Forgive me for my lack of posting last week, as I spent the better part of it in Minnesota for a work conference. Yup- Minne-soooooh-tah.
Our hotel was actually connected to the Mall of America, and I didn’t see the light of day (or a leafy green) for 48 hours (although there was no shortage of roller coasters). Most of our meals were catered in by the hotel and were definitely not what my bestie would refer to as “Lauren- friendly.”
Now (at the risk of sounding snobbish) I must confess that because fresh, organic produce is such a staple in my diet I am able to taste the distinct difference between it and conventional produce. And I unfortunately became quite accustomed to that difference on my trip.
Why exactly is organic produce so important??? Besides (#1) tasting better, organic produce is (#2) free of harmful pesticides and chemicals (which are otherwise used on fruits and vegetables to help them grow faster and keep up with demand). According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility. YIKES!
Eating organic is the (#3) only way to ensure you’re not eating genetically- modified food (GMO’s). Eleven years ago, genetically modified food was not part of our food supply; today an astounding 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMO’s. These lab-produced additions are prohibited (only) in all organic foods.
Organic produce also (#4) contains more nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (you know, those essentials for glowing skin, strong bones, optimal nerve-function and a healthy, toned body) than conventional produce. This is because it’s grown in higher quality, mineral-rich soil (instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers) and the food is able to absorb those nutrients. Which we, in turn, absorb when we eat organic produce.
So before I continue let’s do a quick recap- organic produce makes your taste buds happier and ensures the food you’re eating is safe, toxic-free and filled with the nutrients your body needs to reach optimal health. It’s a serious no- brainer.
Thus after 3 days with no access to fresh, organic produce my body was craving the stuff. I felt bloated, dehydrated, and unsatisfied. My normally clear skin broke out and my energy was low. I arrived home and immediately made some detox tea, then went to sleep for 10 straight hours.
The next day I made this salad- fresh, organic, satisfying and mother-effing delicious. Upon eating it I swear I could feel my energy perking, my skin brightening, my mind clearing. I felt almost back to my normal self, and that was a really good thing.
This dish is extremely cleansing (cucumbers, jicama, greens, lemon, lime) and packed with powerhouse ingredients (quinoa, avocado, tomato, mango), not to mention metabolism-boosting herbs and spices (cilantro, curry powder, ginger). Eating it is like getting a facial from the inside out (but way less expensive and with many more health benefits).
So next time you’re feeling dull, lackluster, and in need of something mood boosting and beautifying- this ish will do the trick.
You can thank me later.
Better Than A Facial Salad
adapted from Native Foods Cookbook serves 2-4
4- 5 handfuls of leafy greens
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 avocado, chopped
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1 jicama root, peeled and chopped
1 small cuke, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup red onion
1 large tomater, chopped
4 dates, pitted and chopped
handful of currants
sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, to top
sprinkle of cilantro, to top
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
Curry- Lime Vinaigrette Ingredients
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1/3 cup maple syrup (grade b)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup gf soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1. Combine chopped tomatoes, cuke, red onion, jicama, mango and avocado, lemon juice and sea salt in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Next up is the dressing. First heat toasted sesame oil in small skillet. When oil is hot add curry powder and stir for only 5 seconds ( be careful not to burn it). This brings out that amazing curry flavor. Scoop out the mixture and add to your blender with the rest of your ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl toss together greens, quinoa, and a portion of the dressing. Layer the bottom of plates with this mixture.
4. Next top greens with 1/4 to 1/2 of the tomato mixture. Drizzle more dressing on top of the mixture.
5. Garnish salad with chopped dates, currents, pumpkin seeds, cilantro and a sprinkle of chipotle powder if you like it spicy!
MLB (meat-lovin’ boyfriend) was really impressed with this salad and agreed it was a much more budget-friendly option than an actual facial. Not that he’s ever had one 😉