dry ingredients (coconut flour, ground flaxseed, baking powder, bicarb, and salt) in a large bowl, ensuring no lumps are in the flour. Add in any herbs/nutritional yeast/other dry seasonings, if you are using them (see recipe notes below).
- Grate the zucchini and add to the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, vinegar, honey).
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine everything evenly. You should have a thick, wet kind of "dough."
- Scoop the batter into the loaf tin and press it in so the surface is smooth and even.
- Bake for approximately 55-60 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown, slightly crunchy and the center of the loaf feels firm to touch.
- Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely before slicing.
Strawberry Coconut Water Lemonade
From Bri, VIVA Wellness Nurse and Doula
From Nurse Bri (who is also a doula), who enjoyed this postpartum and found it so nourishing and delicious. It was gifted from her doula. We’ve made a few tweaks to this original recipe: https://iowagirleats.com/strawberry-coconut-water-lemonade/
Makes 5 cups
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar—this makes a simple syrup which we would suggest adding to taste instead of pouring all at once. You could also create a simple syrup with coconut sugar or honey instead. Alternative suggestion: skip the simple syrup approach and use stevia to sweeten (based on your goals and sugar tolerance)
- 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (~4 lemons)
- 1lb strawberries, trimmed and halved
- 2 cups coconut water
- Sparkling water (optional)
- Stir together water and sugar over low heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved - you now have simple syrup.
- Refrigerate until completely cool - simple syrup can be made several days ahead of time.
- Combine lemon juice and strawberries in a blender then blend until very smooth
Stir in coconut water, then simple syrup to taste (I used 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of simple syrup. Amount used will depend on your tastes and how sweet your strawberries are.)
- Refrigerate lemonade until ready to serve then pour into cups with ice and top with sparkling water (optional) just before serving.
Tip to get more juice out of lemons: firmly roll against a cutting board before slicing lengthwise and squeezing.
From Jennifer, NP and VIVA Wellness Founder
“Zhoug Sauce is amazing!!! It’s spicy, but it can be added to many things as a topping. I use it as a flavorful hot sauce alternative. Ideas: use on rice, hummus, and soup. It adds spice and flavor to more bland items without the junk you might see in other sauces or toppings.”
You’ll notice that a number of the ingredients are powerhouses in terms of their benefit to the body. From detoxing to anti-inflammatory perks, you’ll find that zhoug is something that your body is happy to both ingest and digest.
Both recipe and image via https://www.feastingathome.com/zhoug-recipe/
- 1-3 whole jalapenos, sliced ( start with one, if unsure)
- 2 fat garlic cloves
- 1 bunch cilantro, small stems ok (about 1 cup packed tightly)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon ( or whole seeds, please see notes)
- 1 teaspoon cumin- ground or whole seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds– optional but good!
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns – optional
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil, more to desired consistency
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (Aleppo chili is nice), more to taste (optional)
- Toast any whole seeds in a dry skillet over med-low heat until fragrant. Note: If using cardamom pods– crush the pods and remove the seeds- just toast the seeds. (Video is not accurate here.) Let cool slightly.
- Place the toasted spices and all the remaining ingredients (except the oil) in a food processor and pulse until it’s uniformly chopped. Add oil and lemon juice and pulse into a coarse paste. For a looser version, add a bit more oil.
- Taste for salt and heat, adding more if necessary.
- Add chili flakes if you like.
- Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to one week.
Have a favorite recipe that you’d like a healthy adaptation of? Struggling with a certain “type” of food (ex: healthy snacks, high protein meals, gluten-free treats), send us a note and we’ll do our best to feature in an upcoming recipe feature! Send us a note via email — firstname.lastname@example.org