Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
Kale salads are often less than desirable. IMO. The kale leaves are either left too big and floppy, or it feels like you are a horse, chewing, and chewing, and chewing. Am I right? Well, welcome the massaged kale salad! By simply massaging kale leaves with sea salt, the friction gently breaks down the fibers, leaving the leaves more tender and easier to digest. Massaging also enhances the flavor of the kale, especially when tossed with a bunch of delicious goodies. Cooked cruciferous vegetables are often better tolerated as the heat breaks down fibers. Massaging the greens has a similar effect, while keeping intact heat sensitive nutrients.
Unfortunately, I know a lot of people struggle with gas and bloating after eating raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, etc). This is likely due to their high amounts of raffinose, a short chain carbohydrate that humans cannot digest, leaving a feast for gut bacteria. Cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are considered high FODMAP foods, and are often triggers for patients with IBS. Also, sometimes individuals do not tolerate cruciferous vegetables due to an abundance of sulfur reducing bacteria in the gut that like to feed off of their sulfur rich compounds. If you have struggled with severe foul smelling gas and bloating after eating cruciferous vegetables (or garlic and onion), you may want to consider hydrogen sulfide SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or LIBO (large intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
However, if you tolerate cruciferous vegetables just fine, then they are a great addition to support liver detoxification and hormone health. Eating one serving of cruciferous vegetables per day, is a great dietary practice for overall health and wellness.
Festive Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch green curly kale (~8 leaves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons unrefined cold-press extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar (white or brown)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted maple almonds or walnuts (see below for recipe)
**Crumbled gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese
**Dried cranberries, raisins, or currants, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Wash your kale and shake off any excess water. You can also shake them in a clean kitchen towel. Devein each kale leaf by pulling down along the stem towards the tip of the leaf. Chop the leaves into bite sized pieces and toss into a large bowl.
Add the sea salt and gently massage the kale for about 1 minute or until the kale leaves begin to break down and look shiny. Do not over massage otherwise it will wilt too much. Add the olive oil and the vinegar and toss well.
Finally, add the chopped almonds, cheese, and dried fruit of your choice, and mix until combined. **Add as much of the cheese and dried fruit as you like. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variation: You can swap the cheese with diced avocado.
Roasted Maple Almonds
Makes 1 cup
1 cup almonds (or walnuts/pecans)
1 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Generous pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds onto a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Make sure to watch that they do not burn. Set aside to cool.
Heat a cast-iron pan over medium. Add the butter and the maple syrup. Stir the mixture until it bubbles a lot, becomes syrupy, and reduces in amount. Add cooled nuts and pinch of salt. Mix well to coat. Be careful as the syrup is extremely hot.
With a spoon or spatula spread almonds onto a plate and allow to cool. Break into pieces. Serve with the massaged kale salad or eat as a snack!
Are you kale lover? Let me know if the comments below!
Got tummy discomfort? Then try this low FODMAP soup that will leave you feeling satisfied and full. It can be easy to get stuck eating very simple, bland meals if you are following a low FODMAP or SIBO type diet. I cannot tell you how often I hear patients tell me they eat baked chicken, zucchini, and white rice. This does not have to be the case! The more you are able to enjoy your food, and the more variety you have in your diet, the better it is for your gut and for your recovery.
I love soups! First of all they are cozy and warming and secondly soups are a wonderful meal for anyone struggling with digestive distress. Since the vegetables and proteins are softened during the cooking process they are easier to digest. Plus, soups catch all the vitamins/minerals in the broth that may be lost with other methods of cooking. My Hearty Veggie Curry Soup is rich in plant based protein and fiber, yet still low in fermentable fibers. Beans and legumes are often high in GOS (galactooligosaccharides) which can cause uncomfortable symptoms in patients with IBS and/or SIBO. Canned brown lentils, however, are low in FODMAPs but still pack a good punch of fiber (9g per 1/2 cup serving) helping to move stool through the digestive tract. Plus when lentils are paired with extra firm tofu, you get 17g of plant protein per serving of soup, keeping you full for longer.
If you are craving a delicious soup that all will enjoy, then try this Hearty Low FODMAP Curry Soup. I specifically chose Whole Foods Chicken Stock (not low sodium) because it is naturally low FODMAP and easily accessible. You don't have to order it online nor do you have to plan ahead to make your own stock. If you want to keep the soup vegan, you are welcome to make your own low FODMAP vegetable stock or consider using FODY Vegetable Soup Base as an alternative. Serve with a side green salad and a hot tea for an uber nutritious and cozy meal.
Hearty Veggie Curry Soup (Low FODMAP)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
6 green onions, green parts only, finely sliced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 ½ teaspoons yellow curry powder
2 cups Whole Foods Organic Chicken Stock (or FODY vegetable soup base)
1 can organic full fat coconut milk
1 can Westbrae canned lentils, rinsed and drained
1 pkg extra firm tofu (in liquid), diced
½ teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 bunch cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
Prep all the produce. Then, in a soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, reduce to medium low and add minced ginger root and finely sliced green onions. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant and onions glassy. Stir in diced sweet potatoes and bell pepper, and then add the curry powder. Sauté veggies stirring occasionally for another 3-5 minutes. Pour in 2 cups of stock or another low FODMAP alternative broth. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook covered stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir in the full fat coconut milk, canned lentils and diced extra firm tofu. Season soup with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Allow the soup to simmer on low for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to brighten the flavor of the soup. I suggest starting with 1 tablespoon and adding a little more per preference 1 tsp at a time to avoid making it too sour. Stir in chopped cilantro, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a green salad if desired.
Note: In place of tofu you can use pre-cooked diced/sliced meat and add into the soup.
Nutrition (per serving): 320kcal, 24g carbs, 8g fiber, 19g fat, 17g protein.
Let me know what you think!
Happy soup season :)
It’s pouring sideways rain here in Bellingham, the perfect weather for a light pumpkin soup. I have been yearning for the Fall and all the bits of cozy that comes with it. Although I love salads, soups are a wonderful way to eat your veggies while also supporting digestion. Raw veggies are one of the hardest foods to digest, especially if you are not taking the time to chew them well. Therefore, soups can be an excellent meal for anyone struggling to optimally digest their foods. Soups are much easier for the stomach to breakdown because the ingredients are soft and tender. This is especially true if you make a pureed soup like this pumpkin soup. Usually, the stomach churns our food with stomach acid to make a liquidy soup called chyme. However, when the food is already pureed, the stomach has little work to do. Therefore, soups are a wonderful meal for anyone who has increased healing needs or has digestive concerns because the nutrients are much easier absorbed.
For this recipe I used a pie pumpkin (or otherwise known as sugar pie pumpkin), but you can choose whatever winter squash you have on hand. I also used homemade bone broth, rich in flavor and nutrition. I do not skim the fat because the fat provides flavor and increases the absorption of the beta-carotene in the pumpkin flesh. If you are using store bought bone broth (Bonafide is a great option) it is fat free, and therefore I would suggest adding organic heavy cream or full fat coconut milk to your liking.
Bone broth is an excellent choice to increase the protein content of otherwise a low protein meal. Rich in collagen, bone broth helps support the healing and repair of connective tissues (think, gut lining, bone, tendons, hair, skin, nails). Along with ample amounts of prebiotic fiber rich onions and garlic this pureed soup also supports the growth of good gut bacteria. If you want, you can even roast the pumpkin seeds for little salty and nutritious snack. Simply preheat the oven to 400 degrees, rinse the seeds under water to remove excess pumpkin fibers, and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spray with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Voila, now you have a nourishing soup and a tasty snack!
Simple Gingered Pumpkin Soup
1 small pie pumpkin (got mine at TJs)
1 large yellow onion
3-4 cloves garlic
3 inches ginger root
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups homemade bone broth (see note above if using store bought)
2-3 T honey
2 T apple cider vinegar
3/4 tsp sea salt (adjust as needed)
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch chili flakes
Quarter the pumpkin, scoop out seeds (roast if desired), and place into a pot filled with some water and a steamer basket. Steam, covered, over medium heat for about 15-20min or until tender.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. In a soup pot add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the chopped veggies over medium low until glassy and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the steamed pumpkin flesh (leave skin behind), and add the bone broth. Cover and cook over medium low for another 10 minutes.
Once ready, using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your liking. Season with honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
Note: If you want to keep the recipe vegetarian, simply use vegetable broth (may need to adjust salt down because most store bought vegetable broths are pre-salted), and add coconut milk or heavy cream for creaminess and flavor.
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.