By Deborah Lieder
At the beginning of the year we make resolutions to change undesirable habits, places we want to be in more alignment with ourselves. But the cold winter months have a tendency to dampen even our best efforts. Spring arrives just in time to give us that extra pep in our step, the sun and warming air reinvigorating us to try again. It becomes a perfect opportunity to cleanse and renew, changing the way we think and perceive, especially when it comes to our diet. There are always actions we can take to do a little better, the foods we eat to nurture and heal our body. When we come from a culture where processed food, high sugar and salt is the mainstay of our diet, it becomes that much more imperative for us to take care of ourselves.
It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are some of the best things we can ingest. They give our body a wide array of vitamins and minerals that enlivens our movement and function. They protect against diseases like cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, to name a few. They are packed with phytonutrients which helps keep inflammation low in the body. The fiber acts like little bristles, helping to remove toxins and clean out our digestive system. And probably the best part, is they help us to maintain a healthy weight without having to spend hours at the gym each day. Eating healthfully doesn’t have to be over complicated. We empower ourselves by keeping it simple, one step at a time, which helps ensure the change we seek, long term.
It is not to say that we can’t enjoy or indulge at times. When we keep our diet focused on whole foods, full of the vitamins and minerals that it needs, it allows the complex interactions to work more fluidly, and then our body knows how to process the not so natural things better. Even if we feel we should be further along in our healthy eating habits, or are experiencing the first realizations it is a step we need to take, having the courage to take action is what the spring time is all about. This is where we can branch out of the norm, giving ourselves grace when we don’t adhere, and allowing ourselves the respect to start again, pressing forward until we accomplish our goal.
Spring Greens and Roasted Vegetable Salad w/ White Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette
Salt and Pepper
Vegetables to Roast – Fennel, Asparagus, Leek, Carrot, Red and Golden Beets, New Potatoes, Broccoli,
1 bunch Watercress
1 bunch Arugula
8 oz. Spinach
1 bunch Kale, curly (more hearty) or lacinto
3/4 c. Olive Oil
1/4 c. White Balsamic
2 t. Local Honey
1 t. Mustard
1 T. Basil
1 t. Onion Powder
1 t. Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Additional toppings: Nuts (cashew, almond, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans), Dried Fruit (figs, dried cherries, dried blueberries, apricots, cranberries), Fresh Cheese (Feta, Mozzarella, Goat Cheese), Avocado, Raw Onion
For roasted vegetables: turn oven to 400 degrees. Lay vegetables on sheet pan, dress with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. For heartier vegetables (i.e. beets, potatoes, carrots) roast for 35-45 minutes, until soft when pierced with knife or fork. For lighter vegetables, roast 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
For the dressing: in blender or food processor, place balsamic, honey, and mustard. Turn on and slowly drizzle in olive oil so dressing emulsifies. Add in herbs. Pulse lightly to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.
In large brown, toss greens. Add roasted vegetables. Layer and top with toppings of choice. Toss in vinaigrette if desired or simply serve on the side. Add a source of protein to make it a full meal!
Chef Deborah Lieder
For more information visit her website: www.deborahlieder.com or contact her personally at: 248-974-5696 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.