July is National Watermelon Month — How Watermelon Helps with Cleansing, Weight Loss & Health

 

Summer temperatures are climbing and the cravings for summer fruit have kicked in. It’s time to shine the light on this thirst quenching fruit. According to the National Watermelon Association: “in 2008, the U.S. Senate passed a unanimous resolution that designated the month of July as National Watermelon month. The following spring (2009), the U.S. House of representatives followed suit.”

watermelon still on vine

A happy watermelon amongst the vines in the garden of a Gro-O client.

If you’ve been growing watermelon in your organic garden, kudos to you. You’ll be able to enjoy the health benefits of this mouthwatering fruit.

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Why Watermelon is Good For You

According to an article in Care2, there are multiple reasons to be eating watermelon.

How Watermelon Helps with Cleansing, Weight Loss & Health

  • Extremely alkaline-forming in the body — reducing body’s acidity and thereby balancing the body’s pH level (for more info, read the NIH’s: The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?)
  • High amount of citrulline – creates a diuretic effect (lots of peeing) as the toxins leave your body. Citrulline makes arginine which removes ammonia and other toxins from the body. 
  • High in dietary fiber – helps keep the colon clean, helping cleanse your body.
  • Contains glutathione  — a powerful antioxidant and detoxifying agent) that helps improve liver function. Your body needs it to begin to detox body toxins. 
  • Good source of potassium – balances the high amounts of sodium in our diets which supports your kidneys and is great when cleansing.
  • Prevents Wrinkles — Watermelon is high is lycopene. Lycopene helps slow down the effect of aging caused by the oxidation in your body that causes wrinkles and blemishes. 
  • Reduces inflammation  — Inflammation contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis. Less inflammation means lower toxic load in the body.

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A young organic watermelon -- just a babe.

A young organic watermelon — just a babe.

The National Geographic website also chimes in with these health virtues attributed to watermelon:

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Ideas for watermelon dishes

Image courtesy of National Watermelon Promotion Board

Image courtesy of National Watermelon Promotion Board

If you’re looking for watermelon recipes, browse through the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s site. You’ll find recipes for every meal of the day, including ideas for entrees.

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You’ve We’ve Been Eating Watermelon Wrong

from BuzzFeed Food (and the Crazy Russian Hacker) http://youtu.be/BG6EIV4kjrU

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Trivia time

The world’s heaviest watermelon weighed 121.93 kg (268.8 lb) and was grown by Lloyd Bright (USA) of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, USA in 2005.

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Previous Gro-O blog posts about watermelon:

Newest Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants

It stands to reason that crops grown organically
would have fewer pesticides.

A new study1 confirmed that fact along with discovering that organically grown crops had more antioxidants.

cherry tomatoes growing

Organically grown cherry tomatoes in a Gro-O garden in Beverly Hills

A story written by Kenneth Chang and published in the New York Times (July 11, 2014)2 reports that the study was done by an international team of scientists led by Newcastle University (UK) who compiled a database from 343 previously published studies and reviewed the results. Although the team did not conduct any laboratory or field work of their own, they did conclude:

  • the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be four times higher in conventional crops, which also contained significantly higher concentrations of the toxic metal cadmium.
  • organic crops and crop-based foods are up to 69% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown crops

harvest in EncinoThere still is some dispute about whether organic crops are more nutritional than conventionally grown crops. But this adds more scientific research info to support the organic food movement.

close-up cherry tomatoes2summer veggie harvest====
1Study results as printed in the British Journal of Nutrition – Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literary review and meta-analyses

2A version of the NY Times article appears in print on July 12, 2014, on page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: Study of Organic Crops Finds Fewer Pesticides and More Antioxidants

 

A backyard vegetable garden brings 2 generations together — How tomatoes led to friendship

This is a story of the friendship between 89 year old World War II vet, Erling Kindem and a 3 year old pre-schooler, Emmett Rychner in Farmington, MN. The story was reported by Boyd Huppert of KARE Television  (NBC affiliate–Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN).

“They kind of bonded over the tomatoes in his garden,” said Emmett’s mom Ankia, “because Emmett loves tomatoes.”

A touching story (you will probably need a tissue) that shows how something as simple as a tomato garden can lead to a deep friendship.

http://youtu.be/B1OtkOkb3J0

Would you grow an organic garden here? Unusual garden locations–train stations and London bomb shelters

Would You Eat a Salad Grown in a Bomb Shelter?
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/would-you-eat-salad-grown-bomb-shelter-180949909/#xZ63Ih6W1gee5M3p.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
Would You Eat a Salad Grown in a Bomb Shelter?
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/would-you-eat-salad-grown-bomb-shelter-180949909/#xZ63Ih6W1gee5M3p.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitte

Whenever you think that you don’t have the right space or location to have a garden, think about these two instances in which would-be gardeners were not going to be denied.

Earlier this year, the Smithsonian Magazine published a story about a company growing greens 33 metres underground in a London bomb shelter.

With the use of LED and hydroponics, Zero Carbon Food grows salad leaves and micro greens. The company maintains that they are growing pesticide-free crops in a sustainably, eco-conscious manner.

When space is a commodity, any available growing location is utilized. In Japan, some commuters are tending train station rooftop gardens. As reported in Fast Company, the first Soradofarm, also known as a Machinaka Vegetable Garden, was built on top of the Ebisu station in Tokyo over four years ago.

Now there are thirteen stations around the country with operating gardens or gardens in the works that are soon to be rented out.

Would You Eat a Salad Grown in a Bomb Shelter?
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/would-you-eat-salad-grown-bomb-shelter-180949909/#xZ63Ih6W1gee5M3p.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Independence Day — Grow your own organic vegetables and free yourself from pesticides

4th of July and America is celebrating with parades, fireworks, picnics, barbecues and grilling. Time to enjoy summer and be thankful for all of our blessings, privileges and freedoms.

Including …  freedom from pesticide laden fruits and vegetables. Declare your independence from toxic chemicals, rising grocery prices and Grow Your Own Organic Food.

harvest from Burbank gardenHomegrown organic vegetables are tasty additions perfect for use in these suggestions for side dishes for your holiday meals:

Heirloom Tomato-Watermelon Salad

Ingredients
  • 2-1⁄2 pounds fresh heirloom tomatoes, sliced, halved, or quartered
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon cubes, chilled
  • 1⁄3 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 4 tablespoons cane or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn
Instructions
On a serving platter, arrange tomatoes, watermelon, and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, canola oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over tomato mixture. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with basil.

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Vegan Tomato Salad with Cucumber, Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime

(Makes 2 servings, recipe created by Kalyn. Amounts of each ingredient can be adjusted to taste.)

Ingredients

  • 6 medium tomatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups diced tomatoes)
  • 2 medium cucumbers, diced into bite-sized pieces (about 1 cup diced cucumber)
  • 1 avocado, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (use more or less to taste)
  • 1 T + 2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 T best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional, but good)
  • salt to taste (I used Vege-Sal, but sea salt would be great here)

Instructions

Peel avocado and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Put avocado pieces into plastic or glass bowl and toss with 1 T lime juice. Season generously with salt.

Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, and cilantro and add to avocado in bowl. Whisk together 2 T lime juice and 1 T olive oil (with Spike seasoning if using) then stir gently into salad. Serve immediately. This doesn’t keep well, so only make as much as will be eaten right away.
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Grilled Zucchini Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Salad

  • 4 medium zucchini, summer squash or a combination thereof
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ears corn, unhusked
  • 2 avocado

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder or chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat gas or charcoal grill.
Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Soak corn in its husk in large container of water for 10 minutes. Remove from water and shake off excess.
Place zucchini slices and corn directly on grill. For zucchini, grill a few minutes on each side, until slices are tender and have grill marks. Remove and let cool. For corn, grill 15-20 minutes, turning every few minutes to cook all sides, until husk is charred all over. Remove and let cool.

Chop cooled zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces. Husk corn and use a sharp knife to remove kernels from cob. Chop avocados into 1/2 inch pieces. Mix vegetables in a medium bowl.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and well combined. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine. Refrigerate salad until chilled.

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Summer Zucchini Salad

(recipe from Glamour Magazine) — serves 4

Ingredients
12 oz. gluten-free pasta
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 package (10 oz.) frozen corn, defrosted
1 large zucchini, diced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
3 chives, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. GO Veggie! vegan Parmesan, for toppingDirections1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Toss pasta with olive oil, corn, zucchini, crushed red pepper, and chives; season with salt and pepper.
3. Divide pasta among four serving bowls. Top with GO Veggie! vegan Parmesan and serve.

Be safe and have a great holiday weekend!

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