Happy First Day of Spring! Boy, am I ready! This salad is a flavorful and filling way to get lots of nutrition and start your springtime right!
Aren’t we all a little more interested in having a strong immune system these days? Immune function is dependent on a broad array of plant-derived nutrients. Dr. Joel Fuhrman is an MD and an expert on immunity and reversing disease. His book Super Immunity is the one my mom read when I was in high school that changed the course of my family’s eating forever more. I highly recommend it for an understanding of how incredible our immune systems can be if we treat them right. He talks about what nutrients are truly important to worry about to achieve strong immunity (hint: it’s not an obsession about protein vs carbs that should consume us!).
Even though he wrote this book in 2011, he warned that global viral epidemics would happen if we continue to eat low-nutrient diets.
In his recent video about the coronavirus, he says “The viruses are not deadly–nutritionally deficient diets are deadly. Ordinary respiratory viruses have no chance against a healthy immune system.”
“The problem today is that fast-food nutrition and empty-calorie diets have created an army of immunosuppressed individuals of all ages who have immune systems like 90-year-olds.”
“Eating fast foods and processed foods causes needless deaths from heart diseaese, strokes and cancer and it also leaves us defenseless against otherwise harmless viruses. Instead of being afraid of fast food, we have transferred that fear to a simple respiratory virus.”
When we eat healthy food, we become healthy; when we don’t, we develop disease. We literally are what we eat, on a cellular level. Dr. Fuhrman says that poor nutrition is so prevalent that we can consider 98% of Americans to be at significant disease risk. No wonder the director of the World Health Organization said in 1998, “We are standing on the brink of a global crisis in infectious disease.”
The common denominator in all health research: more fruits and vegetables leads to less disease and death. The micronutrients (antixoidants, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) found only in whole, plant foods are necessary for strong immune function. Leafy green vegetables are the most nutrient-dense, with berries, beans, mushrooms, onions, and nuts and seeds being very high in immune-boosting nutrients as well. However, all whole, plant foods are beneficial.
One of the very best things we can do for our immune systems is eat leafy greens every day. We should all try to eat a large green salad every day, or green smoothie if you prefer. Here is salad that we enjoy. If you have leftover cooked quinoa and sweet potato, it’s very quick. The salad dressing recipe has almonds in it, and eating some kind of nut or seed with greens allows us to better absorb the nutrients than greens alone. The dressing recipe is from Dreena Burton, who is the queen of delicious oil-free salad dressings. Her website is gold!
The best defense against a virus is a good offense, and this salad is a great start!
A hearty, flavorful salad with Dreena Burton's creamy almond dressing.
- 2 orange sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or other grain of choice
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- chopped romaine or green leaf lettuce or spring mix
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 2 1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 2 TBSP maple syrup (or two large dates if your blender is strong)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp curry powder (or curry paste)
Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, and toss with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. I use my air fryer at 350 for 20 minutes. Alternatively, for a quicker option, microwave the potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender, then cut into cubes.
Make dressing by combining all ingredients in a small blender jar or blender.
Chop celery and apple. Toss apple chunks with lemon juice if you won't be serving the salad immediately.
Assemble salads by tossing greens with the quinoa, sweet potatoes, apple, celery and avocado. Pour generous amounts of delicious dressing on top.
Interested in boosting your immunity? Can’t recommend this fascinating book enough. If it’s not at your library, click here to order on Amazon (affiliate link).