Conscious Cook: Keeping cool as a cucumber

“Some people change their ways when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.” — Caroline Schroeder

When 90 degree temperatures and drenching humidity are invoking plenty of sweat, irritability and heat exhaustion, it’s time to cool the body and mind down with something extra refreshing and hydrating.

What could be more invigorating than garden fresh, crisp, crunchy cucumbers? With a 95% water content, cucumbers will successfully rehydrate the system, while supplying rejuvenating benefits to the body, inside and out.

As a wonderfully natural beauty aid, cucumbers can bring welcome cooling relief to tired, swollen eyes. Find a quiet space to lie down and place a slice of cucumber over each eye. Breathe deeply and relax for five to 10 minutes, letting the cucumber refresh and restore overworked, irritated eyes. After this quick treatment, your eyes should feel soothed and any puffiness should be diminished.

The naturally high water content and silica in cucumbers provide immensely effective ingredients that can help improve the complexion and give you glowing, luminous skin. Cucumbers can be effective in easing the searing discomfort of sunburn pain, as well as the itchy burn of dermatitis. Retaining water? Try adding more cucumbers to your diet and you may see a wonderful reduction of belly bloat.

Cucumber juice may help prevent gum disease, fragile, splitting toe and fingernails and may even encourage hair growth, particularly if combined with carrot and spinach juice. Cucumbers provide a solid source of potassium, which promotes muscle flexibility, and magnesium, which relaxes nerves and muscles, and keeps blood circulating smoothly.

Farm fresh cucumbers are a spectacular snack. Give your just purchased cukes a good scrub and consume them with skin on for a fiber rich food that can help regulate blood pressure and bowel regularity. Choose bright green, smooth skinned, specimens that are quite firm to the touch for the best flavor.

Perfectly portable for picnics, lunch bags, hiking trips or boating excursions, cucumbers are easy to transport and enjoy! Savor them now at their peak of freshness, and throughout the summer. Add slices to salads, as they meld so beautifully with other vegetables and fruits, particularly tomatoes, watermelon, and red onions. Add cucumbers to cooked and cooled quinoa, add raspberries and mint and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a bit of olive oil. Cucumbers will add super soothing and satisfying goodness to sandwiches, salsa, slaws, sauces, soups and all sorts of hors d’oeuvres.

Keep cool with cucumbers as you prepare your delicious life.

Cool as a cucumber salad

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 finely minced, seeded jalapeno (optional)

2 minced garlic cloves

5 medium cucumbers, (well -scrubbed, not peeled)

½ very thinly sliced red onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

5 tablespoons roughly chopped roasted peanuts or almonds

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Mix together first six ingredients to make a dressing. Put cucumbers, herbs and onions in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

For more information on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” go to theconsciouscook.net.

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