Wellness Weekly’s 5 Wonderous Facts You Don’t Know About Watermelon

Happy long weekend readers!

 As Mark Twain once said,

“When one has tasted [watermelon], he knows what the angels eat,”

and I could not agree more. With extreme heat this week, we can be extremely thankful for fresh, hydrating fruits that satisfy both our hunger and thirst in one juicy bite.

This summer I’ve eaten my weight in melons but the past month I attribute full responsibility to my family gatherings and yoga classes for indulging my addiction. Sweet, refreshing and so juicy that our counter top looks as though I’ve murdered a rain cloud, the watermelon is a seasonal family favourite.

 

fruit

A quick Holistic Life Hack for these hot summer days;

  • Refrain from concentrated starches and an excess of heavy animal proteins. Why? Both of these lack natural water content and therefore, use more water to metabolize than is being replenished leaving you feeling thirsty after your meal. This is troublesome considering our goal to refrain from drinking until 40-60 minutes after eating for optimal digestion.
  • The perfect fix: Stick predominantly to fruits and veggies naturally high in water to hydrate you while you eat! This being yet another bonus of a plant-based diet!

 

Of course we know that watermelon is 92% water after this blog; https://lifeofeden.com/2014/08/27/holistic-life-hack-7-in-season-foods-to-eat-yourself-hydrated/ , and we all know it’s an “eat alone or leave alone” after this one; https://lifeofeden.com/2013/10/06/when-fruit-becomes-toxic-the-one-time-to-never-eat-fruit/ , but to have a little fun this morning, these are five wonderous facts you DIDN’T know about this seasonal summer melon.

1) It’s not a fruit! 

  • Not 100% anyway. In fact, watermelons are both fruit and vegetable; a natural, non-GMO hybrid of sorts. It’s related to cucumber, pumpkin and squash of the Cucurbitaceae family which all grow in much the same way. You can observe this in my grandparent’s garden as their fall pumpkin patch makes way for small but flavourful melons come summer.

2) You can skip the composter

  • Both black watermelon seeds and rind are edible! Everyone laughs at the way I strategically eat melon. Much like you do your dinner plate, always saving the best for last, the middle of the melon is by far the most flavourful and so I craftily work my way backwards: from white rind up! Not only are you saving yourself the trip to your composter, you’re also reaping all the nutritional benefits possible!
melon slice

3) Beyond a post yoga bribe

  • After a hot and sweaty class, with sore thighs from warrior two and a steady yoga flow in the backyard, watermelon has played a vital role in refreshing my students after class in a bribe to keep them coming back 😉 But the benefits extend beyond the bribe!
  • Watermelon is a natural cleanser and diuretic to keep excess bloating and summer swelling at bay when the heat causes us to retain water. The fibre will also help bind to toxins to excrete it from the body along with the water that flushes toxins from our system. The ultimate yogic detoxifier!

4) Has more lycopene than raw tomatoes!

  • While most associated with vibrant, red tomatoes, watermelon is a more concentrated source of this antioxidant. It is known for its ability to protect you against free radicals, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and DNA damage. It is also lycopene we have to thank for the bright pink and red colourings of many of our fruits and vegetables.

5) Reduced muscle pains

  • L-citrulline, an amino acid present in watermelon, has been shown to protect against muscle pain. The effects have been studied by juicing the melon, but I do not generally recommend this as stripping the fibre will rapidly spike your blood sugar from the high fructose content. Instead? Enjoy these benefits from consuming watermelon in its whole, natural state as nature intended.
This Wellness Weekly, take a cue from the return of our summer heat and make watermelon your ultimate companion this long weekend. Indulging in this quick, refreshing and extremely hydrating summer melon is all the Monday motivation we need to run off to our local patch and grab a juicy one!
Taking a refreshing slice of our long weekend,
Suzanne Eden

A Country Bound Food Diary & Raw Superfood Clusters

This week I packed my things, namely piles of textbooks & notebooks and a few warm sweaters and made for the tranquility of the countryside. My grandparents own a hobby farm along the escarpment with a yellow pine house my grandfather constructed, flower gardens, trails, and my favourite of course; vegetable gardens(!) all blanketed under the winter’s snow.

into the wild

Every new year I find my way here for a couple of days to recharge. It is a time to retreat into the expanse and solitude of their property, to work a few hours with warm tea and spend the evenings chopping salads in my grandparents’ kitchen, hiking the back trails, burying myself in the snow and learning to make a fire to keep warm while teaching my grandfather how to culture sauerkraut. And in the midst of it all was a surplus of fresh produce from their garden, chopped for salads or sliced with nutbutters and a whole slew of delicious food to spoil their guest. If there’s one thing you can rely on with grandparents, it’s that you will never go hungry! And here is a taste of what became of our plates:

With the sunrise: 
  • Each morning we awoke as the sun broke across the horizon of naked trees. The fire having long died out in the night lied peacefully of ash. We first set the kettle to enjoy warm lemon water as we waited for our oats to cook over the stove top. We had set these out the night before to soak which makes them easier to digest and makes the nutrients more available to the body. We topped this with a blend of ground seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia) and spices (cayenne, turmeric, curry, ginger etc.), a splash of flax oil and basmati brown rice milk and this, to my request, was the breakfast to energize us each morning.
In solitude and left to a delicious kitchen…
  • While my grandparents were out at Tai Chi or chiropractic appointments, I would get hungry and scour their kitchen for food, of which there is plenty! Nuts and seeds, vegetables and sprouts, it’s a holistic foodies haven!
Every day I had a protein drink with MSM, L-glutamine, and so forth and mixed in detoxifying beet crystals which turn the vanilla drink a bright pink.
Others:
  • nuts and seeds
  • sprouts
  • banana
  • crackers slathered with coconut oil and nutbutter
  • Raw superfood clusters

 

raw superfood clusters

Raw Superfood Clusters

There is no exact recipe, simply mix ingredients until desired:

  • Almond butter
  • Apple sauce (for sweetness)
  • Coconut oil (to make them solid)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt

Mix together almond butter, apple sauce and oil until the coconut oil is well mixed in. Then add the bulk ingredients to form clusters. You can use any nuts or seeds here, I used:

  • Unsalted, raw Pumpkin seeds (which we dried out ourselves)
  • Sprouts (my grandfather had sprouted mung beans and green lentils)

Once in little clusters, pop them in the freezer to harden, then enjoy! The healthy fats help to stabilize blood sugar, provide a fantastic source of energy and will assist in keeping you satiated to lunchtime.

Upon their return: 
Lunch time and large appetites where synonymous with my grandparents arrival home. We would set to work in the kitchen right away to prepare vegetable plates served with nut and seed butters.
veggie plate
 
Possible accompaniments:
  • Poached eggs
  • Chicken
  • Sardines (my favourite! A treat we picked up when my grandmother brought me on a special trip for my first time to Goodness Me)
  • Gluten free, dairy free, sugar-free pancakes topped with nutbutters, apple sauce, red currants and a little maple syrup (high quality)
Midday snacks:

 

dates

Dinner 
  • We usually made salads of my grandparents’ vegetables. The root veggies we had were harvested in October and stored to eat through the winter as they do not spoil when kept properly. We shredded these finely which aids digestion and used olive oil and apple cider vinegar as a dressing, topped with sprouts and served with the rest of the meal:
  • Chicken two days
  • One day we ate lightly steamed veggies with rosemary & humus as we sat around the fire

chopping salads

Post dinner: 
  • Green tea which was brewed continuously throughout the day
  • Chia seed cereal pudding from Earthly Choice
  • sprouts
  • a small dried fruit platter

I was sent home with dried apples juuuust in case I should find myself feeling a bit famished on the voyage home and was greeted with a warm hug from mom and a furry little animal (Aussie) who shared a dried apple or two with me before bed. My road trip playlist? A mix of Eddie Vedder and Matthew Good! Though I infinitely love the peace, tranquility, and rather more primitive life of the countryside, it has been wonderful to be reunited with my family, Aussie and my Vitamix once more!

Blending an end to another delicious week,

Suzanne Eden

Your Holistic Guide to Healthy Snacking at the Theatre & my Chocolate, Cashew Drizzled Popcorn

“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

~ The Imitation Game

These past few days have found me enchanted by elves and hobbits and mystified by the mind of Alan Turing as all good movies seemed to pop their way into theatres just in time for the winter chill (in which I rather fittingly become much like a hobbit myself).
~*~
Now just think: movie theatre food, and what is likely the first thing to pop into your mind? The beloved popcorn of course! But what is lurking in that seemingly bottomless bag of buttery kernels? I did a little digging and found some sticky facts on one of Canada’s favourite movie treats and created a better than butter alternative to satisfy all of your popcorn popping indulgences.

 

Popping up some facts:
  • Popcorn MUST be purchased organic. Non-organic corn is heavily sprayed in pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers which wreak havoc on our health and the health of our environment.
According to the Globe and Mail published in 2011:
  • a large Cineplex popcorn unbuttered is the calorie and fat content equivalent of two McDonald’s Big Macs
  • The same bag having nearly a day’s worth of sodium intake

 

and that’s without butter.

According to Cineplex Entertainment’s Nutrition and Allergen guide, their liquid margarine contains these ingredients (plus a few others):

  • Soybean Oil
  • Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
  • Salt
  • Soy Protein,
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Mono & Diglycerides
  • Artificial Flavour

 

This ingredient list is high in processed soy and oils which alters their chemical composition causing them to be toxic to our bodies. Also present are artificial flavourings, preservatives and, once again, salt. Its shelf life: a minimum of three months! Real food rots. If it does not go bad, what exactly are we eating?

 

A few tips to snacking during a flick:
  • Eat when you are hungry

A movie snack is a cultural habit. Food is meant to be enjoyed when we are hungry. If you are not hungry, skip the snack and just enjoy the film.

 
  • Be a delinquent and bring your own food & drinks
  • Eat mindfully : if eating, eat BEFORE the movies

Eat during the opening credits and pay attention to the taste and flavour. You’ll be satisfied faster, longer and enjoy your food more.

  • Don’t eat during or even before a suspense, thriller or horror film.

The stress you feel in these movies actually puts our body into the “fight or flight” mode. This state activates our
sympathetic nervous system which tells the body to stop digesting so that you have more energy to flee. Of course, you’re not going anywhere but your body doesn’t know that and your digestion is compromised as a result.

  • Make healthier versions.

 A better than butter alternative popped up in my kitchen for Monday night’s movie ventures, though it was admittingly gone before I had even left for the theatre!

popcorn

 
  • Better Than Butter Popcorn:
Organic homepopped Popcorn (NOT microwaveable!)
Coconut oil
Sprinkling of Himalayan salt
Simply mix some coconut oil into your warm popcorn, tossing it around so that it melts and coats your popcorn as would butter. Sprinkle a little sea salt in and enjoy!
~*~
  • Chocolate, Cashew Drizzled Popcorn

Organic, homepopped Popcorn (again, NEVER microwaveable)

Raw, vegan dark chocolate

Raw cashews

Himalayan salt

Simply melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. This will prevent it from burning and keep the delicate cocoa oils from denaturing. Lay popcorn flat on a sheet of wax paper and drizzle the warm chocolate over top, sprinkle with sea salt and pop into the fridge before enjoying. Keep cool.

Popping out of the hobbit hole for a movie date treat,

Suzanne Eden