The bird raced across the backyard, stopping when it caught sight of Annie on the meditation platform. Annie opened her eyes, “Mr. Roadrunner, you’re not going to have Mr. Gecko for breakfast. He’s my guest because he’s keeping the insects and mosquitos at bay,” she thought. It seemed the bird could read her mind because it turned tail, raced to the wall, took a short flight over it, and was gone. In the meantime, the gecko continued to hang out close to Annie. She smiled, closed her eyes, and resumed meditating.

In the kitchen, LJ prepared breakfast; he watched the sun moving steadily in Annie’s direction. He knew she would soak it up for about ten minutes for its vitamin D before ending her meditation.

Shortly, Annie folded her hands in the traditional namaste pose and got up. On her way to the house, she stopped to pick a couple of ripe papaya and cantaloupe.

LJ opened the screen door and took the fruit from her,” I saw the staredown between you and the roadrunner,” he said smiling. “protecting our gecko?”

“Yes, he can stay as long as he keeps the mosquito population in check.

They started washing the fruit. “Should I peel some papaya for breakfast,” Annie asked. “I want to get a jump start on summer and start eating foods that hydrate and nourish my hair, skin, and nails to counteract the extra amounts of sun exposure. Papaya does because it contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, and B9. It is a rich source of lycopene, an antioxidant that improves blood flow and cell restoration, protecting against aging skin and promoting hair growth.   It also helps reduce inflammation and boosts collagen production.”

“Well, I want to make a Papaya Bruschetta for our company this afternoon, so that would be great if you don’t mind peeling. LJ rinsed a handful of basil and put it on a towel to dry, and began seeding a red bell pepper. Red bell peppers have 1.5 times more vitamin C and 11 times more beta-carotene than green peppers because they have been left on the vine to ripen. Vitamin C supports healthy collagen and beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. It helps protect against hair, skin, and nail damage.”

“In that case, let’s chop up two red bells,” she laughed, “That basil smells so fresh. It contains flavonoids that protect cells from ultraviolet light and have anti-inflammatory properties. Have you had a Tomato, Apricot, and Feta Salad with Mint? It’s truly a salad with abundant amounts of vitamin C, plus apricots are rich in vitamin E, known to support strong hair.”

“Good to know,” said LJ. “I like  Celery, Watermelon, and Cucumber salad. Those water-rich foods are natural diuretics and help keep your system flushed which benefits hair, skin, and nail growth. And well-hydrated skin can resist sun damage easier and is more resilient than thirsty skin.”

“You’re right; sweetheart, thirsty skin is rapidly aging skin that loses elasticity. Blueberries and Raspberries contain anthocyanins that help boost skin’s elasticity plus vitamin C and biotin, which stimulates the growth of healthy hair and nails,” she said while chewing a blueberry. “A summer diet loaded with nourishing, hydrating and antioxidant-rich fruits, veggies, and healing herbs provides phytochemicals that strengthen hair, skin, and nail growth and protect against the damaging effects of UV radiation. In other words, if it grows, you will glow.”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.


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