dry brush, crystal, abhyanga, towel

Ah, the busyness + bustle of the holiday season is again upon us and if we could figure out how to stay balanced it would be way more enjoyable. Would you believe me if I said two ancient, simple practices could leave you at the end of this holiday season with glowy, toned skin, and a feeling of vitality, alertness, and lightness? All you need are a dry brush for the skin and organic sesame oil. It’s so simple. And, in a complicated, busy world, simple + slow is the perfect antidote to overload + overwhelm.

If you can carve out ten to fifteen minutes a day before your bath or shower, your body and mind will reap numerous benefits almost immediately. If you haven’t yet picked up the practice of dry brushing + Abhyanga, now is the time with the demands of the holiday season steadily increasing. Every day, we can balance out the chaos before it even happens with quiet, intentional care of the largest organ of our body. 

Dry brushing clears pores, exfoliates, detoxifies, increases circulation, and rejuvenates the nervous system and so much more. Done regularly, it can give our skin a glowy, toned, and tightened appearance. I know, I am always striving for that! Some dry brushing benefits are noticed immediately, such as a subtle glow and improved color with an increase in circulation. And, with regular practice, there are other beneficial changes that come about more slowly like anti-aging, stronger immunity, and vitality. Since the lymphatic system is self-circulating, it needs a little help to keep it in motion. Without proper attention, this system becomes stagnant which is when toxins begin to build up and affect our health. So, ten to fifteen minutes before bath time, grab your dry brush, remove your clothing and starting at the ankles, begin to brush toward the heart using long strokes of your dry brush. Brush your legs, your stomach, back, chest, hands, and arms. Always brushing in the direction of your heart. Remember to wash your brush once a week and allow it to dry thoroughly before the next use.

dry brush, sink

Don’t hop in the bath or shower just yet! Grab your organic sesame oil, warm it under warm water from the faucet and begin the Ayurvedic practice of Abhyanga or self-massage. Abhyanga is the perfect follow-up after dry brushing because it helps to keep the lymphatic system moving and nourishes the skin with the hydrating properties of organic sesame oil. With the warm oil gently poured into the palm of your hand, begin at the feet and slowly massage upward. I save the bottoms of my feet for last. Then the abdomen, chest, back and hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. Abhyanga stimulates the circulation of the blood and lymphatic system, which oxygenates your muscles and skin and boosts lymphatic drainage. Stress is relieved by lowering cortisol and increasing endorphin levels. Have a seat on the side of the bathtub or steady yourself against the bathroom counter to massage the bottom of your feet and toes with oil that is already on your hands. You only want the slightest amount on the soles of your feet to avoid any slips in the bath or shower.  Now, you are all ready to step into a relaxing bath or into a steamy shower!

Committing to this daily practice will leave you feeling more grounded, centered, and attuned to yourself. You will decrease your toxin load and water retention. And, your body and mind with become more harmonious with one another. Be intentional with this luxurious act of self-care and you will certainly reap rewards greater than you may have anticipated or thought possible. If you have trouble with sleep, committing to dry brushing, abhyanga and a bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil could have a significant impact on improving your sleep. Hot flashes during the night? Coconut oil is more cooling than sesame oil, so a switch could be helpful if temperature regulation is an issue keeping you awake at night. Give it a try, you will love it, especially during the busy holiday season! xxo!

self-care, bathing

This roasted red pepper spread is one of the most amazing foods I have ever tasted. And, of course it is jam-packed with nutrients because I just cannot take the time preparing anything to eat that will not benefit my body or those I am feeding in some way! One taste of this roasted red pepper patè will leave you wide-eyed, reaching for more until you realize you are scraping the bottom of the bowl. What is even more exciting than the incredible flavors harmonizing with one another is the fact that it is one of the healthiest things you do for your gut microbiome, which significantly improves your immunity and ability to fend off disease as well as brighten your outlook on life! 

This roasted red pepper spread has tons of fiber, micronutrients, vitamins, potent plant compounds that will help your good gut bacteria produce health-promoting short-chain fatty acids, amino acids, enzymes + neurotransmitters.  Feeding your body fresh, whole foods enables the cells and organs in your body to hum along with the greatest efficiency + ease as they go about their jobs of creating health.  No decoding necessary as there are no confusing factory made ingredients to figure out what to do with.  These pure ingredients feed your microbiome, allowing it to create even more health.  And, since about 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut, a happy gut makes a happy mind. Food + Mood!

 I start with roasting fresh, organic red, orange or yellow bell peppers until they are just starting to brown.  Then, I toast some organic, raw macadamia nuts, caramelize onion, several cloves or garlic and a chile.  Add a little white balsamic and olive oil and whir it all in a food processor and that’s it. This recipe is straight out of  At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin.  http://www.amychaplin.com Both of her books are my number one recommended cookbooks to my clients because she is all about making veggies with the greatest nutrient profiles taste amazing while keeping them as close to their natural state as possible.

Head on over to the recipes section to see how to make this mind-blowing masterpiece! There are also a few little tips like breaking down your pepper/onion mixture separate from the nuts and then blending together for the best outcome. Leave a comment + enjoy! xxo!

After four days of almost constant recipe testing, I finally discovered a new energy bite I was excited about!  The perfect mix of ingredients has to satisfy a sweets craving and no be too sweet! It has to give you energy with just a few bites, not give you brain fog and make you feel like you are dragging around a ten pound bag of rocks! 

Batch after batch and plenty of ingredient switches finally yielded what I feel is the perfectly pink power bite!  Freeze-dried raspberries are one of my favorite ingredients for their color, flavor + crispness. Sprouted almonds totally elevate the nutrient profile, but can be a bit tricky to get your hands on!  Whatever almonds you choose, toasting them gives a depth of flavor I feel is unrivaled with any other nut. It’s kind of like an uniami effect…absolute addictive deliciousness! Dates allow sweetness that is balanced with tons of fiber + a super high magnesium content. A huge win!  Sugar, whether natural or not, will quickly and easily steal your energy with even the smallest amount! Dates not only help hold all of the other ingredients together, but also allow the sweet flavor to be enhanced without sending your blood sugar crashing!  For this reason, dates are almost always my go-to sweet ingredient.  

A quick note on sprouted almonds… sprouted almonds cannot be pasteurized to sprout. California, which is where most of our almonds come from in the U.S.,  pasteurizes all of the almonds grown in their state.  So, if you find almonds that are of U.S. origin and say they are sprouted, most likely they are not unless it’s from your friend’s kitchen.  Nuts.com has imported almonds that are truly sprouted and are my first choice to use in recipes or to snack on. But, for ease you can use organic or non-organic.  Just make sure to buy raw almonds and toast them yourself since many store bought toasted or roasted nuts are cooked in a totally different type of likely not so healthy oil…fyi!

Very soon the recipe will be available in my new ebook, Everyday Energy Bites!  xxo!!

This little bowl of goodness pretty much sums up my philosophy on food + healthy eating!  First of all, I feel anything and everything we put into our bodies should have properties that bring us greater health. If not, what’s the point? Probably short-term satisfaction, which means it is usually at the expense of long-term gain. Therein lies so much information!  The next important factors I consider are taste + beauty!  When you take the time to prepare your food beautifully, it fuels self-love and floods your system with tons of positive energy + vibrations…….a plus for all of us! The reasons why this chia pudding sums up what I feel is important when it comes to health + nutrition is because every ingredient in it has power + purpose in building health within our bodies. Not only is this little bowl healthful, but it is beautiful + delicious.  I love having to research and dig for the not so common ingredients that seem like the more obscure they are, the greater their power! Then, combining them in ways that taste amazing and make a spectacular presentation! Sourcing ingredients, researching + bringing them all together in a gorgeous, tasty, practically medicinal meal is pure joy! This chia pudding encompasses all of that! I don’t come up with this all on my own, obviously! Some of my greatest inspiration comes from leaders in integrative + functional medicine, as well as, whole foods chefs.  One of my all-time favorites is Amy Chaplin at amychaplin.com. I would have never thought of the bee pollen + dried raspberry topping if it were not for her amazing cookbooks!  I was so excited about her newest cookbook that just came out a few months ago, that I accidentally ordered two! I was so surprised and a tiny bit embarrassed when the second one arrived, mostly for making a mistake in ordering the same book twice. But, I did my best to laugh it off, look at the reality of how much I had been anticipating the release of another Amy Chaplin cookbook and then savored how great it felt gifting it to a really special friend.  That took effort, but was so much better than beating myself up over it!

This stunning blue-green spirulina is disease fighting, immune strengthening + all around nature’s medicine without the harmful side-effects that are part of all man-made pharmaceuticals!  Our bodies know just how to utilize natural, whole foods to heal + strengthen for optimal health!  Some of the most exciting properties of blue-green spirulina is that it revs up the action of white blood cells and increases the action of our natural killer cells, while enhancing antibody function!  Wow + wow!  It contains ten times the beta carotene as carrots, and it’s rich in protein, iron + trace minerals!  Plus it’s a stunning shade of blue. Even without the blue-green spirulina, this chia pudding makes for a powerful snack or breakfast, or even a stand in for a super healthy dessert! My preferred brand of blue-green spirulina is this one:  https://amzn.to/2FsZABc Here’s why….before anything, I start with making a batch of homemade cashew milk, which I have a short video of how to make cashew milk here on my website.  Cashews are a great source of magnesium, which many of us are deficient in if we are among the masses who aren’t really thinking about how what they eat affects their body.  Also, healthy fats are nourishing to our systems and help to keep our bodies in good working order!  They are hydrating, feed our skin and support healthy heart function!  And, nut milks are a way better choice over the highly inflammatory cow’s milk!  Plus, cashew milk’s creaminess makes this chia pudding seem more like a fancy dessert than health food! Did you know chia seeds have five times the calcium of cow’s milk?! Yasss! They give us energy that lasts + they are anti-inflammatory which helps prevent illnesses and disease. And, amazingly, chia seeds are a complete protein!  It is no wonder the Aztec’s + Mayan’s regarded them as sacred!  We all should too!  Click this link to purchase my fav brand of chia: https://amzn.to/3mursoS

Coconut manna is one of the other main ingredients in this chia pudding, even though there is just a small amount.  What is coconut manna, you may ask……it’s simply purèed whole coconut.  When cooking with whole foods, I’ve noticed even the smallest amount of an ingredient can have a huge impact on the nutrient values. The coconut not only ups the yumminess of this pudding, but it is also anti-inflammatory, fights bacteria, yeasts, viruses and super charges the liver’s detox powers, which fuels our energy stores in how it is metabolized in the liver!  Purchase my fav brand of coconut manna here: https://amzn.to/3hwyNAF

Every ingredient in this pudding has specific properties to fight free-radicals, inflammation and other things that cause disease but just as important, these ingredients strengthen our immunity, create health + nourish our bodies in a way only pure, whole foods as close to their natural source in nature can.  To add to the beauty and potency, my favorite topping is bee pollen + crushed dried raspberries!  Another is  toasted pecans + bananas! The possibilities are endless!   I hope you will try it! The recipe is here cashew chia pudding  You may even consider it your favorite non-dessert, dessert of all time!!  xxo!

The question I am asked most often is, How can I be healthier?  If someone isn’t on a diet that restricts beans + legumes, I always suggest making a big pot of black beans for the week.  Having already cooked beans in the freezer or refrigerator means you are only a few minutes away from a super healthy meal.  This practice has saved me time and time again on a school night when I didn’t have time to prepare something for dinner during the day.

Besides being full of nutrients + fiber, beans are calming, strengthening, satisfying and nourishing.  Beans positively affect the body + mind and they are easily transformed into a multitude of yummy meals.  From a bowl of creamy black bean soup, to black bean tacos or burgers for main entrees to steaming bowl of black beans + brown rice as a side or pureed with Southwestern spices as a dip. And, don’t forget black beans can totally round out a salad, increasing the protein and satiety value.  

Always, always rinse and soak your black beans for a minimum of 8-12 hours before you even think of cooking them.  I don’t recommend the quick soaking method….I feel it takes time for beans to release their naturally occurring phytic acid.  And, you want to want to ensure that has had ample time to occur so your body will be able to absorb all of the nutrients contained within the beans.   

Begin by sautéing finely chopped onion, garlic + jalapeño in olive oil until softened.  Then add in your beans + spices and cover with filtered water by a couple of inches, give it a stir, put the lid on and set the fire to simmer.  Don’t forget to peek under the lid and stir everything around  every so often.  

These are my go-to spices whenever I am making black beans.  I insist on Williams-Sonoma’s New Mexico Chili Powder.  Their toasted cumin powder is also on my list of favorites but I realized I was out of it when I was taking photos for this post!  I recommend their spices over all others!!

Now, let them simmer away for a few hours.  They will actually be cooked after a couple of hours, but I feel like they are so much tastier if I let them cook longer.    Once they are ready, remove the lid of the pot, increase the heat a bit and cook off some of the water.  Now, they are ready to be blended or used for any recipe!  Whatever recipe I am using them for, I always add additional spices + a few dashes of Cholula depending on what that dish may be.  Become comfortable with tasting and adjusting seasonings gradually until you love the taste.  I have made these with homemade chicken broth and with just filtered water like in this post, and find that they are just as amazing with water as the chicken broth, surprisingly.  So, I prefer filtered water for my black beans and save my homemade chicken broth for soups where the difference would be more noticeable.

Feel free to comment with any questions!  I hope this inspires you to pass on canned black beans and start making your own at home!  There’s nothing like a pot of simmering goodness on the stove when everyone comes home from the day’s adventures!  Enjoy!  xxo!

Breakfast cookie bliss?!  It sounds a little crazy to hear the words breakfast and cookie in the same sentence, right?  But, in fact, it is not!  It is so smart!  I’ll admit, most of us may love the idea of cookies for breakfast, but then we hear our voice of reason whisper; “you can’t have that” and the idea gets banished before the first bite!  Not any more…..these breakfast cookies, you can have and feel energized, happy and satisfied until lunchtime arrives.

Early morning before school is typically a pretty rushed time and a bit stressful all around the world.  Parents are trying to get their children to eat something that will allow them to concentrate on their schoolwork for a few hours, get dressed and make it to school on time.  The catch is finding something to feed them that they will like and will carry them all the way to lunch. There are more than enough unhealthy breakfast options available which may only get them through a couple hours of school before they are hungry and having a tough time concentrating.  Then, there are very few healthy options which are also quick, portable and tasty.  That’s where these breakfast cookies come in!  You can make the dough whenever it is convenient for you, bake the cookies the night before or that morning if you have twenty extra minutes to spare.  These breakfast cookies can be slipped into a wax paper bag or folded in a paper napkin and eaten on the front steps while waiting for the school bus or in the car on the way to school……and sometimes at the kitchen table with a cold glass of milk when things have just gone right and everyone has a little extra time.  This works for busy and rushed adults too!

 There is one caveat though.  My kiddos have a tough time with the raspberries, so I make half of the batch without rolling the dough in freeze-dried raspberries for them.  I feel like my boy’s palates have reverted back to their less mature selves…hopefully, it is just a teenager phase!  Since this recipe is the sprouted oat and chocolate chip cookie recipe found in one of my earlier posts, it is super adaptable to really picky eaters and those desiring something a bit more gourmet.  

Hop on over to my recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies here; http://wj3.b58.myftpupload.com/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies/ make a batch and then roll each ball of dough in a bowl of crushed up freeze-dried raspberries.  I found Natierra organic raspberries https://amzn.to/34BzpRh  or Amazon or at Whole Foods Market.  Since they are freeze-dried, they are nutrient-packed, crazy yum + amazing in granola, salads, muffins and pretty much any where you would love to add raspberries.  I hope you love them! xxo!  

As much as I love roasted cauliflower, I cannot believe it has taken me this long to use it as filling for a taco!  Sometimes I just don’t see the forest for the trees and miss out on so much!  Over the past few months, I kept noticing cauliflower and sweet potato tacos on Instagram and thought; “what am I waiting for”?  I started doing a little research and found a recipe in one of my absolute favorite cookbooks, The Love & Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio.  I am totally inspired by her work and everything she does is absolute perfection. 

Let me begin by saying, I’m not much of a meat person, from a compassion for animals point of view and also because I don’t love the taste or how it makes me feel before, during and after I eat it.  Yes, even before!  I totally contemplate whether I should even try it when it is in front of me. Vegetables just have so much more flavor and health benefits!   

For the most part, I followed the recipe in Love and Lemons….it’s that perfect!  My only changes were to not use as much chipotle pepper, add arugula to the tacos and to use chickpea flour tortillas instead of flour or corn.

I also chose to roast the cauliflower with olive oil, New Mexico City chile powder, toasted cumin (both from Williams-Sonoma) + salt in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through.  While the cauliflower roasted, I mixed up the chipotle yogurt sauce.  It takes all of five minutes! Here’s what’s in it…5% Greek yogurt, half of a chipotle pepper from a can, chopped up very fine and mashed a bit, one garlic clove also minced fine, lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil and honey. Set that aside and warm the Chickpea flour tortillas in a non-stick skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side.  While those are warming, set out a bowl of freshly rinsed cilantro sprigs, lime slices and avocado. 

When the cauliflower is ready, remove it from the oven, assemble your tacos and marvel at how unbelievably amazing they are! This has truly become one of my favorite meals to have at home and it takes just minutes to pull together when the cauliflower is pre-roasted! These tacos enable me to power through an afternoon of work while keeping me alert + focused, which is what lunch should do, right? xxo!  Enjoy!

Did you know, if you consume a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods, you can make great strides in disease proofing your body?   Leafy green vegetables are the healthiest, high-protein foods on the planet because they are so abundant in a wide spectrum of phytochemicals, micronutrients, antioxidants and many potent health-promoting compounds that allow our bodies to strengthen themselves against conditions that cause disease.  But, what about genetics, you may ask.  What if cancer or heart disease “runs in your family”?   Do you feel like you have no hope for a healthier future than your mother, father, grandparents or ancestors did?  We have a lot of hope in living a long, healthy life.  It starts with educating ourselves and then taking action.   One of my favorite books on this subject is The End Of Heart Disease by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.  And, one of the most powerful sentences in this book is this; “Superior nutrition has such a powerful effect on the body’s ability to defend itself against illness that it can force genetics to take a second role”. 

One of the best ways to get as many nutrients and healthful compounds into our bodies at the maximum absorption is to start with fresh organic leafy green veggies and then to blend them into a green drink, because the better these veggies are broken down, the more protective ITC’s are formed.  ITC’s are isothiocyanates, which are these powerful compounds that help defend plants against predators and luckily for us, these same compounds work to protect + strengthen the human body against weakened immunity or damage to our organs that can lead to disease.   Drinking a green drink is one of the fastest ways to quickly infuse your body with tons of micronutrients and phytochemicals because all of the beneficial plant compounds are broken down to microscopic size from blending, which makes the nutrients are more available for optimal absorption and more readily assimilated by the body and a green drink is easier to take with you when you are in a hurry than a salad!

Some of my clients have a problem with even the thought of drinking something green.  This really is a stumbling block for them.  But, if I can get them to think of it as a longevity-promoting drink and the fact that plants contain thousands (yes, thousands) of healthful, life-span enhancing phytochemical and micronutrients..they become a bit more open-minded.  If you are one who can identify with those who can’t stand the thought of a green drink, try a cold-pressed juice first.  Although, I think everything we eat should taste amazing……green drinks included and I can promise I wouldn’t be drinking them everyday if they were gross!  If you need to take baby steps though, most cold-pressed green juices are blended with fruits in a ratio where you cannot even taste the veggies!

My everyday go-to, which I hope will be yours too, is to take spinach, kale, swiss chard….whatever you have on hand…..toss into the blender, with an apple (cored) or orange (peeled), a big piece of peeled ginger, and then all of the extras shown above with some ice and purified water and blend for a minute until nice and juicy.  Do this everyday.  Not only will you feel energetic and more alert almost immediately, you will start to notice your overall health improve, see your skin glow and your eyes become a little brighter.  That is just in the short run…..in the long run, your immune system will become stronger, your blood will become cleaner and organs will be healthier with less of a toxic burden.  This one simple addition of incorporating protective plant foods into your daily routine will shift your health to a more strengthened, disease-fighting state!  Isn’t that what we all want?!  Try any of my recipes for green smoothies or drinks or make up your own!  Try this energizing green smoothie   http://wj3.b58.myftpupload.com/energizing-smoothie/  or this recipe for my perfect green juice   http://wj3.b58.myftpupload.com/perfect-green-juice/     On days when I just cannot find five minutes to make a green drink, a cold-pressed green drink from Raw Republic Juice in New Orleans http://www.rawrepublicjuice.com  is a must!  xxo!

So, I have been in a bit of a rut in being able to create or find really delicious meals my boys would embrace and love without meat.  I love looking for new cookbooks and am so happy when I find one that really speaks to my philosophy of food.  The other afternoon, while waiting for one of my boy’s sports practice to finish I had a little time to kill, so over to Barnes & Noble I headed.  I’m not sure how I happened upon it, but somehow I found the Food52, A New Way To Dinner cookbook and was wowed not only by the photography but also the incredible way the two authors meal plan!  Just what I needed, to feel like I wasn’t alone in the kitchen but had these two amazing friends to guide me through a week’s worth of meals in one fell swoop!  This book is a game-changer!  

I looked for recipes that all four of us in our family would like and turned right to this……Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with bucatini, pecorino romano, garlic, red pepper flakes and a little Italian parsley, olive oil, salt + pepper.  Oh, and bread crumbs.  Sounds just like what the guys in my home would L O V E !!  As I made the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and the aromas from the spices I had not used in a while filled the kitchen, I heard all three of the guys asking each other what smelled so good. Yes!  I cooked the bucatini, sautéed two cloves of garlic with the red pepper flakes, tossed it with the roasted cauliflower and sprinkled a little parsley, La Boulangerie bread crumbs and pecorino over each dish. After I tossed everything, I couldn’t help but separate everything and swirl the noodles in the bowls followed by the cauliflower and garnish on top just to make it even more appealing.  Who knew cauliflower + pasta could taste so decadent?!  Enjoy!  xxo!



Spicy Roasted Cauliflower, Bucatini, Pecorino, Chile + Bread Crumbs
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For the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
  1. 1 head Cauliflower, cut into small florets
  2. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  3. 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (optional)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  5. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  6. 1 lime, halved
  7. salt + freshly ground black pepper
For the Roasted Cauliflower, Bucatini, Pecorino, Chile, + Bread Crumbs
  1. 1 recipe for Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
  2. 1/2 package bucatini, cooked according to package directions, reserve a little pasta water
  3. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  6. 1/4 cup grated pecorino
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients except the cauliflower until combined. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Turn onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Roast the cauliflower, turning once with a spatula, until tender and charred around the edges, about thirty minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the limes. Set aside.
For the Roasted Cauliflower, Bucatini, Pecorino, Chile + Bread Crumbs
  1. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes over a very low flame. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Add the Spicy Roasted Cauliflower, bucatini and pecorino with a little pasta water and stir to evenly coat. At this point, I like to separate the cauliflower from the pasta and swirl the pasta into four bowls. Then I add the cauliflower on top and distribute the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan over the four bowls. Garnish with a little parsley and bread crumbs. Enjoy! xxo!
Adapted from Food52 A New Way to Dinner
Adapted from Food52 A New Way to Dinner
Greensgirl Nutrition https://greensgirlnutrition.com/


Salads aren’t just for summer!  They definitely dominate the warmer months for a reason because they are cooling for our bodies when the weather is hot.  And, some greens are meant specifically for the spring to detox our bodies from the heavier, more grounding stews and veggies typically eaten in the winter.  That works nicely, but I find myself craving salads all year-round.  So, what’s a girl to do?!  I made a list of leafy greens having the highest ANDI scores (a measure of nutrient density) and then used those that are more on the hearty side and wintery.  Send in kale, swiss chard, brussels sprouts and purple cabbage.  This salad is a heavy-hitter when it comes to nourishing your body and when topped with toasted pistachios, dried cranberries and avocado, it becomes off-the-charts amazing.  It truly is medicinal in what it delivers to your entire system and is über-yummy as a bonus!

When I am tossing a salad during the cooler months and using more sturdy greens, I prefer to shred them. Thin ribbons of kale, cabbage, swiss chard and brussels sprouts are much more palatable and totally delicious as delicate little strands, but can have too much of a bite when left in larger pieces.  To achieve a finer cut of these bold greens, just stack freshly rinsed leaves on top of one another, roll them up to resemble a cigar and thinly slice from one end to the other.  This is called chiffonade.  And it results in beautiful, thin ribbons of whatever greens you have sliced.  Now, your heavier, heartier greens are light and delicate in texture, but still seriously hearty in substance.

I always include avocado and toasted nuts in my salads for the healthy fats and protein to stay satisfied longer, but also for the difference in textures to keep things interesting.  Just a few dried berries add a little sweetness here and there, without being overpowering.  Once you have gotten this far, remember to whip up a quick homemade salad dressing!  It only takes a minute to mix up a little balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, a tiny touch of dijon mustard and a little honey, salt and pepper for a dressing that works for most any salad.

Taking a few minutes to prepare a couple different types of salad greens, veggies and nuts to have on hand will set you up for success in the kitchen.  Think ahead and plan ahead so you will be more equipped to choose fresh foods over packaged when meal or snack time rolls around.  This simple practice will leave you feeling more in control of your health, which will result in a healthier and happier you. Enjoy!  xxo!