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Body-boosting plant-based picnic salad

By Mercedes Kay Gold, CNP, CPT

Summer is synonymous with salads. When the weather is hot, hydrating foods are first rate. Skip standing over the grill and keep the kitchen cool. Salads are a snap. Kick complicated prep to the curb. This salad is gorgeous, making for eye-pleasing presentation and a homerun at any gathering. Summertime fun time is the perfect opportunity to host plant-based picnics with the plethora of local fresh produce available.

Salads are wonderful for overall wellness, especially when raw fresh fruits and vegetables are the focal point of the plate. Produce is low calorie, packed with fibre, carbohydrates for energy and yes, plants contain protein! Fruits and vegetables feed cells with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients for a healthy inside and a vibrant glowing outside. Plants promote wellness not inflammation. Focusing on a plant-based diet supports weight-loss and maintenance, healing and longevity. Eating a healthy diet is essential to living your best life.

Ingredients are body boosting!

Beets are not just beautiful but a bounty of benefits. High fibre content promotes fullness and supports healthy digestion. Nitrates in beets convert into nitric oxide, helping widen and relax blood vessels which help lower blood pressure. They are also a great source of potassium, a key mineral and electrolyte, nature’s sports drink on hot and humid days. Beets are also a great option instead of beef as they provide ample amounts of iron. Blueberries are low in calories, sugar and carbohydrates. Blueberries are a super fruit stocked with vitamin C and K.

Walnuts are protein packed and contain heaps of healthy fats that may even help lower LDL or bad cholesterol.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in the mineral manganese, a friend to our knees and vitamin K, linked to speedy wound healing. Pumpkin seeds contain an abundance of immune boosting zinc and loved for lysine by those suffering from continuous cold sores.

Arugula, a cousin of broccoli, kale and cabbage is digestion dream. It also contains glucosinolates, which may help protect you against breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

Mint is marvellous for banishing bloat and great for saying good-bye to bad breath after the meal.

Ginger contains a bioactive component called gingerol. Adding fresh grated ginger root to tea, sauces and salads is an all-star anti-oxidant and awesome for addressing inflammation throughout the body. It’s also top-notch for tummy troubles and digestive distress.

A fresh squeeze of sunshine or rather lemon juice is a mini detox for the liver and equals vitamin C.

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in healthy monosaturated oleic acid and a good choice for salad dressings.

Super summer salad                          

A bounty of beets and blueberries plus heaps of health fats is summer fabulous!

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large beets
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of raw walnuts
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • Arugula

Vinaigrette ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp unpasteurised apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of date or maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and scrub the beets. Roast or steam until they are easily pierced with a fork. Let the beets cool and cut into cubes. Leave the skins on for added minerals!
  2. Add nuts, seeds, blueberries and chopped mint to the beets in a large serving bowl.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Pour over the beet mixture, mix and serve over a bed of fresh arugula or serve alone.

Mercedes Kay Gold is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Holistic Nutritionist who loves helping others live their best life when not spending time with her children and grandson, Theodore. She can be reached at mercedeskaygoldfitness@gmail.com or visit www.mercedeskaygold.com

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