I have mentioned in the past I have some “inflammation issues,” and I have not been too detailed simply due to the fact I am not quite ready to share the specifics. Also, these issues are not just in my head, like I originally thought– loads of blood work over the past year have confirmed high levels of inflammation in my body. Let’s just say I have a very cranky gastrointestinal system, as well as some squeaky joints. I really want to focus this upcoming year on natural ways to reduce inflammation, especially through food and supplementation (which I will discuss in a later post). I also hope to reduce my intake of foods believed to contribute to inflammation, such as sugar, dairy, and processed foods. While I cannot fully commit to veganism, I hope to really make strides towards going in that direction. This week, while I am on school vacation, I have spent a lot of time reading, researching, and preparing myself for a semi-significant change in my diet.
So what have I been reading?
Mostly, I have been perusing Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet.
I love this book! I have read it before, but really did not implement many of the principles she advocates. As a cancer-survivor, Kris touts the benefits of “a low-glycemic, vegetarian program that emphasizes balancing the pH of the body with lush whole and raw foods, nourishing organic green drinks, and scrumptious smoothies” (Source). While I am a vegetarian who eats mostly healthy most of the time, I haven’t really put much effort into consciously eating anti-inflammatory, or as Kris calls them, “alkaline,” foods over ones that are more inflammatory, or “acidic.” She has some great lists that help you figure out which is which, but as you can probably guess, meat, dairy, sugar, and processed foods are ones on the acidic list. While I will not follow her plan to a “t” by any means, I will certainly eat more of stuff she recommends as anti-inflammatory. That includes tons of raw leafy greens and even green juices!
I’ve also been obsessed with Gena’s blog, Choosing Raw. She creates so many healthful, vegan, and just plain gorgeous recipes that just make me want to go buy pounds of ingredients like kale and hemp and recreate them in my own kitchen! So guess what– I did!
Gena’s massaged kale salad is pretty much of a legendary status, so I decided to finally give it a go. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a massaged kale salad, it is pretty much a way to use oil and vinegar or some kind of acid like lemon juice to break down raw kale so that it is more palatable in terms of texture. Basically, you make a dressing, and massage the kale leaves with your hands until the dressing breaks it down and the kale is a bit wilted and lovely. It goes without saying kale is a superfood, so I was very eager to try this method out.
I started by making a dressing. I made a modified recipe of a dressing I found in Kris Carr’s book. I don’t want to give it away, but basically, it’s a combo of hemp oil, organic dijon mustard, raw garlic, raw ginger, and raw apple cider vinegar, all whirled together in the food processor.
I made about half of a cup of dressing, and was able to save about a quarter cup of it for future use.
I then put a whole lot of raw kale in a bowl. FYI, I bought this kale pre-washed and chopped in a bag at Whole Foods.
I poured about half of my dressing (quarter-cup) onto the kale, and massaged the heck out of it so all leaves were coated. It takes a while (at least a good five minutes), but the kale does wilt! Once it was all covered in dressing and wilted, I added in half of a chopped red pepper and a finely chopped tomato, and gave it a final stir. Look how beautiful this is!
I paired a huge serving of the salad with a baked sweet potato covered in black pepper. How nutritious is this meal? It’s got kale, red bell pepper, tomato, sweet potato, hemp oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. Talk about plant-based nutrition!
I finished off the meal with a nice bowl of anti-inflammatory fruit: pom seeds, pineapple, and mango.
I felt so good after eating this it was ridiculous! I was full, but not weighed down, and nutrients were definitely coursing through my veins! I am proud at myself for kind of making a new recipe, although, truthfully, it was super simple to make with no cooking involved. Thanks Gena, for the awesome idea!
Well, I am off to go drink some lemon water now (yes, that’s a suggestion from Kris Carr’s book!). Have a great day!
Are you making any dietary changes in the upcoming new year?