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Recipe for the Healthiest Summer Yet

By Lauray MacElhern, MBA
Managing Director
Center for Integrative Medicine, UC San Diego

There is no better time than summer to focus on health. Longer, warmer days seem to invite us to become lighter and brighter, too. One of the most powerful ways to nourish your body into its optimal state-of-being is through the food you eat every day. Here are three simple tips on how to use food to renew your body this summer:

  1. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Whole plant foods are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients that help to slow aging and fight and prevent disease. These foods are also high in fiber, which creates a feeling of fullness while internally cleansing the body.
  2. Grill wisely. Charred meats contain cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Plant foods do not form HCAs or PAHs, so try grilling marinated portobello mushrooms, vegetable kabobs, or veggie burgers instead.
  3. Balance your plate with color and cooking methods, while touching on each of the tastes: sweet, salty, savory, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Experiment with fresh herbs to enliven your dishes.

Best Ever Corn-on-the-Cob


  • Corn
  • Ume boshi plum (paste, whole, or vinegar)

Place corn in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove careful and rub or drizzle ume boshi plum (paste, whole or vinegar) on the corn cob. Serve. You will never miss the butter!

Asian Coleslaw

Serves: 6 to 8
Preparation: 20 minutes


  • 1⁄2 head of cabbage (red, green or savoy)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • Lemon juice (use 1 lemon = 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons miso (white or chickpea miso taste best)
  • 1⁄4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (hand-toast right before tossing for maximum flavor)
  • Pinch of sea salt to taste

Chop cabbage into fine slivers. Shred carrot and combine with cabbage. Create sauce by dissolving
miso paste into water. Add lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk until smooth. Pour sauce over cabbage/carrot mixture, and stir well, to fully coat vegetables. Toss with sesame seeds. This coleslaw will last for 5 - 7 days, and will marinate over time.

Quick Veggie Burgers

Serves: 4
Preparation: 20 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups beans (any kind) cooked
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup shittake mushroom, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, sauce, or ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Garnish with avocado and serve over a large leaf of romaine lettuce.

Place all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and blend until coarsely chopped. Chill mixture for at least 30 minutes. Shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties. Place patties on oiled or parchment paper-lined baking pan. Preheat oven to 475 degrees fahrenheit and bake patties on top rack for 10 to 15 minutes.