It's definitely summer and in most cities, temperatures are climbing into the triple digits. Which means that the last thing most people want to do is come home after a hard days work and cook over a hot stove. I usually want something easy to put together that is light and refreshing, with lots of fresh veggies and a bit of protein to satisfy my appetite.
Salads are an easy meal with little prep time, and an excellent way to get a good variety of your daily raw fruits and vegetables.
Raw fruits and vegetables are important to include in your diet on a daily basis, as they contain enzymes to help digest food more efficiently to be utilized for energy. Most food is cooked to death where these enzymes and most nutrients, are in much smaller amounts than when eaten in its natural state. Once food is heated to 118 degrees or higher, its structure changes and enzymes are damaged. Eating mostly cooked foods puts more stress on the pancreas as it has to work harder to create more enzymes to digest your food. Raw foods help your digestive system and you also get the maximum benefit of vitamin and enzyme content in your food.
Need other reasons to eat raw foods? Well why didn't you say so? Raw food is full of good bacteria we need to promote a healthy immune system. According to Sally Fallon-Morell and Mary Enig, PhD, on the Weston A. Price Foundation website, “Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body.” Enzyme researcher Dr. Edward Howell found that those that did not include enough raw food in their diet had lowered stress resistance, increased frequency of illness and a shortened life span. Need I say more? So pick up a carrot already.
It doesn't mean you have to eat everything raw. For example, you could eat a good side salad with your steak, or some fermented raw veggies like kimchee with your beef and broccoli. What I like to do is saute my veggies, but leave a bit of crispness in them so I haven't lost all the enzymes or nutrients.
So back to the salad......
The salad recipe below contains avocados. Avocados are one of my favorite fruits and I love them with mexican food, guacamole, or as a snack with a bit of salt, lemon and hot sauce - delicious. They are a super food, providing nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with an avocado.
For this salad, I used the remainder of chicken meat that I have pulled off an organic roasted chicken. If you roast it with lemons and herbs, it really adds good flavor. If you live in Los Angeles, I recommend Healthy Family Farms chicken, which is available at the Hollywood and Santa Monica farmers markets. I prefer to roast my own, but you could always buy a pre-roasted chicken, which would save you even more time.
I also like a bit of crunch from nuts. I really like walnuts, but nowadays I buy them sprouted. This is because nuts naturally contain phytic acid which can inhibit the absorption of vitamins. Walnuts are also one of few nuts that have a good source of omega-3's. Most people get more than enough omega 6's and need more of the 3's. If you're not a fan, you could also sprinkle your salad with a bit of flax seeds too.
Hungry? Here ya go.
Chopped Romaine or organic mixed greens
Cheese - pepper jack cubes, blue or feta cheese bring a lot of flavor
Organic raspberries or strawberries
Sprouted walnuts, or other
Thinly sliced red onion
Thinly sliced red bell pepper
Balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette
Fresh cracked pepper
A pretty simple, fast and nutritious summer meal. So throw your dinner together, and spend the rest of your time enjoying your family, watching a movie, or doing absolutely nothing at all. I know my fiance enjoys this salad, and the fact that there are less dishes to be washed. Enjoy!
This recipe was shared on
Real Food Wednesdays
Summer Salad Sundays
Full Plate Thursdays