Just because the temperatures have dropped doesn’t mean we have to allow our greens and salad intake to decrease as well. Although the once refreshing, cool, crisp salads of the summer may no longer be appealing, the need to continue our alkaline rich, leafy greens diet during the colder months remains of utmost importance in maintaining our immune systems’ ability to stave off illness. Rich in vitamins and minerals, dark leafy greens are chock-full of nutrients to keep you healthy not only during the winter, but all year round.
Take advantage of seasonal selections such as kale of all types, collards, and chard. These crops often grow throughout the winter as they tolerate cold climates well and are sometimes even tastier during this time of year than they are in the warmer months. Full of cancer fighting antioxidants, fiber, phytochemicals, calcium, blood cleansing and oxygenating chlorophyll, and more vitamins than you can count on your fingers, you certainly can’t go wrong choosing dark leafy greens this winter.
What I love about creating intuitive salads is experiencing the synergistic effect they create in our bodies as the nutrients from these powerful super foods interact with each other, enhancing their assimilation and action in the body as they dance upon our tastebuds. For example, vitamin C amplifies the absorption of iron in the body and conversely is enhanced by minerals calcium and magnesium. Therefore, pairing dark leafy greens with foods rich in vitamin C is not only the perfect marriage of flavors, but more importantly of nutrients.
So just how does one go about making an intuitive salad? By following this simple pattern you can not only maintain your greens intake quota during the winter, but also enjoy delectable and gratifying salads in both taste and texture. Though some may consider this statement a stretch, I truly believe that when the skill of creating the perfect intuitive salad is harnessed, it becomes the most welcomed and delightful winter comfort food of all.
- Kale, spinach, chard, mixed baby greens, or other dark leafy green
Tip: Massage tough kale leaves with a few shakes of mineral-rich salt and even a drizzle of oil for a heatless wilting effect, thus preserving the high enzymatic content of this nutritional powerhouse. Watch in amazement as your brittle, bitter leaves transform into soft, palatable bites.
- Avocado, extra virgin olive oil, hempseed oil, flax oil, or tahini to your dressing or drizzled over your greens
Vitamin C—for higher iron absorption from your greens:
- Orange and citrus, tomatoes, peppers, etc
Other antioxidant rich additions:
- Chopped apple, pomegranate seeds, steamed broccoli
- Red onion, garlic, or any other pungent flavor bursts—adds an immunity boost
- Spirulina or chlorella—for a powerful alkalizing protein punch
- Currants, chopped Turkish figs, or other low sugar dried fruits—for a little extra sweetness & minerals not found in their fresh counterparts
- Sauerkraut or miso—to increase friendly flora
- Properly prepared (soaked & sprouted) nuts or seeds—to satisfy the “crunch” factor and to add important amino acids and phytochemicals to the diet; they’re delicious and quite filling as well!
- Chunks of steamed or baked winter squashes or sweet potato cubes—both buttery and guiltlessly rich, these seasonal staples are extremely high in immune-building beta-carotene
- Sautéed mushrooms: shiitake, crimini, chanterelle, or button are all tasty choices!—to compensate for the lack of sun, load up on these vitamin D filled fungi;
- Steamed vegetables—some vegetables are easier for the body to digest and certain nutrients more bio-available when slightly heated; cruciferous veggies are good ones to opt for cooked in order to decrease their goitrogenic properties
- Parsley or cilantro—for a burst of “freshness” that aids detoxification
- Homemade Pesto—Swap out heavy nuts for hempseeds to ease digestion and branch out by foraging wild-edibles, such as young nettles, for an exotic twist!
Get creative and include some of your winter favorites in your own delicious salad blend!
My Favorite Intuitive Winter Salad
- Base—Curly kale, de-veined, torn, and massaged vigorously until soft with a sprinkle of sea salt
- Fat Source—A half to one whole avocado, mashed and worked into wilted kale mix
- Vitamin C—Cherry tomatoes and a squeeze of one whole lemon over the mixture
- Tasty addition—Chopped leeks sautéed in palm oil (fat-enhanced carotenoids added)
- Crunch Factor—Iron and magnesium-rich pine nuts
- Tang and Texture—Antioxidant-loaded pomegranate seeds & a sprinkle of hempseeds
- Probiotic Boost—raw, local sauerkraut along with a spritz of apple cider vinegar on top
- Extras—pestle and mortared kelp flakes with a variety of dried herbs
And to enhance your salad that much more, try to catch a few brief moments basking in the sun while you slowly chew your wonderfully nourishing meal, being thankful for the positive effect of each healthful bite!
Preparing your salad in this intuitive and purposeful manner not only maximizes the nutritional benefit from the ingredients used, but also allows for a welcomed creativity that makes the winter salad anything but boring.
So grab your salad bowl, roll up your sleeves, and mix and toss your way to the perfect nutrient-rich meal. Be sure to share your favorite blends with your friends!
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Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research.. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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