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BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2011-07-05

Did you enjoy your 4th of July?

Independence day. The celebration of victory. A glorius extended weekend for those of us in the states. A grand old time. Yet for me the 4th is also one of those milestones in the history of my husband, Isamu’s, illness. It’s one of those dates I wrote about in my April Eater’s Digest. It’s an anniversary that summons my careful scrutiny. I tiptoe around it like I might a sleeping guard, trying to get past his watch without being caught in his wrath.

Yet this year, while my attention was turned and the careful scrutiny was temporarily relaxed, mirth snuck in. Past and present. There they were, gentle reminders to keep stepping forward, that the sleeping guard might not be such a grouch after all.

In the present is my ten-year old son Gilbert, with no memories of the July 4th nine years ago when he was whisked from his father’s lap as he started to have the seizure that was one of the final markers that the fight for his life might be over. No memories at all. This year Gilbert woke up eager to greet the sunny day, asking about fireworks and smiling with innocent joy and excitement. And recently Gilbert helped lead me back to a July 4th before he was even a speck in my eye. It was just a few weeks ago while we were preparing for a photo shoot for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. I was, as you can imagine, a bit nervous about the shoot. (Keep an eye out for the October issue!)

Gilbert asked: Who is Martha Stewart?

I pulled a book from my packed cookbook shelf: Martha Stewart’s MENUS for Entertaining. This is Martha Stewart I showed him. And then I cracked open the book. Inside was an inscription from my husband…
Let’s have a clambake!

And a clambake we had. July 4th, 1994. We were in our first apartment together on a rare tree-lined street in San Francisco’s Mission District. We packed the house with friends and spent days preparing food, including a layered coconut cream cake made from fresh coconuts. On the morning of the 4th Isamu threw the hard nuts from our second floor deck onto rocks in our landlord’s yard downstairs to crack them open, one after the other. What delight that day brought! I was in the kitchen doing my kitchen-thing (before I even knew it was a thing), and he was buying clams and corn, meticulously picking out the music for the festivities and throwing coconuts.

On this July 4th I nestle up to that memory and my sweet and eager boy and let the bothersome images fade. My hope is that you too found the ways to embrace the joy of summer and the victory of the day. There is always something to celebrate!

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Asian Zucchini Slaw

This recipe is adapted from a straight-up Zucchini Slaw I found in one of the old Martha Stewart Living magazines I pulled from my basement storage this weekend. The magazines are near relics from the days of the clam bake and coconut cream cake, and so much fun to leaf through. As Martha states at the start of her recipe, “pick small, firm zucchini ~ the flesh has a nice texture and a fresh greenish tint”.
The recipe stands well on its own, as a zesty slaw, but would also work great on a sandwich or wrapped in a collard leaf with extra dressing for a delicious hot-weather raw wrap.

makes approximately 5 cups slaw

5 small zucchini

3 small carrots, peeled

6 small radishes, ends trimmed

1 thin leek

1/2 cup Asian Dressing (recipe below)

2 tablespoons finely shredded coconut

1 teaspoon sea salt

black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

cilantro for garnish (optional)

pineapple slices for serving (optional)

1. Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate the zucchini, carrots and radish into a large bowl. Cut the ends and tops off of the leek, slice it in half, and then cut the halves into thin half-moons. Separate the slivers of sliced leek and add to the bowl.

2. Add the dressing, shredded coconut and salt to the bowl and toss well to combine. Garnish with optional toppings and serve.

Asian Dressing


1/2 cup almond butter

1 medium tomato, chopped

1/4 cup wheat-free tamari

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar

1/2 teaspoon miso paste

1 (1-1/2-inch) piece ginger peeled and chopped

chili flakes to taste (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely smooth, adding a small amount of water if necessary to create a creamy dressing. (Note: If not using a blender, be sure the ginger is chopped fine so that the dressing doesn’t contain overpowering bits of ginger.)


This is the time of year that summer squash is showing up all over the place. By summer’s end, we may be a bit tired of the large veggies still appearing in the garden or on the shelves at the market. So get creative now and embrace the versatility of this seasonal beauty!

Zucchinis are among a wide variety of summer squashes. All have a sweet and mild taste that pairs well with other flavors. I love what the food authority Rebecca Wood says about zucchini: “I’m lavish with zucchini in zucchini season; otherwise I have no use for them, for unless they are fresh, they taste insipid”.

The Health Benefits of Zucchini Squash:

  • Summer squashes have quite a high water content. They’ll help keep you hydrated during the warm summer months.

  • That high water content will also act as a diuretic when needed, to assist in alleviating edema or water retention.

  • Zucchinis contain a nice amount of vitamin C and some good trace minerals, though they are otherwise not one of the most nutrient-dense veggies.

  • Even with the above said, there are some sound studies showing the anticancer benefits of summer squashes. The juices of zucchini in particular appear to help prevent cell mutations.

  • Summer squashes also contain carotenes, an important nutrient for protecting ourselves from the damaging effects of the sun.

Uses for Squash:

Where to begin?! Talk about versatility…

  • Zucchini can be scooped, stuffed and baked.

  • Summer squashes are an integral part of Ratatouille.

  • Don’t forget the zucchini bread! The larger zucchinis are great for this purpose. Check out this .

    chocolate zucchini bread

  • Zucchini Dip

    can nicely replace hummus in your wraps and spreads.

  • Grilled squash is delicious. Slice the small zucchinis in half, brush with olive oil and cook it up. It’s perfect sprinkled with a little salt.

  • Sauteed zucchini and tomatoes make a great addition to summer (gluten-free) pasta salad. Better yet, buy a spiralizer and turn your zucchini into angel-hair pasta!

  • Have you ever worked with squash blossoms (pictured above)? You can sprinkle them on salads or search for recipes for stuffed blossoms.

  • And don’t forget to include zucchini in your omelets, frittatas and pizzas. How about grilled pizzas?!

Do you have a favorite healthful zucchini recipe? Please post it on the Replenish PDX website or Facebook page.

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.




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