Health/fitness expert Cara Weaver is back and I LOVE what she is about to share. For one, she is going to explain HOW THE HELL to make a kale salad. I often get the kale salads at Whole Foods, but when I buy the greeny goodness and try to whip one up at home, I feel like I’m literally gnawing on tree branches. In this post, Cara (with the help of a must-read book) explains the secret for a delicious and nutritious kale salad. #HALLELUJAH.
I read/peruse “diet books” ALL of the time (surprise, surprise!). They can be useful for occasional tips, tricks, recipes, and/or education tidbits they provide, but overall, I don’t think they work, I don’t follow them, and I don’t recommend them to my clients.
Why not? Because although you may succeed at following a trendy diet book “program” for 7, 30, or 90 days, it isn’t realistic to think you can eat (or not eat) like that forever; you’re setting yourself up for failure.
There is only one book I have read lately in this category, and I consider it an “un-diet” diet book, meaning a way of life that is achievable, realistic, and easy to understand.
“The Get Real Diet” by Lindsay Hill is 100% in line with what I preach, teach, and live: EATING REAL FOOD. Lindsay’s writing style is conversational and clever as she explains why Americans are so confused about what healthy is anymore. Get this: Over half of Americans believe it is easier to figure out their income taxes than to figure out what they should or should not eat to be healthier. Now THAT is crazy.
From the author herself: “Too many diet and nutrition books released in the last few years have had a “mean girls” vibe to them. You can have a flexible, balanced approach to healthy eating and still lose weight and keep it off. Recent research shows that a nutrient-dense diet can help regulate your moods, improve your skin and prevent the diseases of aging. Most tuned-in women realize that being happy and healthy is more important than being a “skinny bitch.” Eating well is the opposite of eating very little. This is a diet book for foodies, really. To assume that people who love food can just stop eating much of it is ridiculous. If you love food and care about looking good in your skinny jeans, this book will really appeal to you.”
She points out why we need to eat real food, then transitions into how we can eliminate processed foods from our diets (for the most part) and live on whole foods while we still LIVE (read: drink wine, eat dessert, travel, work, party, dine out, go on dates, snack with our kids, etc.).
My favorite recipe from her book this summer has been the raw kale salad, because I love me some kale but MAN, that stuff is rough and tough if it isn’t steamed. Nutritionists say that steaming kale is the best way to get its fibrous benefits, but when it’s 90 degrees and humid, the last thing I want is hot, steamy greens. Gross. This recipe shows you how to handle it (literally) for summer.
Raw Kale Salad
I bunch regular green kale
Juice of 1 small lemon
Approximately 1 teaspoon of salt for tenderizing the kale
A few tablespoons sweetened, dried cranberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted
Wash and dry kale. Remove middle rib from each leaf. Take several of the remaining halves of leaves, stack them up, and cut into fine strips (or save time by buying your kale pre-cut and packaged at a store you trust). Pour lemon juice over the cut-up kale and sprinkle it with salt. Use your hands to knead the lemon juice and salt into the kale to tenderize it (this is what makes it taste good and help you digest it in its raw form).
Want to REALLY see how to work that kale (and also peep Cara’s ripped arms)?
Once it has been softened, drizzle olive oil over it and toss the leaves. You can add whatever you like, but I add cranberries, toasted pine nuts or almonds, and blueberries. If you want to be adventurous, try adding a few dashes of umeboshi plum or sherry vinegar for a salty-sweet flavor.
TIP: For a savory version, prepare the kale the same way, but add halved grape tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and a garlicky, yogurt or avocado based dressing in lieu of fruit and toasted nuts.
So, yes, you basically give the kale a massage like you get at the spa to break down its cellular structure and turn it into a tender, edible green, similar to how it looks and tastes when it’s steamed. Game changer.
Another popular recipe in her book is the No-Mayo Nutty Chicken Salad (that’s right, none of the fatty, globby stuff) that she suggests prepping on Sunday for use throughout the week with crackers, on lettuce, or an open-face sandwich. It’s filled with good-for-you ingredients like fresh apple chunks, low-fat Greek yogurt, and rotisserie chicken so it requires NO cooking!
Bottom line: Many books come across my desk and I get a few tips/ ideas/recipes and then put them in the “not a feasible lifestlye” discard pile. But this book, I still have sitting on my kitchen counter to make easy recipes with kitchen staples I already have and food I’ve already prepped.
You can purchase the book on Amazon ($11-$12). And for those of you in Atlanta, I will be making some of “The Get Real Diet” recipes at my Healthy101 seminar on August 7 at 7 p.m. at the Chuice kitchen (433 Bishop St., K). The cost is $35 for the 1-hour cooking/prepping (and tasting!) class and seminar and will include the book, plus a pint of Chuice (more on Chuice here).
Here’s to making healthy happen!