Healthy Eating, Vibrant Living!

Veg4Health Newsletter

Spotlight on Watermelon
Nothing goes better with a 4th of July picnic than icy, cold watermelon. It's also good for you. Watermelon contains no fat or cholesterol, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C and contains fiber, potassium and lycopene. Scientists have found that watermelon contains more of the health-promoting compound lycopene per serving than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Lycopene gives watermelon and tomatoes their red color and is thought to act as a powerful antioxidant that may help to reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
Watermelon, as the name implies, is 92% water and 8% sugar. They typically weigh from 5-50 pounds, with the record topping the scales at a whopping 262 pounds! Because watermelons are so fragile, they cannot be harvested by machines. Instead workers carefully toss them relay-style from field to truck. Over 4 billion pounds of watermelon are grown in the United States alone. Although Americans love their watermelon, 30 times more watermelon is consumed in China . We need to get busy!
Watermelons are usually available all year long, but are most appreciated during the hotter months. There are all sorts of ideas on how to pick a good watermelon. After owning a produce market and cutting innumerable melons, I can confidently state that the best way to tell if you've picked a good watermelon is to taste it!!! A good looking watermelon doesn't always taste as good as it looks and sometimes a "thuddy" watermelon, which should be overripe and mushy, tastes great.
As a general rule:
  •  Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts, or soft spots. Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size.
  • Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy, yellow spot where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
  • When growing a watermelon, it is ripe when the stem separates from the vine with little pressure.
  • Look for a melon with a green stem, if still attached. That indicates that it was recently picked.
  • Keep in refrigerator when ripe and serve cold.

Seasonal Fruits and Veggies

While most fruits and vegetables are available year-round since they are grown in both hemispheres and flown in, most are at their peak during specific times of the year. Here is a basic guideline. Remember, though, that anything that looks fresh and you've got a hankering for, is worth trying.
Apricots,   Artichokes,   Arugula,   Asparagus,   Avocados,   Chives,   Collards,   Green Beans,   Lettuce,   Mangos,   Mustard Greens,   Pineapples,   Radishes,   Rhubarb,   Spinach,   Sugar Snap Peas,   Snow Peas,   Strawberries,   Vidalia and Florida Sweet Onions
Bananas,   Beets,   Bell Peppers,   Blackberries,   Blueberries,   Broccoli,   Brussels Sprouts,   Cabbage,   Cantaloupes,   Cauliflower,   Celery,   Cherries,   Corn,   Cucumbers,   Grapes,   Eggplant,   Guava,   Honeydew Melons,   Jicama,     Nectarines,   Papaya,   Peaches,   Plantains,   Plums,  Raspberries,   Summer Squash,   Tomatoes,   Watermelons,   Zucchini
Apples,   Belgian Endive,   Carrots,   Cranberries,   Dates,   Dried Beans,   Figs,   Garlic,   Ginger,   Hard Squashes,   Kiwi,   Lychees,   Mushrooms,   Onions,   Parsnips,   Pears,   Persimmons,   Pomegranites,   Pummelos,   Pumpkins,   Sweet Potatoes,   Swiss Chard,   Turnips,   Yams
Grapefruit,   Kale,   Kumquats,   Leeks,   Nuts,   Oranges and Tangerines,   Radicchio, Rutabagas

Special Bonus: Fat-Free Oil Substitute for Salad Dressings
Sometimes it's easy to ruin a perfectly health and lovely salad by drowning it in a high fat or low fat, high fructose corn syrup dressing.  Instead, I use this simple mixture in place of oil in salad dressing recipes.  It really sticks to the lettuce, unlike using water or vinegar as a substitute.  I love this oil substitute used with Good Seasonings Italian Dressing in place of the oil.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium vegetarian broth powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Whisk the broth powder and starch into the cold water in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear.
  3. Cool and use in a salad dressing, or store in a covered jar and refrigerate.


I went to the store the other day and spent over forty dollars on fruit alone!  Yes, we love our fruit and this seems to be the season to make hay while the sun shines!  Watermelons, cantaloupes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and peaches are the fruit we use to fill our tummies and please our palettes.  I wish I could spread it out so that we could enjoy locally grown fruit equally spaced throughout the year, but unfortunately that's not the way God designed the world.  So instead, vegetables have given up some of their space on our plates to allow us to eat our fill of the sweet fruits available now.  Enjoy the season and let your taste buds go wild with the naturally sweet choices available now!


Small choices,
big difference!
Do you like to snack?  I do. Have you ever considered how our seemingly small choices add up?  Well, let's take a look. It's late in the afternoon and my tummy is rumbling.  What do I do?  A really large crisp apple or a medium sized Mocha latte frozen drink might sound good.  It's only one day and I'm tired and don't want to think.  But day after day, my choices add up.  What would the difference be between choosing a delicious apple EVERY day or choosing a Mocha latte drink only three times a week?  A week of apples would be only 500 calories yet 3 frozen drinks would be 3150 calories.  An apple for 7 days is 1.4 grams of fat while the frozen drink is 126 grams of fat.  That's over 1134 calories of fat each week, of which 972 of them are from saturated fat.  Now, that's in just one week.  What happens if I do this each week of the year?  I would take in 26,000 calories in fresh delicious apples in a year, but over 163,800 calories in mocha drinks!  That's right - and over 50,544 calories of saturated fat from frozen latte drinks in one year.   Since it takes 3600 excess calories to put on one pound of excess weight, that would be the equivalent of over 45 pounds in ONE year!  Even if I could burn that many extra calories in a year, I would take in over 4,680 mg of cholesterol in that same year.  That's the equivalent of over 865 slices of bacon.  Where's the pork?  Clearly on my thighs and in my veins!  I think I'll choose the apple!  Not only will I be slimmer, but I'll make my bank account fat by saving over 600 dollars!  Wow, now I can both afford and look good in that new bathing suit this year!

Low-Fat Frozen Mocha Coffee
Drink Recipe
1  cup soymilk (100 calories, 4.3 g fat)
1  Tbsp Cocoa powder (20 calories, .5 g fat) (more or less to taste)
1-2 Tbsp sugar or honey (96 calories, o g fat) (more or less to taste)
1 Tbsp ground flax seed (40 calories, 3.3 g [good] fat)
Frozen spinach (optional) (start with a small amount and add more as you go - you really can't taste it)

Dash of vanilla (optional)
1-2 cups ice, depending on how slushy you like it.
As listed, serves 2 drinks.
Each serving contains about 130 calories, 4 g fat.
Combine all ingredients except ice and mix in Vita-Mix for 1/2 minute.
Add ice and blend on high until ice turns to slush. ENJOY!!!