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Common Sense

By Joseph Serio R.Ph. Registered Pharmacist

The summer is upon us and in addition to being the season of sun and outdoor fun, it is also the season of abundance. Native asparagus, strawberriesO, peas, and lettuce have already been harvested. Tomatoes, corn, and the rest of the magnificent summer crop is not far behind; and that brings us to our monthly discussion on health and how best to maximize yours in the best possible way.

It is no secret that much of our good health is directly related to what we put into our bodies. Western medicine is still not emphasizing that enough and instead pumping the American public with pills to the tune of 80 billion a year (again as I stated when I post a staggering number like this; IT IS NOT A MISPRINT). If you can't fathom that it can also be expressed as 80,000 million; that my friends is the amount of legal pharmaceutical chemicals that we put in our bodies each year.

I am getting away from the subject at hand, but it can never be overstated, if you think western medicine is going to cure you with it's grossly overpriced 80 billion dollars worth of drugs, you will lead a shorter and less healthy life than those who understand that evolution is dependent on good fuel(food) and environment.

Off the soap box and into the kitchen where we will get back on the subject of good food. One of the main complaints that people have (me included), is I don't have enough time to prepare a proper meal, so that is where the junk food and bad eating habits come in. The time thing is valid and certainly needs to be addressed; but I'll put a sobering thought into that statement and that is if you don't take the time to eat good food, in the last third of your life you'll have plenty of time, because you won't have the health to travel and play and enjoy the things that take "fun time". Impossible you say! Well, I've been in practice long enough (20 years) to see my patients who have monetarily saved and are well off financially, but poor healthwise.

In this situation which is all too common the only winner is the drug companies and the insurance companies ( I'd liked to say the pharmacies too, but with 5000 a year closing in the US due to pricing practices of the two mentioned I'm afraid we're out of the loop). So again back to the subject at hand, how can we eat better with less time and that is where the summer harvest comes in. As the saying goes, when the sun shines make hay and that is exactly what you should do when it comes to eating native produce. Eat it early, often and in copious amounts. Make a meal of just summer time vegetables.

Many of you I'm sure have heard of a version of the New England summer dinner which is lots of steamed corn and fresh tomatoes with oil and vinegar. The preparation time is nil and the result is heavenly. If you must, use butter, salt and freshly ground pepper sparingly, but if you are picking it up at your local farmstand (it goes without saying that this is where the produce is much fresher and therefore better.), it probably isn't even necessary.

You ready for some more great meals listen to this. It's the time of year where swordfish is plentiful and inexpensive, so I picked some up on the way home at 3.99/pound. I stopped at my local farmstead and purchased native asparagus, small red potatoes, and red leaf lettuce right out of the field. I cooked the swordfish on the grill with a little butter and lemon. The potatoes I boiled with the skin on, the asparagus steamed, and a simple salad with nothing but extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There you have, preparation and cooking time was less than 20 minutes for everything, the results were gourmet quality and cleanup was minimal. My only mistake was not purchasing freshly picked strawberries for dessert. In addition I took the left over potatoes and asparagus, adding oil and vinegar, and putting it in the icebox for my next days lunch. If this sounds good to you , think of the favorite foods harvested locally that you really like. Write them down and post it in your kitchen cabinet. When they become available eat more of them and less of the same old prepared foods from the supermarket.

I see a change in America. Americans today are increasingly interested in eating smaller amounts of higher quality food. Go to the new Victory Marketplace store in Fitchburg to better understand that. They also are relaying more on their own intuition in understanding that taking care of themselves and using inexpensive old fashion remedies and eating better is a better option than depending on a form of medicine that has left us no healthier and many billion poorer (my feeling is we spend twice as much as we should. Imagine what we could do with the money?). Be proactive towards your own health. It just makes good common sense.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. You should read carefully all product packaging. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.