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“Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.” — T. Collin Campbell

Summer is back! OK, not officially, as we have not yet experienced the summer solstice, but it is strawberry season! In fact, throughout the coming months of summer, other berries will also come into season.

Freshly picked berries are not only some of Mother Nature’s sweetest earthly treasures, but they are also some of the most nutrient-rich treats. Plus, they are just so darn versatile. Eat ’em plain; toss them into cereal, smoothies or yogurt; mash them onto your toast (for real!); bake them into cakes, muffins or pies; cook them down into syrup, sauces or jams; or can, dry or freeze them for later use. Honestly, what’s not to love about berries?

From a nutritional standpoint, berries are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the all-important fiber. Think of berries as your personal arsenal for warding off cancer, protecting the health of your heart, and fending off chronic inflammation and/or illness. They also benefit your skin, may help lower cholesterol and can typically be enjoyed no matter the diet you follow due to the fact they are low-glycemic and low in calories as well as carbs. Those tiny, juicy, brightly colored orbs are bursting with nothing but love and goodwill for your body and your taste buds.

Now, contrast the vivid indigo of blueberries, the deep purple of blackberries, the candy red of strawberries, the shiny garnet of cherries and pomegranates, and the rose crimson of raspberries to the homely cauliflower. Oh sure, there are a few colorful varieties of cauliflower, but by and large, the most abundant form of cauliflower is as colorless as a canvas.

In fact, that is how I prefer to think of cauliflower: a canvas. A canvas waiting for the strokes of color from an artist’s, or in this case, cook’s palette.

“Most flowers say, ‘I love you,’ but cauliflowers say, ‘I hope you live forever.’ And, that’s more intense than love.” — Unknown

Cauliflower, like the acclaimed berry, is considered a superfood. It, too, is high in fiber, low in calories and carbohydrates and full of vitamins and minerals. Brimming with phytonutrients, antioxidants and high levels of sulforaphane — an ingredient in all cruciferous vegetables — cauliflower can also wage war against cancer. Due to its high level of choline, it also supports learning and memory maintenance (who doesn’t need help with that?). Additionally, cauliflower is full of bone-enhancing vitamin K.

Similarly to berries, cauliflower is versatile in the kitchen. Popularly known for creating a healthier alternative to traditional pizza crust, cauliflower can also be made into grilled “steaks,” buffalo “wings” and stir-fried “rice.” Furthermore, it can be mashed, steamed, baked, fried, tossed into soup, salad or dip, eaten raw, its stem can be shredded and added to slaw, and it can be frozen for later use. Plus, it can be added to smoothies!

“If cauliflower can be pizza, you, my friend, can be anything.” — Unknown

If you are familiar with my work, you know I love whole-food, plant-based smoothies. They are convenient, portable powerhouses of nutrition that can be made ahead of time and frozen. That’s right! Blend a whole batch of smoothies up for the week in one manageably messy hour or less, and you are setting yourself up for a nutritionally robust, go-get-’em week!

Then, the night before — or really, just a few hours ahead of time — take one smoothie out of the freezer, and set it in the fridge. Then, in the morning, you’re ready to kick off your dynamo day with a jolt of nutritional righteousness.

Now that the weather is warming up, nothing tastes more refreshing than a cool, creamy, sweet smoothie. The sweetness occurs naturally from the succulent berries — no added sugars here. Full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals; low in calories and carbohydrates; this smoothie recipe checks all the boxes. You won’t be able to taste the cauliflower, but instead, you will taste all of the berry deliciousness of whatever berry or berries you choose. Your taste buds and body will be doing the happy dance, and you will feel a peace of mind knowing you made one small choice of positivity that just may lead to multiple beneficial steps toward your health for the day.

“A healthy outside starts from the inside.” — Robert Urich

I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Change it up, dress it up, and make your own version of this wholesome blessedness. Then, hit me up via email, Instagram, Facebook or on my website, stephsimplycom. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

From my home to yours, I simply wish you vibrant health. Here’s to you!

Berry Good Cauliflower Smoothie

1½ cup riced cauliflower

1 to 1 ¼ cup favorite liquid plus ¼ to ½ cup pomegranate, cherry, blueberry or combination juice (you want a total of 1½ cups liquid)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of salt (optional)

1 inch or ½ teaspoon ginger

1 mini cucumber or half of a large one

½ lime, peel removed, but leave parts of the pith for extra flavor and vitamin C

1 cup mixed berries

1 Medjool date or ½ banana for added sweetness (optional)

Go “extra” if you want, with as many of these additional nutritious powerhouses as desired:

Replace ¼ cup of your favorite liquid with ¼ cup aloe

2 teaspoons amla

2 teaspoon greens powder

1 to 2 teaspoons açai powder

½ to 1 teaspoon matcha powder

½ to 1 whole scoop of favorite protein powder

¼ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder

Place cauliflower and all liquid ingredients into the blender and blend well.

Add in rest of the ingredients in the order listed above.

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Makes one large (about 32 ounces) or two smaller (about 16 ounces) smoothies.

Stephanie Hill is a freelance writer and a teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Huntington. She is also a lifelong resident of Lawrence County. She can be reached at hill992@zoominternet.net. Or you can check out her website, stephsimply.com.

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