Happy June 1st!
Lately, my meals have been all about the H20. It’s easy to get dehydrated without knowing it, but I have to be especially mindful of my water intake now that I’m taking the hot yoga classes, sweating out water I didn’t even know was there. One way that I sneak in a little extra water is having a cucumber with my lunches. Cucumbers are mostly water and they are just so versatile. Throw them into a salad, scoop them into yummy dips, pump up a smoothie, or top a sandwich.
This cucumber mint salad is something I’ve been enjoying lately. It is refreshing, light, with a hint of minty goodness. It goes along perfectly as a side to my favourite avocado and veggie sandwiches.
Refreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing
Inspired by Savvy vegetarian and Clean Start.
Yield: 2 servings
- 2 English cucumbers (or type of your choice), chopped
- 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 2-3 tsp chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (Stir can well before measuring out)
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder, for slight thickening (optional)
1. Chop the cucumbers, red onion, 1/4 cup packed fresh mint, and dill. Place into large bowl and combine.
2. In a food processor, make the dressing by processing the rest of the ingredients (coconut milk, mint, olive oil, lime juice, agave, salt, optional arrowroot powder). Process until mostly smooth (tiny mint speckles will remain).
3. Pour the dressing onto the cucumber salad and mix well. Chill for an hour or two or serve immediately. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.
Note: Salad does not keep well overnight in the fridge (it gets a bit watery), so I suggest eating it the same day.
The dressing is great with just a touch of sweetness added in. The agave goes along nicely with the mint and a pinch of salt helps bring out the flavour even more. You can have fun playing around with the dressing…there isn’t an exact way to make this salad and that’s why I love it!
My set up:
I know, it’s like finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist right? ;)
Back on Track Month Recap
At the beginning of May, I wrote a post about being in a major slump. In early Spring, I was side-lined with a Sciatic injury for over a month. Shortly after that, I was sick for 2-3 weeks. This, combined with crappy weather, had me feeling really out of balance in all areas in my life. I felt out of shape, my cravings were all over the place, and I just felt like I lost my zest for life.
On May 1st, I decided to make some small changes that would add up over time. Not only was my birthday approaching, but I knew that I wanted to get things back on track for the upcoming Summer season.
So, I devised a plan!
I first had to identify the slumps in my life and then create solutions for each:
|1) Sickness||Stick with healthy flu fighting habits.|
|2) Sciatic Nerve Injury||My sciatic nerve isn’t sore anymore (yay) and I want to continue stretching and yoga as a preventative measure.|
|3) Exercise||I was unable to exercise during much of April (except for the elliptical a bit during the sciatic injury) and I’m feeling out of shape. My solution is
to create a few exercise goals that I will be able to stick to in May. More on this below.
|4) Eating||For me, it is extra difficult to eat healthy when I’m not working out. When I am working out, I find it much easier to eat healthy. They go hand in hand. My eating in April has been all over the map. I lost my appetite and taste buds during my flu so I have had no desire to eat vegetables like I usually do. This also left me craving super sweet foods. In May I need to get my eating back on track.|
Then, I broke the slumps down into achievable goals for May.
Exercise Goals For May & How I did:
Exercise Goals: Strength – Stretch – Cardio – Rest every week.
- Strength: 1 Body Pump class per week
- Stretch: 1 yoga class per week (I’m going to try hot yoga soon), plus stretching after workouts
- Cardio like running, hiking, elliptical 5-6 days a week for ~30-60 minutes each.
- 1 Rest day a week, or as needed
How did I do?
- Strength —> Body Pump: I didn’t achieve this goal! I did just 2 Body Pump classes in May.
- Stretch –> Hot yoga was definitely the surprise of May! Little did I know that it would not only be a great stretch, but also a killer strength class. My muscles have gotten so much stronger since I started hot yoga and I prefer it over Body Pump.
- Cardio –> I achieved this goal, focusing on elliptical, walking, and low-mileage running 6 days a week.
- Rest: I took 1 rest day a week.
All in all, May was a fantastic month for getting my exercise back on track. I’m so thankful I put my fears aside and tried hot yoga because now I can’t see myself without it.
Eating Goals For May & How I did:
- Eat more veggies: wash & chop up a bunch every Sunday and keep in containers in fridge as a time saver.
- Green Monsters few times a week
- Juicing most mornings
- Structure Meals and limit snacking: Good sized breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, light dinner & treat.
- Cook! I’ve been going through a major cooking slump (basically not wanting to cook at all), but I want to get back to cooking more dinners and having more structured meals.
- Meal Planning: Along the same line of cooking more dinners, I need to plan out meals that I can cook each week. I hope to do this on the weekend before grocery shopping for the week.
How did I do?
- More veggies: When I went to the grocery store, I was mindful to fill the cart up with mostly veggies and fruit. Having so much produce in the fridge forced me to use it up before it went bad, so I definitely increased my consumption.
- Green Monsters: I’ve been enjoying a few Green Monsters a week and so glad to have them in my diet consistently again.
- Juicing: I was juicing every morning for the first two weeks in May and then I fell off the bandwagon ever since. I’m very hot and cold with juicing. Sometimes I love it and other times the thought of cleaning the machine just makes me run from it!
- Structured meals and limit snacking: I did not achieve this goal! I’m such a snacker and often do not take enough time for proper sit-down meals when I’m busy. I need to continue to work on this in June.
- Cook: In May, I still struggled with cooking slumps on and off, but I think I have finally gotten my groove back. Making large meals with leftovers has been a great time-saver for quick lunches and leftovers.
- Meal planning: I wouldn’t say I have been good for meal planning or that I even enjoy it, but I do try to plan my meals 1-2 days in advance now. I will never be a weekly meal planner though! It’s just not in my personality.
While I didn’t achieve all my eating goals for May, I still consider it to be a success. My eating feels back on track and much more balanced. My cravings for sweets have gone down a bit too.
In just 1 month, I feel like a lot has changed. My energy has increased and I just feel happier all around.
I’ve realized that slumps aren’t always a bad thing; they tell us that something is out of balance and we need to change. While this can be uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking, approaching it with small, achievable goals can help. If I hadn’t gone through my slump, I probably never would have fallen in love with yoga and rekindled my relationship with myself. While I consider exercise and eating goals to be important, my biggest gain from this month has been an unplanned one- improving inner peace and self-love.
Coming up, I’ll tell you what my goals are for June. In the meantime, let me know if you have any goals for this month!
What do you hope to achieve in June?
Ang- This is a beautiful post! I love the photo session set up! You really know how to make your food look beautiful.
I really enjoyed this post. I just found out, after 4 weeks of my body being numb, that I have a bulging disc in my neck. This has put me in a major slump. My anxiety is through the roof. I’m afraid to do anything all of a sudden. I haven’t seen a specialist yet. But I’m going through the same thing-no exercise and a poor diet. I don’t want veggies, I don’t want smoothies. I want chips and crackers. I noticed that you made goals after your injury was better. Did you do anything to help yourself while you we still injured?
I believe I still tried to create goals for things that I COULD do even when injured. For example, I could challenge myself to have a certain number of veggie servings a day or do weight lifting on my arms…that sort of thing. It helps to stay positive to think about what you can do instead of what you cant. :) Hope you heal quickly!
One more thing…what do you use to juice your veggies?
I use a Breville Fountain juicer :) it’s decent…but still struggles with beets and such.
Glad to hear you accomplished almost all of your May goals. Congrats! :-D
I wish I liked cucumber, that looks really good! What do you mean Santa doesn’t exist? :-) But I’m glad you revealed your little secret, it makes me feel less inadequate in my set up. You just have these visions that people who take pics as nice as you do having these elaborate set ups that you could never replicate or a big studio. Congrats on reaching your May goal…on to June! Woo hoo!
I love cucumbers! They are the perfect summer food – next to watermelon, that is.
My June goal is to enjoy summer and have fun! Oh and maybe exercise a bit more too.
Slumps definitely happen! When I was in my first trimester I lost all desire to cook anything and it scared me! Luckily, time passed and the motivation to get in the kitchen came back.
I love developing a game plan to get back on track, like you did. I find plans inspirational :)
I hate cleaning the juicer too and if I don’t start the day with a green juice, that is usually the reason why…I don’t have time to clean it afterwards!! My solution? I buy a bunch of produce and juice it all on one day, then freeze in medium glass jars so I can take one out the night before I want a juice and voila…a delicious, refreshing green juice every morning of the week with only one day of clean up!!
I can’t imagine you eating more veggies! haha. I’m happy your goals worked out for you. Oh, and I feel ya about cleaning the machine. That’s one thing that keeps me from making more smoothies & GMs.
I June I hope to finally get rid of my anxiety attacks that I have been having. I hope to exercise more and incorporate more hot yoga and high intensity cardio and weight training to my life. I hope to eat more greens and fruits and no meat… I probably could make it by being veganarian! (my own made up word) ha! And drink way more green juices!!! Congrats on achieveing your goals!
Thank you for your honesty about your goals and achieving them :D I was feeling a little low about not achieving my may goal but its nice to see that even one of my fitness idols struggles a bit with cooking etc- though you def. outdid me on the elliptical front!
I’ve had a crazy month of college/work etc, and though I maintained my weight I didnt hit my target loss for this month- – but I can just try harder this month and I will take your idea of identifying my slumps and getting through them!
I love how wonderful you look and how honest you are about managing your life. I find for me exercise is paramount to eating well and I am beginning to realize the live food gives me energy while cooked food often drains it and makes me crave more and more and more! After many years of struglling , I might go raw! yikes because I don’t know where to begin.
I love your recipe, your pictures, your glow.. thanks for a great blog..
Thanks so much…goodluck with your goals!
The cucumber salad looks delicious!!! And I love the setup–beautiful!
This month I hope to eliminate Coke from my diet and drink much more water; do more hot yoga and try rock climbing for the first time; and finish decluttering my bedroom (moved back to my parents’ house temporarily and live in the bedroom I grew up in…I’ve been cleaning it for 3 months and have made good progress but I’ve hit a plateau of productivity!!!). :)
I agree that meal planning can be pretty tough. have a beautiful day!
Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! Way to go with all the progress you’ve made in accomplishing your goals. Its always a great idea to write them out and see how far you’ve really come!
You are so right when you say “that slumps aren’t always a bad thing; they tell us that something is out of balance and we need to change.” I have come to realize that.
I hope to get in better shape in June.
Meal planning has always been something that I have struggled with in the past but I am going to try to make that my June goal :)
I love refreshing cucumber in salads. This time of the year begs for it. We just made a lovely cucumber fennel salad that really hits the spot. Great recipe
I liked seeing your setup! I’m trying to learn food photography and I have always admired your pictures.I would love to see more set up pictures in the future.
Drink more WATER! I have been so bad about this lately. And to start taking my vitamins everyday! I can’t wait to try that cucumber salad — Looks so refreshing :)
We are too totally different people living in very different places doing the exact same thing.
I run a lot and I LOVE to cook. I was super skeptical about yoga classes, but couldn’t get over a stupid IT band injury and ended up having to back out of running the Nashville marathon at the end of April. Very upset and couldn’t figure out a way to get in some good strengthening, strengthening and cardio here in Memphis, TN. (Recently moved here from a much more up and coming city..not a whole lot of options for classes here).
Well I found it! I stared Bikram Yoga May 6th (1 day before you started yours..so crazy!) and Have not looked back! I’ve gone 6/wk since then and just signed up for 3 month unlimited. I’ve run once since then and still have a little pain so I sticking to those 90 minute sweat sessions for the time being!
Just couldn’t help but pointing out the coincidence! Sometimes when you going through a slump its good to know that there are plenty others of us out there working through similar things! Wrote a post on how much I’ve seen change in just ONE month of yoga: http://thefoodplacebo.blogspot.com/2011/05/bikram-yoga.html
I really love coming to read your blog, because we really do have so many similar interests and dislikes (Like yoga before trying…!)
I just want to say thank you for all your inspiration! You are an amazing person. I love your site, love the daily emails I receive and LOVE your recipes. I just came from our farmers market here in Calgary and cannot wait to try this new recipe! I am sure it will be just as delicious as the rest :)
Have a great weekend
Thank you April! :)
I know this is an older recipe, but a tip on cucumber salads that will make them last for up to three days is to sweat the cucumbers. After slicing them, toss with a bit of kosher or sea salt in a collandar and fill a ziploc bag with water and set on top of them for 30 minutes. It will pull extra moisture and allow the cucumbers to be crisp for several days. :-)
Thanks for the tip, I will try that!
This salad taste really goooood! the dressing makes it amazing. I don’t have mint leaves, so I am using cilantro n it came out so delicious!
Wow! A new favorite for my recipe stash! Summer in GA is HOT; this is a real pick me up. I added a can of chickpeas to make the salad a complete meal. It turned out amazing. I thought it was a good addition to add protein. Also, I used the optional arrowroot and the dressing did not breakdown at all. In fact it seemed a little thicker the next day so I had a lunch ready to go! I love your blog and recipes. Inventive but not fussy. Thank you!
So glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Lindsay! Thanks for the lovely comment, and I hope you manage to stay cool. :)