They say if you want to stay healthy, you should eat something of each color, every day. A TED talk I saw a few weeks ago reinforced that statement. It’s a fascinating testimony by a physician who cured her own advanced stage MS, by focusing on eating the foods which would best serve and restore her deteriorating brain functions. I urge you all to check it out here – I’d be willing to bet it’s the best 18 minutes you’ve spent today:
It inspires change, to say the least. When it ended, my mind was racing trying to come up with ways to incorporate what she had said into my daily foraging. Easier said than done. Admittedly lazy, and a creature of convenience, the last thing I want to do when I’m hungry, is spend time washing, peeling, rinsing, chopping, slicing for an eternity before I can eat. Heck – half the time, I don’t even feel like cooking – at all! So, I decided that the best thing I could do was to do all that once, and create a salad that would last a few days in the fridge. Then, all I’d have to do would be to serve myself out of a bowl as needed. I think I could handle that!
Among other things, Dr. Wahls of the TED-talk fame, said to eat:
* 3 cups of green leaves a day – kale, mustard greens, collard greens, parsley, spinach etc.
* 3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables a day – onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
* 3 cups of colorful fruits and vegetables a day – strawberries, peaches, oranges, mangos, carrots, beets, etc.
* Seaweed once a week for iodine
* Organ meats once a week for something called ‘co-enzyme Q’
Of course, she mentions how important it is to eat organic as much as possible. I try to do that too, but I occasionally bend the rules on that one. The great list ” The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen“, helps me determine which fruits and veggies would be the worst, toxic offenders to our systems. This is especially important if you have kids, as all “safe” levels of toxins are determined with adult body sizes in mind. Print it out and keep it in your shopping bag for future reference!
I had no problems meeting the green leaf requirement. About a year ago, I invented a killer kale salad that I have yet to grow tired of. And, for a while now, I have been eating fruit salad for breakfast. Same thing there – make a large tub of it ahead of time and breakfast is easy and ready! But neither of those do much for the required sulphur intake, so I set out to make a colorful salad that incorporated all three of these – greens, sulphur richness and color. I call the result Rainbow Salad, but – as you will soon discover – by the end when it’s all mixed, just about everything will have taken on the rich magenta of the beets. The strips of kale remain a beautiful, complementary accent color so visually, it’s a very appealing salad. Here’s how you make it:
3 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp sweet hot mustard (I make my own, but Trader Joe’s sells a decent one)
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp whipping cream. The cream could probably be omitted, but I think it complements the lemon juice and the mustard very nicely.)
salt to taste
1/2 – 1 red, orange or yellow pepper
1 apple cubed (I include the seeds, as they are supposedly very good for you)
3-4 carrots – julienned in a food processor
1 large red beet – julienned along with the carrots
1/4 – 1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into tiny bouquets
a handful of kale leaves, sliced into strips. I like to keep the center stem, as it adds good crunch.
Mix it all up and chill in the refrigerator. Serve by itself, with sandwiches, or with grilled fare.
New Seasons – our local grocery store with emphasis on local and sustainable – sells these excellent seaweed snacks on which I will happily pig out once a week to get my iodine, but the organ meats posed more of a problem for me. I was the kid who sat for hours after everyone else was done, trying to stomach both taste and texture of liver! But, figuring that life is an ongoing learning experience, I thought that if I made a pâté, my taste buds might be able to handle it. I armed myself with 1/2 pound of chicken livers, a carton of mushrooms, a chopped onion, a little thyme and a few garlic cloves. I let everything slow cook in a little butter in a cast iron pan. Adhering to Mary Poppins’ theory of “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”, I added a little sherry, then a few drops of cognac, and let it simmer until everything was cooked through and the liquids absorbed. Then I mixed everything to a smooth paste in a food processor. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and you’re done! Served on multi-grain bread with a decent type pickle (type Claussen’s) on top, it really wasn’t half bad!
Truth be told – I confess I don’t always eat 9 cups of fruits and veggies a day, and I definitely have not given up on either wheat or dairy. But if I try to adhere somewhat to the current USDA My Plate guidelines, I get pretty close – close enough for my purposes. Often I simply replace large parts of the grains portion with more greens – especially if the grains are of the less wholesome kind. Keeping a bowl of healthy goodness in the fridge at all times makes a commitment like this MUCH easier to stick to. Like Dr. Wahls says – if you eat that much fruit and veggies first, there isn’t a whole lot of room left for anything else!