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The heat, the summer like we haven’t had for decades. The heat that drives our taste buds to savour something light and refreshing. Our need for high calorific food can drop dramatically because our body just doesn’t need the same amount of fuel to keep warm. This is the ideal time to naturally cleanse, de-tox and lose weight. We are having our own Mediterranean weather right here in the UK! Various health experts both official and unofficial have long been extolling the virtues of a Mediterranean diet – lots of salads, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, moderate amounts of proteins such as fish, chicken and of course, olive oil. This is the perfect diet for a healthy gut. One of the key ingredients of a Mediterranean diet is quality. The Greeks, like the Italians, love, fresh simple food, straight from the garden/sea or local farmer/fisherman.

How can we ever replicate the taste of freshly grown Neapolitan tomatoes with Mozzarella here in this country!? Doesn’t it make you weep? Well we can only do our best. Trust your taste buds. Compare the taste of a bog standard carrot with one that is organic or even biodynamic. Did you know that the mineral content in your average carrot has dropped dramatically in the past five decades? David Thomas - a geologist turned chiropractor (who also happens to sell mineral supplements) - analysed data from McCance and Widdowson's epic work, The Composition of Foods (a reference manual republished and updated by Government biochemists every few years). During that 51-year period, potatoes appeared to have lost 47 per cent of their copper, 45 per cent of their iron and 35 per cent of their calcium while carrots showed even bigger declines.

Above everything else, I recommend quality. As good as you can afford. By quality I mean something grown in semi decent soil rather than earth laden with pesticides and chemical fertilisers, or reared without resorting to the routine application of growth hormones, antibiotics and steroids or imported from far flung countries where we have no idea what they are sprayed with. These chemicals get into the produce both animal and vegetable and inevitably when we are eating those foods we are also eating those additives. How can that be healthy for us long term? The rise in IBS, SIBO, auto immune diseases of one sort or another, obesity, diabetes is massive. The government is aware of the link between poor nutrition and ill health hence the welcome campaign to reduce sugar laden soft drinks. But it always seems a fight against the big boys of the food industry whose slogan is a healthy profit margin rather than a healthy population. We have to take care of ourselves, they won’t!

I know organic food is more expensive but if we ate less meat/chicken/fish and more vegetables and salad, following the Mediterranean diet, our weekly shopping bill probably wouldn’t be that much different. We don’t need red meat every day. Let’s take advantage of the heat and make some wonderful salads they are quick to prepare, delicious and good for us. Who wants to be slaving at a hot stove in this heat?

Caroline’s Sunny Salad

Side or main dish feeds 2-4. Grate 1-2 organic carrots, grate 1 organic beetroot, tear up an organic cos lettuce, add, wild rocket, chopped flat leaf parsley and coriander to taste, sliced avocado, piccolo tomatoes (preferably organic) crumble up barrel aged feta cheese put them all into a bowl and mix. Add seeds and other ingredients if you so wish like green beans, tuna fish and cucumber. You have one easy to make, delicious salad that is so healthy for you!

Caroline’s Sunny Salad Dressing.

I have been using this dressing for over 25 years. I can’t remember who gave it to me but it is one I have passed on many times and I always get positive feedback, it really is delicious. ½ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a dollop of Tahini (ground sesame seeds), 1-2 teaspoons of honey to taste, finely chopped garlic (optional). Mix ingredients to a thin cream, the more Tahini the thicker the consistency. Enjoy!

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