Food is one of the great pleasures in life, and there are many reasons for eating. We eat for energy, nutrition, and to support our body’s functions. Sometimes we also eat for emotional reasons: when we’re sad, bored, happy, stressed, or experience food cravings.
When we eat emotionally, we typically crave something sweet or high in carbohydrates. These refined carbs provide little or no nutrition. They digest quickly in our mouths and take less effort to eat, making it easy to overindulge. Additionally, these foods cause spikes in our blood sugar, which lead to more cravings when we crash. Leafy greens and plant-based food, on the other hand, take time to chew and swallow, provide nutrients, and help activate the digestion process.
So how do we choose foods that are better for the body, mind, and spirit? We can do this by practicing mindful eating. When we focus on why and what we’re eating, we benefit in so many ways, including improved digestion, nutrient absorption, and long-sustaining energy.
Practice the following steps to become a more mindful eater:
- Ask yourself if you really are hungry.
- Eat in a peaceful setting, without stress or feeling rushed.
- Take a moment to give thanks for the nourishment you’re about to receive.
- Chew your food thoroughly. This sends a signal to your digestive system that food is on its way, and helps the digestion process.
- Take your time, and stop eating when you’re about 80% full. This will keep you from overeating. We should feel energized after a meal, not sluggish.
Today I’m excited to share one of my favorite recipes, Kickass Kale Salad! Not only is this salad filling and delicious, it’s high in nutrients and the ingredients actually aid the digestion process. Kale and Brussels sprouts are bitter greens, which activate enzymes in the liver and pancreas. The liver and gallbladder love the alkaline properties of lemon juice. Horseradish helps stimulate the release of bile from the gallbladder.
This is one of my family’s favorite salads, and is quick and easy to make. I think you’ll love how the flavors balance each other: sweet, savory, fresh, and tangy.
- 1 TBSP diced shallots
- 2 TBSP horseradish mustard
- Juice of one lemon
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tsp. agave or honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 bunch of Lacinto kale, finely shredded
- 4 cups Brussels sprouts, finely shredded
- ½ cup grapes, sliced in half
- ½ cup raw walnuts or almonds, chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Add all dressing ingredients into a jar. Close lid on jar and shake to mix ingredients. Set aside.
- To shred the kale, roll a few leaves up and slice into ribbons. To shred Brussels sprouts, start at the top and slice thinly until you reach the stem.
- Add all salad ingredients into a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. For best results, refrigerate at least one hour before serving to soften the kale.
This salad tastes even better the next day, which makes it perfect for leftovers!