20 Foods to Make Your Salad Sexy

 

20 sexy salad foods

For so many years we thought of green salads as being your basic lettuce, carrot, cucumber, tomato combo, with some store-bought dressing to top it off. Oh, and plenty of cheese. Now that we have expanded our foodie minds and opened our refrigerators to new ingredients, out salads have become far more nutritious and delicious! When you add nutrient-rich whole foods to your salad, you’re helping to increase energy, maintain a healthy weight, fight disease, get glowing skin, and feel more balanced and renewed. We’ve gone from so-so salad to SEXY SALAD, and it’s easy to do!

To start, let’s get away from the basic ice burg or even romaine lettuce. Try other lettuce varieties and add other greens, such as baby kale, collards, beet greens, arugula, watercress, spinach and mustard greens. You’ll get an abundance of nutrients from these greens, including calcium, iron, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin A, C, E and K – just to name a few!

Making your own dressing is easy: a little olive oil, water, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, then add vinegar, garlic, pieces of avocado, ginger, etc., as desired. Be creative!

Here are 20 foods to add to your leafy greens. What do you like to add to your salad?

  1. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  2. Marinated mushrooms
  3. Red or green cabbage
  4. Peas
  5. Hemp seeds
  6. Sunflower seeds
  7. Pecans
  8. Avocado
  9. Asparagus (raw or cooked)
  10. Radishes
  11. Pumpkin seeds
  12. Lentils
  13. Sauerkraut
  14. Peppers (raw or roasted)
  15. Berries
  16. Apple
  17. Fresh mango
  18. Chia seeds
  19. Brown rice
  20. Quinoa

Refresh Your Diet with Leafy Greens This Spring (Recipe Included)

 

Cashew Kale recipe from TheKickingKitchen.com

Spring is finally here! Even with the rain it brings, spring is one of my favorite seasons. Spring is a time of renewal and growth. We see it in nature as flowers bloom, grass turns greener, buds begin to open and the ground drinks up refreshing rainfall.

I’ve always loved springtime because I feel like it offers the opportunity for a fresh start. I finished cancer treatment just before springtime a few years ago, and moving into this new, life-sustaining season helped me to move onto a new phase in my cancer journey.

This doesn’t mean we need to make dramatic overhauls in our lives just because spring is here – and we can often feel the pressure to do so! But simply by opening the mind to new things – new foods, new people and relationships, new habits, and new opportunities – we begin to lose some of that stagnancy we often find ourselves in over the winter. And the days just seem a little brighter, clearer and more energized.

Another reason why I love spring is the abundance of food that becomes available, especially leafy greens! Leafy green veggies (kale, spinach, collards, chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, and lettuces) bring vitality, energy and amazing nourishment to our bodies. They are the food most missing from modern-day American diets, and the food we usually need most. Greens are high in dietary fiber, calcium and iron. They also contain high levels of vitamin K, magnesium and folate and cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as vitamin C, lutein and carotenoids.

My first recommendation to clients who want to improve their diet for any number of reasons (increase energy, lose weight, balance moods, fight or prevent disease) is to add in more leafy greens. If you do nothing else – just get those greens in on a daily basis, if possible. Make a greens salad, steam greens or sauté kale, collards or spinach with a little olive oil, sea salt and garlic. Or try the recipe below from Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen.

Cashew Kale

Yield: makes 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large carrot, thinly sliced into rounds (about 1/2 cup)

2 bunches kale, thick stems removed, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 to 3 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup raisins

Directions:

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the carrot for five minutes. Add the garlic, kale, tamari, cashews and raisins and sauté a few minutes until cashews begin to soften. Serve and enjoy!

5 Food Habits to Get You Energized this Spring!

 

5 Food Habits to Boost Your Energy this Spring, including green smoothies!

Green smoothie to-go!

When spring time comes around, many of us get the mental and emotional awakening –  we feel happier, more positive, ready to get outdoors, explore, try new things and new foods! This explosion of energy and excitement also often comes in a physical sense, and we wake up feeling fresher, energized and ready to take on another beautiful day.

If you’re NOT feeling that way this spring, it may be due to your diet. If you wake up feeling sluggish, perhaps with a headache and would prefer to go back to sleep, you may need to revamp your food habits. And this can be easier than you may think!

Below are five fabulous food habits to add to your life. Try one or try them all, but you will undoubtedly be feeling far more energized, fresh, healthy and ready to jump into another spring day!

  1. Get Your Green Juice On. By juicing on a regular basis (especially green juices and mostly veggies!), you add in some alkalizing foods that will help to balance your body’s natural pH level (which should be a little alkaline) and give you a burst of nutrients that might be difficult to eat in their whole food form all at once. By juicing, you’re getting this super-dose of vitamins and minerals and helping to flush out toxins that may be contributing to your low energy. New to juicing? Check out our 7 Tips for Getting Started or take on our 7 Day Juicing Jumpstart Challenge!
  2. Eat Green Veggies Daily. Kale, spinach, collards, bok choy, dandelion greens, watercress, dark lettuces – these superfood veggies will boost your energy and moods, helping you feel happy, light and vibrant. Try using these veggies in salads, smoothies, give them a quick water sauté with some garlic and a pinch of sea salt, or try out Cashew Kale recipe.
  3. Get Smart with Smoothies. If you need an easy and quick breakfast in the morning, please don’t grab that bagel with cream cheese. That just won’t sustain you or give you the vibrant springtime energy we know you’d love to have! Instead, blend yourself a power-packed smoothie with some almond milk or water, almonds, avocado, banana, kale or spinach, berries and coconut. Or experiment with your own ingredients – just stick with whole foods, good sources of protein (like nuts/seeds), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut), and some green veggies. For more tips on how to create the perfect smoothie to kick-start your day, try our Smoothie Tips for the Newbie here.
  4. Drink water. A general rule of thumb is to drink about half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink about 75 ounces daily – more if you’re pretty active. Dehydration can bring us down (our energy and moods) fairly quickly. Plus, if you’re drinking more water, it should help you to drink less soda and other sugary drinks that will only compromise your immune system, blood sugar balance and energy. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to bring some alkalizing power to your body (remember tip #1 about keeping your body’s pH on the alkaline side?).
  5. Eat More Plant-based Protein. While eating some quality meat or animal protein can be beneficial for many of us, overdoing it can often lead to low energy and feeling sluggish. Our bodies work hard to digest meat, which means less energy is available for the rest of the body. Try swapping your steak for black beans or tempeh (or another plant-based protein source). Need some ideas for plant-based protein recipes? We have a whole bunch in our book: Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen and some on our Recipe page. You can also check out Forks Over Knives for yummy recipes.

20 Food Faves in our Kitchens

 

Four years ago, you wouldn’t have found many of these foods in our kitchens. A few cancer avocado - sweetonveg flickrdiagnoses and a couple health coaching credentials later, you’d be hard-pressed to not see most of these items in our pantries or refrigerators. Why? Because we eat pretty differently than they way we did several years ago. We focus on whole, plant-based foods. And we didn’t make these changes overnight – it happened in baby steps – and we’re still learning, experimenting, tweaking, and just having fun with all that whole, real, nutritious food has to offer.

That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy or treats and sweets too, but eating foods like those listed below is our focus. And it’s gotten pretty easy, and not to mention, darn delicious! The best part – we can truly feel what a difference it makes in our bodies, our minds and our moods. It’s such a drastic change, that besides the occasional takeout pizza or summertime ice cream cone, we prefer eating this way. This is the real deal. Real food. No drastic dieting. No restrictions. No guilt. Just enjoying food in a way that supports our health and not worrying too much about the rest.

It can take a little discovery, a little planning and an open mind (after all, much of the “food” available these days is far from what Mother Nature created), but if you begin with one small step and turn that into part of your lifestyle, it’s easy! Then take another step. And another.

So, check out our list below – 20 of the top foods you’ll find in our kitchens – and see how many you have in yours. Maybe you’ll find a few new foods to try. Maybe you have some healthy faves to add. But what better time than right now to start adding in some great foods? It’s a brand new year! Happy 2013! 20 food faves

  1. Kale
  2. Brown rice
  3. Quinoa
  4. Steel cut oats
  5. Coconut oil
  6. Raw almonds
  7. Avocado
  8. Tempeh
  9. Miso
  10. Garlic
  11. Ginger
  12. Carrots
  13. Sea vegetables
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Tamari
  16. Onions
  17. Broccoli
  18. Seeds (pumpkin, hemp and chia)
  19. Lentils
  20. Beans

Green Smoothies to Go!

One of the easiest ways to get your green-on (leafy green, that is) is by adding leafy green veggies to smoothies. Have a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, part of a meal or a snack. And you can easily blend your ingredients and take it with you in a glass jar or other travel container.

Leafy greens are very nutrient-rich, detoxifying, and energizing. They strengthen the immune system, nourish the blood and support the skin – to name just a few benefits!

If you are new to leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach, watercress, mustard, dandelion) and a little unsure of how to add them in to your diet or aren’t a fan of their taste, throwing them in a smoothie is a fab way to eat (or drink!) them regularly and you can easily hide the flavor. Although, we love how leafy greens taste, and we encourage you to try them steamed, sauteed, in soups and so many other ways (check out our book for ideas and recipes!).

We suggest making a blender-full of smoothie and pouring anything you don’t drink right away into glass mason jars for you and your family to drink for a couple days. Don’t store your smoothies longer than a couple of days in the fridge.

We have an entire section devoted to smoothies in Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, including some green ones! We hope you give them a try.

Here are some ingredients we love in our green smoothies:

  • Leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach, watercress)
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Dates
  • Almond butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut
  • Spirulina powder (also green!)
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Berries
  • Non-dairy milk or water
  • Raw cacao powder

We’d love to hear what you put in your green smoothie!

 

7 Steps to Finding Your Food Groove

Making the decision to begin changing your diet can feel overwhelming and confusing – possibly so much so that you end up making no changes at all! And that’s not what we want to see happen. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to begin eating better (which is really the first step!), then take on the rest in baby steps. Go one day at a time and one goal at a time.

Perhaps you decide to begin eating a leafy green vegetable every day or 4 days of the week. Maybe you want to try drinking more water or eating more whole grains (like brown rice) instead of processed grains (breads, pastas – especially the white flour ones!). Start small and add on as you go.

Here are 7 general steps to finding your groove with food. These are great areas to start with, and you may want to break down your steps and goals even more. Remember to be realistic, but also push yourself to see just what you can do! You’d be surprised!

1.) Drink more water: There is no right amount of water to drink, but generally the bigger and more active you are, the more you should drink. A good rule of thumb is a 1/2 ounce of water per pound of weight. So a 160 pound person might start with 80 ounces of water (or 10 eight-ounce cups). Staying hydrated is imperative during cancer treatment! This will help to increase your energy, support your immune system, reduce nausea and other treatment and cancer side effects.

2.) Practice cooking: Cooking is a fundamental step to healthier living. By making your own meals you know what’s going into them. Meals don’t need to take hours to prepare and involve multiple ingredients. Pick a healthy recipe or two a week to add in to your routine. 

3.) Increase leafy green vegetables: These are seriously lacking in the American diet and they are most essential for creating long-lasting health. More specifically they help eliminate depression, improve liver, gallbladder and kidney function, increase energy and boost your blood. Try kale, collards, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, and chard.

4.) Increase whole grains: It’s not these types of carbohydrates that have led to the obesity epidemic, but rather the processed goods like doughnuts. Whole grains are some of the best sources of nutritional support and provide long-lasting energy. Try brown rice, quinoa, oats, and millet. 

5.) Increase sweet vegetables: People forget that these exist and they are the perfect medicine for the sweet tooth. Instead of depending on processed sugar, you can add more naturally sweet flavors to your diet and dramatically reduce sweet cravings and better support your body. Try sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and squash.

6.) Experiment with protein: The majority of Americans eat way too much protein and mostly in the form of animal meat. Pay attention to how different types of protein make you feel. Try other forms like beans, lentils, nuts or fermented soy (tempeh, miso).

7.) Eat less meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco: Did you notice we said eat less instead of don’t eat? If we told you not to drink coffee or eat sweets you would want them even more. By increasing your whole grains, vegetables and water you will naturally crowd out the more processed items, so this step often comes naturally (and it’s much easier to add in good food than try to restrict yourself from the not-so-good foods).

 

Adapted from 10 Steps to Boost Your Health for Life, Joshua Rosenthal, IntegrativeNutrition.com