Chayote Squash

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My interest in Chayote began when I discovered it between the Tatume and Yellow Squash. The price caught my eye since it was less than the Zucchini and I like a bargain. I am also adventurous in my search for tasty, nutritious and healthy food. Did I mention that I like squash? I remember my grandfather telling me that he didn’t care for squash because he ate so much of it during the depression.

Upon researching this “Green Pear”, one of many names as it is called, I discovered that it is nutritious and can be prepared many different ways. Chayote is a source of Vitamin C and amino acids, making it a healthy option. It is common in Mexican and South American culture. Chayote can be eaten raw, in salads and salsas, or cooked and added to many dishes as you would potato or any other root vegetable.

The entire plant is used in cooking, but it is the fruit itself that I am familiar with. From the outside, the shape is like a pear or avocado. The color of the flesh resembles Honeydew and is very firm. The peel can be eaten, although I find it a little tough. When cutting, a substance like Aloe seeps out, so I prefer to peel it under running water. Diced, one Chayote yields about two cups. The flavor reminds me of cucumber or melon, but very light. There is a single, flat seed inside, that I eat as well. It tastes like a fresh shelled pea with a nutty flavor.

This is a great substitute for white potatoes in soups, stews, or cooked as a side dish. I have found that it holds up to all day cooking in the crock pot, as opposed to potatoes. For a breakfast side dish, I dice one up with onion and garlic, and serve with eggs. Topped with tomato, cilantro and a sprinkling of fresh ground, smoked peppercorns,that I purchase from Spices Ltd. I like to mix the port and scotch brined, smoked peppercorns and buy many of my other spices from Spices Ltd. at North Market Spices in Columbus, Ohio.

The next time you see Chayote in the store, grab one and give it a shot.                             Infitness, Bob                              IMG_20140729_080910_607 (1)

Hydration

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The recipe is at the end. But you’re not really going to skip through this are you?

What is hydration? In short it means the addition of water. What I am referring to is the process of providing an adequate amount of liquid to your bodies tissues. With muscle being 70% water, we don’t want to hold back on our water intake anymore than we want to starve the body of good fuel.

A water loss decrease of just 1 1/2 % will reduce muscle strength. Water is important. Proper digestion is benefited by hydration as well. Nutrients are absorbed faster and body waste is carried through the digestive tract quicker, with less time for nasty bacteria to harbor inside of us.

Dehydration, or the lack of water, will cause negative effects, or death in severe cases. Irritability, thirst, dry skin, decreased urination, headaches, sleepiness, constipation, dizziness, you get the idea. Cutting down on your coffee habit? Make sure you replace that liquid intake with water. This causes headaches.

I have heard people tell me that they don’t like to drink that much water because it causes too many bathroom breaks. See your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying condition. I say take advantage of the the break and get some circulation. The mental clarity will help you focus better. Who wants you cranky and tired at work anyhow?

Okay, so hopefully you are starting to see that it’s beneficial to drink up. (Sorry guys, not last call)

Try to make a habit of replacing fluid output with fluid intake. If you wait until your body tells you you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrating. Another saying is that; if it touches your lips, take ten sips.

Sports drinks are good but they have a purpose. They too can be abused. Fruit juices count, just watch the sugars. Fruits are another great source of water. Watermelon, hence the name, is 90% water. this makes a great slush as well. Oranges, grapefruit, and melons should not be counted out either. Grapefruit is a very low Glycemic Index fruit too. Cucumbers, celery and tomatoes are good choices also. You can even try adding a sprig of mint, fruit or cucumber slices to your glass of water to make it more appealing.  I like a splash of lime.

Recipe time: Watermelon, cucumber & mint slush…..Mmmmmmmmmmmmm  

Do ahead tip: chill or freeze the watermelon  5-6 c seedless watermelon, 1 small cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 2-3 Tbsp honey or sweetener of your choice, and a sprig of mint.

Combine all ingredients in blender or processor until smooth. This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days but I doubt you can leave it alone that long. The pulp is good for you, or you can process longer. Add a couple of coconut water ice cubes, or whatever you like to thin if desired.                    Drink up and hydrate friends!                                                         In fitness, Bob