Weeks ago, just before my family departed for Orlando, my entire household came down with a dreaded winter cold. Sneezing, coughing, runny noses – if the symptom is listed on the side of an OTC cold product, trust me, we had it. And with just days before we reached our sunny destination, I was worried that our first trip to Disney World would be ruined.
“Get rest, de-stress and load up on Vitamin C,” my mother suggested. “As soon as you touch down into the lovely Florida climate, you’ll feel just fine.”
She was right, of course. Through a combination of aggressive hot citrus therapy and the balmy Florida weather, our cold symptoms melted away in a hurry. And is it any coincidence that the delicious orange juice and grapefruits that I was consuming before the trip happened to come from the sunshine state too? Let’s just say that I always feel better in Florida :)
Now I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I’ve resolved to do one simple thing: incorporate as many fresh foods into my diet as possible. I am tired of feeling rundown and battling colds, and I figure the quickest way to good health is through good nutrition.
Will I follow through? Well, I even put it in writing, because somehow it makes me feel more accountable –
I’ve also developed an S-M-L action plan to implement my new dietary changes. What is S-M-L?
My plan is to eat small amounts of the bad stuff – refined sugar, simple carbs, trans fats and those unpronounceable ingredients you find in practically every boxed food. Now I say small – and not total removal – because I truly believe that there’s a place for everything in our diets, and let’s be honest: I have two small children. Complete elimination of convenience snacks and foods just isn’t realistic. However, I can limit the amount of the bad stuff we’re exposed to, so when it’s time to enjoy that bowl of potato chips, it’s a treat – not a dietary staple.
We’ll consume moderate amounts of lean protein, legumes, whole grains and starches. Life is all about moderation, and I’m proud to say that as a whole, my family eats very well. We rarely eat in restaurants or order take-out, preferring instead to indulge in home-cooked, healthy meals (where I know exactly what’s going in the food). So this is an easy one for us, and something we’re already doing.
Living large means incorporating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet – more than we’ve done in the past. Our refrigerator is currently chock full of colourful citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and ripe, red berries. In fact, on our last trip to the grocery store, I stayed in the produce department until our cart was at least 50% full of the fresh stuff. (Now I just have to look up a recipe for that baby bok choy…) I truly believe loading up on fruits and vegetables is our ticket to a healthier 2013.
So how am I feeling today? Happy to report that the house is cold/flu-free… four weeks and counting! And when symptoms do strike, I start my “hot citrus therapy” mentioned above. Think I’m referring to a packaged liquid medicine? Nope – nothing but the most natural, delicious Florida Orange Ginger Tea for me! It’s just one of the recipes you can find on the Florida Citrus Facebook Page, where they feature a Citrus Recipe Swap.
The bright fresh flavour of Florida orange juice is enhanced with the fusion of spicy ginger and sweet Asian pears, through the infusion method use to prepare tea. This holiday favourite is the perfect refreshment on a chilly day, or for a different twist, serve this drink as a refreshing spritzer with some ginger ale or sparkling water when entertaining.
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy – and best wishes for a healthy 2013!
4 cups (1 L) Florida orange juice
2 Asian pears, cored and sliced
1/3 cup (75 mL) peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
In saucepan, bring Florida orange juice, pears ginger, sugar and cinnamon to boil. Remove from heat and let stand for at least 1 hour to serve warm. Strain through sieve and pour into cups.
If serving cold, let stand for at least 2 hours, strain and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until cold. Pour over ice if desired. Makes 4 cups (1 L). Storage: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat if desired to serve.