Finding Balance While Maintaining Health

Summer is upon us. And with it, holidays, BBQ’s, Stampede, birthdays, garden parties and camping. Everywhere you turn there is an excuse or a reason to indulge in unhealthy food and drink. Food is a very large part of social gatherings and it’s ok to take part to some extent, but don’t let it be your excuse for feeling horrible or gaining weight over the summer. Your diet doesn’t have to completely fall off the rails just because someone is serving unhealthy food at a party! Commit to your health and prepare yourself to say “no thank you” to the ice cream, chips or that extra beer you really don’t need. Everyone will understand and respect your decision to choose optimum health for you, so don’t feel bad!

If you missed the spring cleanse and didn’t find time to lose your “winter weight”, it’s not too late. Summer is a wonderful time of year, especially now that we’ve been getting some good weather in Calgary. If you’ve been waiting to take up a new sport, to start doing that walk, run or bike ride in the morning before work, or to join a sports team, don’t wait any longer! Just do it! While it’s tempting in winter to come home (usually in the dark) and sit down with a book after dinner, now you’ve got the option of getting out for a walk or other exercise with the longer days.

The advantage of this time of year is that with increased exercise, we can also increase our carbohydrate intake slightly. Lucky for us, this is also when harvests are most abundant and the produce section is brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables. If you haven’t done so yet, take a few hours on a weekend to check out the local farmers markets to see what is offered locally. You’ll find the flavor of food from local farmers (that hasn’t traveled thousands of miles to get here) absolutely wonderful. Berries, peaches, plums, apples and almost all vegetables are in season right now so buy yourself a great salad “cook” book and start creating! Colorful salads can make up the majority of your evening meal. They are light, packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and give you enough energy to sit down for a quick meal and then get back outside. Plus, you don’t have to heat up your kitchen or slave over the stove. Throw a little BBQ’d salmon or chicken on top of your salad, use olive oil and lemon juice as the dressing with some fresh herbs, and you’re good to go! Enjoy the bountiful fruits for breakfast as a smoothie or just on their own with a little almond milk.
One of my favorite “salads” that is sure to impress at any dinner party you go to is the following: Summer Watermelon Feta Salad
1/2 Watermelon, seeded and cubed 1 cup feta cheese, cubed
12 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced 1pkg fresh mint leaves, torn
Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2tsp salt, 1/2 fresh lemon squeezed.

-Arrange all ingredients on plate on top of a bed of spring mix lettuce. Dress just before serving. Enjoy!
(here is another variation on this same salad: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Watermelon-Feta-and- Arugula-Salad-with-Balsamic-Glaze-353890)
Enjoy the summer and enjoy the time with your friends and family.
And remember that if you’re feeling the need to get back into routine and back on track with your eating in the fall, I’m available to assist you with that.

Yours in health, Amy

Amy Golumbia is Optimum Wellness Centres’s holistic nutritionist. She is a member of the National Mountain Running team and competes in marathon and ultra-marathon distances. She is also the mother of twins and understands hectic busy lifestyles. She works out of our Bowness Location. To schedule an appointment with her, please call 403-247-3787.