Gone are the days when salad comprised only sliced cucumber, tomatoes and onions. Today’s salad is a superstar!
Salads are an amazing way to combine the most highly anti-inflammatory ingredients which are highly nutrient-dense. I often hear people say that they hate salads, and let me tell you, if you are one of them, it’s simply because you haven’t been introduced to the world of creativity and flavour.
Given that you are now moving forward in a new year, you probably need something foolproof that can take away the toxic overload from last year. If you need a food that is going to give you immense energy, make your skin glow, help you get rid of any troubling symptoms and give you the confidence to make better decisions that will help the whole year, it’s a salad.
What you don’t want to when creating your salad...
Here are a few things that you should not do when building a salad. I’ll run through some of them so you are well equipped to avoid making the biggest salad blunders....
1. Avoid making it a bowl of sugar, water or inadequate fat and protein! Most of the salads out there are just lots of fruit, watery vegetables that do not satiate or contain flavour.
2. Don’t miss out on fat, fibre and protein! Most of the salads that cause problems miss out on this valuable combination. You need to make sure that you have all three.
3. Avoid adding tons of so-called superfoods! This is another salad blunder. If you toss in every possible superfood powder, it can taste quite disgusting and it can also be unsuitable for your body. Stick to ingredients that are healthy, balanced and that make your salad taste great! It takes time to discover the right superfoods for each salad. Stay patient. This is a journey.
4. Not getting enough fibre! If your salad is lacking in fibre, it will move through your system so quickly that it will leave you hungry very fast. Fibre slows down your digestive transit time.
5. Not getting enough protein! Protein is a building block of your meal and of you! It balances the carbohydrates, and the right proteins are very important to help you repair and heal.
6. Not getting enough nutrition is another mistake. If you are getting too many calories and not enough nutrition, it can be a potential salad disaster.
How do you build a great anti-inflammatory salad?
Add Fats: Good fats are crucial to satiety! Make sure you have healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, nut milks, coconut milk, coconut oil or even ghee in your salad! Adding fats slow down the blood sugar impact from any carbohydrates, and are the building blocks of your steroid hormones and sex hormones. For healthy hormones, always have healthy fats. Play around with them. Don’t get stuck on just one! You can use fats which are liquid as part of salad dressing.
Make sure there is fibre: Think of adding flax seeds, chia seeds, fruits with skin, nuts and seeds or vegetables. I add raw spinach to many salads. Not many people can even imagine having spinach raw. But let me tell you, when raw spinach is combined with the right ingredients, it adds not only amazing fibre, but has amazing flavour as well. Not just that, if you are vegan or vegetarian and find yourself struggling with low Iron levels, raw greens can be very therapeutic. Just don’t overdo it.
Blend in some protein: Getting the right protein is crucial to how you feel! If you do have access to high quality wild caught fish, grass-fed chicken, free range eggs or lamb, it can be wonderful to add it to a salad. If you are vegan or vegetarian, adding pre-soaked and cooked chickpeas, kidney beans, toasted nuts, toasted seeds or sprouts can add a punch of protein and great fibre.
Don't forget the Carbohydrates: Excellent carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, yellow pumpkins, quinoa, millet and buckwheat can complete your salad, and increase satiety! The problem many people have with a salad is that it makes them hungry soon after, and this is simply because it lacks quality ingredients.
Add a lot of colour: For the last year, I’ve been spending a lot of time studying and researching the phytonutrients within every colour. It’s not just about adding some colour, but it’s about adding all the colours. Get creative! Add a different colour every day!
Garnish with spices: Spices are hugely anti-inflammatory and add great flavour. Combining your hand-picked salad ingredients with a super dressing completes your meal!
My Anti-inflammatory Salad!
Here’s my personal anti-inflammatory salad recipe, so that you can see how I put together all these ingredients in a way that there is great flavour, nutrient balance and wonderful satiety! This is my personal favourite and I would love to hear your feedback!
* Purple Cabbage - Add 1/4 cup thinly shredded purple cabbage.
* Kale, spinach, arugula or methi - Add 8-10 leaves, thinly shredded.
* Yellow, Orange and Red Peppers - Add rings of three coloured peppers.
* Carrots - Add 1 grated orange or red carrot.
* Millet - Add 1/4 cup cooked millet.
* Protein - Add 1/4 cup roasted peanuts or shredded grilled fish.
* Dates - Add 5-6 dates broken into pieces or a tablespoon of dark raisins for some sweet.
Dressing - My dressing is a twist on local and global. I joke that I love both! I combine 1 tablespoon each lemon juice, olive oil or sesame oil, one pod crushed garlic, salt, crushed pepper, half a teaspoon of sambar powder and a drizzle of honey! Yes, sambar powder is what I use in my salad!
Simply toss all the ingredients fresh, mix the dressing and sprinkle over and eat it absolutely fresh! Add your personal specials and you’ve got yourself a fantastic meal to give you great energy and achieve all that you want to, this coming year!