Spring is in full swing! Warmer temperatures and longer days signal a shift from the cold, dark winter to a quickly approaching summer. And summer means bathing-suit season. Does the thought of that make you panic? Is your head filled with thoughts of detox diets and juice cleanses? Starvation and deprivation is NOT the answer or way to achieve your health and wellness goals. A better solution is to spring clean your diet.
CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN
Grab a garbage bag or two and make your way through the kitchen—pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Get rid of the processed junk and trigger foods that call your name at all hours of the day and night. Cookies, chips, crackers, mac and cheese, sugary cereal, baking mixes (it’s amazing how much we bake during the winter), lasagna, cheese and frozen pizza somehow manage to beckon when we are hungry, tired or feeling emotional. Do a good deed and take the bags of food to a food pantry or homeless shelter where it will benefit someone else.
RELOAD WITH CLEAN EATS
Now that the kitchen is clean, it’s time to head to the market and farmer’s market and reload the shelves with plenty of clean food. Pile your basket with beans, whole grains, flavored vinegars, steel-cut oats, eggs, nonfat Greek yogurt, organic tofu, unsweetened dairy-free beverages, water-packed salmon and tuna, and organic chicken and turkey. Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are always a good call and make sure to buy a wide variety so that you don’t get bored of the same food day after day. The best veggies right now are kale, artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, onions and mushrooms. There’s nothing better than a big salad teeming with color and flavor to fill you up and truly nourish your body, mind and spirit. This kale and salmon salad with miso-tahini dressing is the perfect meal for spring.
1 bunch organic kale, center rib removed
1/2 hot-house cucumber, peeled and diced
1 shallot, peeled and cut into thin rings
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1/2 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 pint organic baby red or orange tomatoes
1 cup shelled organic soybeans
1 lb. wild Alaskan salmon, cut into 4 pieces
1 Tbsp. sweet yellow or white miso
1 Tbsp. tahini paste
1/2 Tbsp. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1. Place all dressing ingredients into a jar with a lid. Shut tightly and shake vigorously until smooth. Thin with additional vinegar, if necessary.
2. Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and coat with olive oil spray. Place asparagus on one baking sheet and eggplant rounds on the other baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and cook 8 to 9 minutes. Remove asparagus and allow to cool. Flip the eggplant and return to the oven for 6 additional minutes. Remove and let cool. When cool, chop into bite-sized pieces.
3. Place the salmon on another sheet tray and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until medium-rare. Remove and allow to cool.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, place the kale on a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Place the kale into a large mixing bowl and add 2 Tbsp. salad dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale for 2 minutes (this will soften the kale), then add the cucumber, shallots, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant and soybeans. Toss with the kale and add additional dressing if necessary.
5. Divide onto 4 plates and top with baked salmon.