March 19, 2017

Super Immunity Power Salad

Immune-boosting kale power salad with a fresh, vibrant mix of beans, seeds, berries, and onions (and a homemade chia seed vinaigrette!) Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.

I've been so excited to share this post! In my February Updates, I mentioned a book called "Super Immunity" by Joel Fuhrman. I've read many health-focused books and this is one that truly stands out from the crowd. It's an easy read with a wealth of incredible, vital information on boosting our immune system. I've put many of the tips to use in our own diet and have been sharing the book with everyone I know! 😊 (Check it out here on Amazon --> Super Immunity)

 For some background, the author Dr. Fuhrman is a family physician and nutrition researcher, specializing in preventing and reversing disease through natural and nutritional methods. He created the acronym "GBOMBS" (haha, yes!) to help us remember the immune-boosting foods he believes are the best anti-cancer and health-promoting foods on earth. It's like a powerful special forces unit helping protect our bodies from everything from the common cold to cancer. Through his years of research, he's found these foods to be extremely effective at both preventing chronic disease, and promoting health and longevity. So what are GBOMBS?

Greens - Beans - Onions - Mushrooms - Berries - Seeds

G - Greens
Green vegetables are pretty incredible. They contain anti-cancer compounds, especially in the cruciferous family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy.) Leafy greens on the other hand, such as kale, watercress, and spinach, are shown to be the most nutrient-dense of all foods. They are truly the ultimate plant-powerhouses! 🌿
B - Beans
Beans (including lentils, peas, and other legumes) have been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50% and provides significant protection against many other cancers as well. They're the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source and are packed with fiber. (A quick note: fiber is only found in plant foods. No animal products contain fiber. Alternatively, cholesterol is only found in animal foods. There is no cholesterol in plant foods.)

O - Onions
The Allium family (which includes, onions, leeks, garlic, scallions, chives, and shallots) have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, and anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. Their potent organosulfur compounds, which can slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells, are released after cutting or chewing (pretty cool!)

M - Mushrooms
Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. White, cremini, portobello, shiitake, oyster, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer activity. In a recent study, women who ate about one mushroom a day had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer. Even more dramatic were premenopausal women who ate one mushroom + drank green tea daily had an 89% decreased risk in breast cancer... WOW. (And postmenopausal women who did this had an 82% decreased risk). Mushrooms & matcha for the win! πŸ˜‰

B - Berries
Dr. Fuhrman calls berries true super foods (especially strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries). They're among the best foods you can eat. Their vibrant colors are not only gorgeous, but full of antioxidants. In fact, berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods on earth. They're awesome for the brain, improving memory and cognition, preventing DNA damage, and of course boosting immunity and providing anti-cancer effects.

S - Seeds
Countless studies have shown the cadiovascular (heart-healthy!) benefits of nuts and seeds. They're incredibly rich in a spectrum of micronutrients. And bonus: they've been shown to aid in the absorption of nutrients when eaten with vegetables - awesome! I LOVE the wide-range of seeds and that each one is nutritionally unique. Sunflower, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin, and flax are ones that I always try to have on hand and mix in when possible. (Great for tossing on salads, oatmeal, smoothies, etc.)

I was so inspired after reading the book, I wanted to create a recipe with a variety of these powerful plants. (It covers each one except mushroom since Dr. Fuhrman suggests we don't eat them raw, so I guess technically it's a "GBOBS" salad. πŸ˜‰) For the dressing suggestion, I sneak in a couple more power foods from the list - garlic and chia seeds. However, feel free to dress it however you'd like! I often just quickly drizzle a bit of balsamic or red wine vinegar on my kale salads. (I add it to the kale after massaging and let it "marinate" while I prepare the rest of the toppings.) Either way, hope you enjoy the salad as much as we do! Be sure to check out the book and let's get our GBOMBS on! 🌿πŸ’ͺ

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
Serves about 4 (or 8-10 as a side)

1 large bunch organic kale
15 oz. can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts (I use this brand)

{For the chia seed balsamic vinaigrette}
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 clove finely minced garlic (or shallot)
1 Tbsp. chia seeds (I use this brand)
1/4 tsp. salt

Make the dressing: in a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. The dressing will thicken a bit after sitting. (Tip: for an even smoother/thicker dressing you can pulse in a blender.)
Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl and lightly massage. Pour desired amount of dressing over top, and lightly toss to coat. (If you have any unused dressing, store in a covered container. It stores in the fridge for about 4-5 days.)
Rinse and drain beans. Add to kale.
Thinly slice onion, and strawberries. Add to salad with blueberries.
Sprinkle sunflower seeds and hemp hearts on top.
Keeps in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram πŸ“ and share a photo if you make this!

For more salad inspiration:
12+ Fresh, Healthy Salads!

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  1. Wow, that salad looks so tasty!!! Love all the ingredients. Have to make it as my healthy dinner. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Hi Jessi! Yay - hope you enjoy! :) Have a great week!