It’s time to rethink your palate and how fresh food can jumpstart healthy living. Summer is a great time to experiment with seasonal foods, reimagining them in new recipes and understanding their real health benefits.

At the Aspen Club, we’ve compiled a few of our fresh summer favorites that you might find at the local farmer’s market or your own garden, to inspire you to live and eat well!

  • Kale: Kale has hit tables across America as the new super food. Low in calories, 36 calories per cup, and high in fiber, magnesium, iron, vitamin K, and antioxidants, kale can be eaten raw, massaged with oils, and dressed in dried cranberries, blue cheese crumbles, and cucumbers. It is a cool and filling treat. Kale is also delicious dried or baked into kale chips, as a healthy substitute to chips and dip at parties and summer gatherings. Kale is easy to grow in Colorado, flourishing in farms and at-home-gardens.
  • Asparagus: In the late spring and early summer, a great farm-fresh food is asparagus. When eaten soon after picked and brought home from the market, asparagus is still alive for a few days after being picked. Its metabolic activity continues for 48 hours. When consumed in that window, asparagus is extremely high in vitamin K and folate. This low-calorie food (only 40 calories/1cup) is sweet, tender, and delicious. It is also versatile – thrown on the grill drizzled with kosher salt and a dash of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil or pureed in a warm, spring soup for a cool, rainy evening, asparagus always hits the spot!
  • Peaches: It just wouldn’t be summer without Colorado peaches. Sweet and delicious, peaches are great for hair and skin. Packed with vitamins A and C, peaches regenerate skin tissue and have been shown to have a positive effect on the scalp as well. Many health-conscious eaters find peaches to be the perfect sweet treat – filling and nutritious, it hardly even feels healthy!  Want to mix it up? Throw those peaches on the grill with a touch of honey and serve with a touch of organic ice cream or a dash or whipped cream – it makes the perfect dessert.
  • Peppers: While the Rockies may not by synonymous with growing peppers, it can be done and with very interesting and intense flavor profiles. Peppers have been shown to boost metabolism. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants to neutralize free radicals in the body. Chopped up with onion, garlic, a splash of lime, and tomatoes (the next on our list of great, fresh foods), homemade salsa is a healthy and delicious way to eat healthy this summer.
  • Tomatoes: An afternoon at the farmer’s market or garden center will impress upon one the incredibly wide variety of tomatoes there are available for snack, cooking with or to serve in a fresh salad on a warm, summer day. This summer, take advantage of the abundance of varieties and experiment with new flavor profiles. Commonly known to be an antioxidant, tomatoes are also packed with Alpha-lipoic acid. This acid has been shown to aid in converting glucose into energy, which can help control blood glucose. This is critical for diabetes patients but also very helpful for those using the glycemic index for weight control.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are one of the wonders of the summer farmer’s market, and with over 600 varieties, there are plenty of new variations of an old favorite. Strawberries served up hulled and fresh contain anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid, which can reduce the risk of heart attack. When eaten regularly beginning at an early age, strawberries have many long-term health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol.
  • Snow Peas: Snow Peas are one of the all-time best summer foods, especially when picked fresh from the vine. Sweet and tender, these peas and their edible shell are traditionally associated with Chinese food but add flavor and spark to any salad or sauté. High in vitamin C, Snow Peas offer a healthy boost to anyone with a summer cold or simply looking to boost their immune system.
  • Cantaloupe: Another summer favorite, cantaloupe has a fresh, rich flavor, but it deserves a mention on the list due to its high levels of vitamin C and A. The flesh of the cantaloupe is containing rich vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, a great way to consume beta-carotene. At parties and summer gatherings, the cantaloupe flies off the plate as fast as it’s cut, proof positive that cantaloupe is one of summer’s favorite snacks!
  • Swiss Chard: It has become a popular green adorning salads and side entrees recently. Often dismissed due to its somewhat distinctive flavor, chard is a wonderful green, and it is easily grown in Colorado. Chef John, from FoodWishes, offers a cotechino and Swiss chard dish that is perfect for the sometimes-cool Aspen evenings. In this recipe, the flavor of chard compliments the Italian pork sausage, drawing out its own flavor and contributing to the larger flavor profile of the dish. Swiss chard, in addition to adding a unique flavor to the world of greens, also offers an incredibly high level of antioxidants, making it uniquely healthy.
  • Fresh Herbs: They are often overlooked at the farmer’s markets for their more colorful competition. However, the aromatics of fresh herbs in the kitchen and in home-cooked food, is second to none. Additionally, fresh herbs offer a wide variety of health benefits. Rosemary, peppermint, parsley, oregano, and many more can help with inflammation, pain, and discomfort as well as many attributed healing properties. Herb gardens are easy to grow in pots, right in the ground or in a well-lit window.

Farm-to-table cooking in Aspen this time of year is viable and a sustainable way to live. It’s not just good for the earth, it’s good for you too! Join us as Aspen Club for healthier eating and exercise tips.

Have you been indulging on sweet treats, comfort foods, and your favorite holiday dishes? Have you found that once you start, it’s hard to stop? There are literally sweet excesses and “treats” everywhere these days, even if you’re trying to be “good”.

Unfortunately, this can leave you not only feeling guilty with difficulty buttoning your pants, but it also has a greater effect on your body and mind. Remember, food is information, and the message being sent is to increase inflammation and insulin, which leads to fat storage and elevated dopamine levels, which leads to greater food cravings and the need to have more. I know this firsthand, as I used to experience significant food cravings and the need for more over the holidays.

How can you get back on track? Starting right now, it’s time to break the cycle.

Here are 6 easy tips to start RIGHT NOW.

  • Drink water: Many of us forget to drink enough, and this can lead to thinking we are hungry, when we are thirsty. Reset your hunger hormones by replenishing the fluids your body needs.
  • Slow down: The craziness and stress of the holidays increase our cortisol levels, which leads to increased appetite, especially for carbohydrate-rich foods. You can lower cortisol with slow, deep breaths (focus on a longer exhale), or any other mindful activities you like to do. If you meditate, this is a good time to continue the practice. Even a few minutes will help break the cycle and reground you.
  • Start your next meal with a large salad: The raw veggies and fiber will help reset your hormones and help supply the nutrients your body may be craving, especially as it deals with the excess oxidative stress from the holiday feasting. Finish with a piece of fresh fruit.
  • Get sleep: When we sleep, we reset our hunger hormones and decrease our stress hormones. This helps reduce food cravings and makes it easier to make better food choices. Try to prioritize sleep time, especially during this busy season.
  • Get outdoors and move: Even if it’s snowing or raining, at least take a walk. The fresh air, the movement, and the time outdoors is essential to getting back on track.
  • Enjoy the moment: Try not to be hard on yourself. The holidays are a magical time for a reason. Enjoy the season, while at the same time, remember to nourish yourself. Investing in your great health may be the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones. Don’t wait for the new year. Start right now.

Meatless Monday is a national nonprofit public health initiative founded by the Mondays Campaign and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. By eating vegetarian one day each week, meat consumption can be reduced by 15%, improving both our personal health and the health of the planet. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Why Go Meatless on Monday?
Health Benefits:
  • Limit cancer risk: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
  • Reduce heart disease: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
  • Fight diabetes: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Curb obesity: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
  • Live longer: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality.
  • Improve your diet: Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fatand total fat.


Environmental Benefits:
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide, which is far more than transportation. Annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
  • Minimize water usage: The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
  • Help reduce fossil fuel dependence: On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.

If you would like more information about the Meatless Monday movement, go to