I wish I could begin this post by telling you all how well my biochem exam went, but I’m afraid it was no better than Orgo. That said, the end is near, and rather than dwelling on the negative (finals), I thought I would focus instead on the positive: I was so busy this year that I forgot my four year quitiversary on April 19th. In honor of that, kale salad with creamy apricot ginger dressing, which combines a ton of powerful phytonutrients on one plate.
If you’re new to my blog, here’s the deal: I was a smoker for about eight years. I blogged about quitting not long after I started CR, in this tell-all post, and I still like to commemorate my quitiversary in some fashion each year. I hope the post shows you that even people who care about healthy living struggle with less than ideal habits.
Recently, a reader asked me about foods that might contribute to lung health and/or lung cancer prevention. Good timing, given the topic of today’s post! I thought I’d put together a recipe that both commemorates the anniversary of quitting and also speaks to my reader’s question.
It’s hard to pinpoint cancer preventive foods with too much specificity, but it’s fairly well known that fruit and vegetable consumption (and high fiber, colorful diets on the whole) is associated with a reduced risk of many types of cancers, including colon, breast, and prostate. Evidence is a lot scantier when it comes to lung cancer prevention, but there’s some speculation about foods rich in beta carotene (like sweet potatoes, carrots, and apricots), spinach, and apples.
When it comes to the prevention of chronic disease, I tend to think more in terms of dietary patterns (manage stress, move your body, focus on plants and phytonutrient rich, colorful foods) far more than particular foods or ingredients. Still, it never hurts to try or emphasize an ingredient that may prove to be particularly beneficial for this or that.
So, whether for lung health or simply because they’re delicious and nutrient dense, here’s a salad packed with leafy greens, beta-carotene rich apricots, apples, and a dressing that features anti-inflammatory ginger. A wonderful way to celebrate a day on which I chose to do something profoundly healthful for my body.
- ¼ cup dried apricots
- ½-inch piece peeled fresh ginger root
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, washed, dried, and chopped into small pieces
- 6 dried apricots, sliced thinly
- ¼ cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- 1 large honeycrisp or Fuji apple, chopped or julienned
- Blend all dressing ingredients together in a powerful blender till smooth.
- Place the kale into a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the kale. Massage the kale thoroughly with your hands, until the kale is very well dressed and soft. Toss in the apricots, walnuts, and apple. Mix everything well. Serve.
Sweet, crunchy, tangy, and tart, all at once. What more can you ask for? Oh, yeah: healthy, too.
You can serve this salad with a sandwich, a bowl of summery soup, or a whole grain dish. No matter how you serve it, I hope you’ll enjoy it. And if you’re reading this post because the theme of quitting speaks to you, please take to heart my words that anyone can quit. I know it’s hard, I know it’s painful, but if I can do it, you can, too.