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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Welcome & Daily Wildcard Salad

Hi! Welcome to Healthy Fare with Claire. Check out the "my story" page to read more about who I am and my purpose for this holistic health/lifestyle blog. Here, I'll give you a condensed version for first blog post purposes... For all of my life, I watched my mom suffer from chronic illnesses and have personally experienced more minor illnesses related to my skin and digestion. I've had persistent adult acne for 3 years and have been on a difficult but empowering journey getting to the root of the problem by changing my diet, lifestyle, and other unhealthy habits and relationships.

Within the past year and a half, I've completely transformed my diet. Let me tell you... there have been and (still are) growing pains and it's been a slow transition, but it has vastly improved my immune system, energy level, digestion, emotional health, and the superficial but important outward indicators of what's going on internally, my nails, hair, and (still working on) my skin. For the majority of my life, I've eaten processed, greasy, chemical-laden, denatured, fast, cheap "foods", which are really only food-like substances as Michael Pollan points out in his enlightening book, In Defense of Food. Now I eat unprocessed, mostly organic, fresh, whole foods and I cook my own meals 90% of the time, giving myself a little room to indulge eating a meal out once or twice a week at most and even then I usually choose a healthier option. Yea... I'm that person. ;-) 

Dessert is my weakness, however, and refined sugar has been the hardest vice to kick. But I've immersed myself into the "healthier dessert" realm and find it to be completely satisfying... even more so knowing I'm using high quality ingredients without sacrificing flavor. Whoa. Tasty dessert that's good for you!? I'm here for it! I cannot wait to share some of my favorites with you.

I am a vegetarian (update: as of November 2013, I am 100% vegan), working my way to 100% veganism, and strictly limit dairy, gluten/wheat, refined starches, and refined sugars, which are never in the meals I cook for myself. Never will I ever go back to my old way of eating or living... we are never, ever, ever getting back together, processed "food"... especially after having done some research over the years discovering how corrupt our commercial food, cosmetic, marketing/advertising, and medical industries are. I care too much about the Earth, our collective health and our future to keep quiet. I feel compelled to share what I know, continue to learn from you, and help others reclaim their power over their health! Food is the perfect place to start.

With that, I will leave you with one of my staple, everyday recipes. Thanks to Kimberly Snyder who changed my life and opened my eyes to this new way of thinking and eating, I've made it a habit to start out lunch and dinner with a large salad to ensure I'm getting an abundance of raw vegetables in my diet. I try to make my salad the largest portion of my meal and I eat it first since it contains water-based foods that digest quickly and are packed full of nutrients that my body can assimilate and absorb more readily instead of getting stuck trying to digest behind heavier foods that take longer to break down, like protein or carbs. The simpler our meals, the happier our digestive system will be. I change up my salad often so that I ensure I'm consuming a wide variety of veggies and so I don't get bored. I've also provided the recipe for my go-to dressing that is both healthy (imagine that) and delicious!

Wildcard Salad

My current wildcard salad: super greens (shown in image below) red pepper, cucumber, carrots, zucchini, red cabbage, flaxseed, & avocado.



















YIELD: It varies. About 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS
• 3 cups any combination of greens, such as spinach, kale, chard, arugula, etc.
• Any combination of vegetables, such as red/green/yellow/orange pepper, zucchini, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, celery, onion, etc.

Optional individual serving toppings:
• 1/2 avocado
• 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
• Nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS
1. Wash and chop vegetables of your choice.
2. Place greens and vegetables in a large bowl and mix together.
3. Enjoy immediately and toss with dressing and/or place plastic wrap over top and place the bowl in the refrigerator, if using for a few days.
4. Top your salad with any optional extras right before serving.


NOTES
• If you love avocados as much as I do, I highly recommend always including 1/2 of one in your salad. I can't go a day without an avocado. I'd absolutely consider them a superfood. Filling, delicious, with an impressive nutritional profile - they are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, fiber, B vitamins, and potassium just to name a few. 

























The Vitamix blender, which is easily one of the best investments I've ever made, is awesome for wet and dry chopping. As you can see here, I put a few carrots in and it chopped them up for me in just a few seconds.




Mixing some flaxseed in your salad is a great way to get your omega-3s, fiber and lignans (antioxidants). This tiny seed is known to decrease bad LDL cholesterol, stabilize good HDL cholesterol and has cancer-fighting properties.

Oil-Free/Balsamic-Free Italian Vinaigrette Dressing
Recipe from author Kimberly Snyder's book, The Beauty Detox Solution 

YIELD: About 1/2 cup

INGREDIENTS

• 2 1/2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp organic Dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
• 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
• 1/2 cup filtered water

DIRECTIONS
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together well.
2. Pour amount desired immediately on an individual serving, or over the entire salad, if eaten in one sitting, and toss.
3. Store leftovers in a jar and place in refrigerator.
4. Shake well before using.

NOTES
• I pour the dressing on the individual serving right before eating instead of pouring it over the entire salad, which makes it soggy if sitting in the refrigerator for a few days.
• I double the dressing recipe so that it'll last me a little over a week.

The beauty of this daily salad is that it allows you to be creative. You're free to customize it exactly the way you want it. I eat it over a period of 2 days and pull it out for lunch and dinner.

Phew. I think I've about used up all of my words today. I hope you'll continue on this journey with me. Here's to nourishing ourselves from the inside out. Cheers. :-)

What are your salad staples?

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