Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The 5 Food Groups of Summer

This weekend we hosted a hastily thrown together, and very mini, housewarming party.  Actually, the house had already been warmed by most of the guests so it was more of a "Hey, come over again" type of get together.  Also, the idea of a "party" threw me into such a tailspin of stress, frustration, and anxiety (House not finished!), that I'm not exactly sure why I agreed to it.  Or I wasn't sure why I agreed until I brought home a variety of foods for the party and spread them out on the counters.  It was at that moment I realized, at least in these parts, food falls into two distinct categories and that one category was about to be happily consumed: summer food and everything else.

After looking it up on the USDA website I was horrified to find such a blatant omission of this category on the food pyramid.  In fact, as you probably already know, summer food has its own food pyramid!  You weren't aware of this?  Thank goodness you're reading.  Armed with the following facts, your summer will instantly improve.  Let's dissect the summer food group pyramid, shall we?

Top of Pyramid
This is a no-brainer and I feel silly even having to write it but in case you've forgotten: Peaches
Peaches can be implemented into the summer diet as infrequently as once daily in order to fulfill dietary requirements during the months of May-August.  Since they are incredibly portable, there's no excuse not to fit one (or 4) in between regular meals.  It's recommended that you stash a few in your purse, computer bag,  and on your nightstand a few times weekly.

2nd Tier:
Bi-colored Corn (Duh.  You know all this already!).  Bi-colored corn is an essential vehicle for a variety of nutritional supplements throughout the long, tiring months of summer such as: butter, salt, cajeta, lime, cayenne, or queso*.  Eaten naked it satisfies the majority of dietary requirements necessary to subsist in ludicrous temperatures.  Used as a vehicle for the dietary supplements previously listed, it serves as a drug that will release bliss-like endorphins.  *Please see pyramid base.

3rd Tier:
The third tier is dual purpose in both its nutritional benefits and use as a substitute for liquid consumption: Watermelon
Placed in the middle of the pyramid, watermelon acts as a sugar stimulant to keep weary, heat-stressed minds alert.  It can also be sucked on as a liquid replacement when the thought of another iced tea makes you want to gag (If that's even possible).

4th Tier:
As we near the foundation of the pyramid you'll notice the food group has become more liquid than solid.  As you know, intense heat causes all movement to become incredibly difficult if not impossible.  The less chewing required, the better: Tomatoes
The most effective tomato consumption method is debatable and since I try to be non-controversial, I'll stay out of that argument.  While it's true that fresh, summer tomatoes can be used as a pasta sauce, in gazpacho, as a salsa, roasted, pickled, etc.- it's also true that they are at their nutritional peak fresh from the vine, unwashed, and wiped 2 or 3 times against your shorts.  It is essential to incorporate fresh tomatoes into all meals, and preferably snacks, throughout the course of the difficult summer months.

Pyramid Base:
Oh, I feel so silly even writing this.  We all grew up learning about the foundational component of the summer food pyramid!  But, in the incredibly off chance someone forgot (all together now!): Queso 
As you know, while the earth spins nearer the sun than any other time of the year, you must strictly adhere to your body's daily queso intake requirements.  Since queso is primarily liquid, it can be consumed raw or ingested through placement on any other member of the summer food pyramid.

I really recommend you print this list and tape it to one of your kitchen cabinets or stick it onto the front of your refrigerator.  If you've been feeling puny lately it's most likely due to an improper summer diet.

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