Beauty Food Salad

Salad is my go-to option for summer lunches. Salads are refreshing, light, and satisfying without being too filling. There is nothing worse than eating a huge meal and feeling sluggish afterwards. This holds especially true in the summer heat. I try to mix up my salad options each week whether its veggie-focused with cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes or fruit & cheese-focused like a winter Waldorf salad. I stumbled upon this salad chock full of beauty superfoods** on Into the Gloss, and I couldn’t wait to try it.

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Here’s why this salad definitely deserves a place in your lunch rotation:

Leafy, dark greens: Greens, like spinach and kale, are the best food you can eat regularly to improve your health. Brimming with fiber, vitamins, and special plant-based substances called phytonutrients, greens help to decrease inflammation in the body, and this leads to brighter, healthier skin.

Quinoa: One of the few plant foods that is considered a complete protein, quinoa has 8 grams of protein per cooked cup! It contains twice as much fiber as most other grains, making it a great source of steady energy throughout the day. Naturally gluten-free with a nutty flavor, it pairs well with veggies, beans, and even in a smoothie.

Avocado: Even if avocado contained no real health benefits, you know you would continue to pile on the guac at Chipotle. But lucky for us, this super nutritious fruit is high in healthy fats (oleic acid), vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, and B-vitamins. If you’re not familiar with oleic aid, it is major component in olive oil and found naturally in sebum (the stuff that keeps your skin and hair moisturized). So keep up the avo-toast Insta pics and reap the benefits from your avocado addiction.

Blueberries: Another food with high levels of antioxidant phytonutrients, blueberries are make the perfect snack, shown to help with cardiovascular health, cognitive benefits, and eye health. Adding antioxidants to your diet will speed up your skin’s repair system, helping to reverse discoloration and fine lines associated with aging and sun damage. Want to pack an even bigger free-radical neutralizing punch? Go for wild blueberries! Naturally smaller, there is more blueberry skin per cup of blueberries which equals more antioxidants!

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of vitamin E, but their biggest claim to fame is the wide variety of antioxidants found in a very small package. You name the antioxidant, pumpkin seeds have it – alpha tocopherol (protects the cell membranes in your body), ferulic acid (prevents free radicals), phenolic acid (protects against UV rays and enhances skin cell growth), pinoresinol (supports the immune system), I could go on and on and on. And if you’re suffering from acne, a 1/4 cup will get you about 25% of your recommended daily value of zinc. Many acne-sufferers are deficient in zinc, so getting more of this mineral into your diet is a good place to start when trying to treat acne. So when you’re carving up your jack-o-lantern this autumn, remember to save the pepitas and treat yourself to some skin food!

Hemp seeds: Hemp oil is a great topical product for skin, and you can see some of the same results from the seeds. Loads of omega fatty acids which do wonders for maintaining healthy skin, plus linolenic acid provides anti-inflammatory properties helpful in treating acne. Did I mention 19 grams of protein in a 3 oz (100 gram) serving? Compared with 26 grams of protein in a 3 oz serving of chicken breast, and you are getting a lot closer than most other plant-based protein sources. And you totally get to feel like a rebel for ingesting something that grows into cannabis (hemp seeds and hemp oil contain zero traces of THC, don’t worry!). Teenage you would be so proud.

Lemon juice: I obsessed over the wonders of lemon juice in The Perfect Infused Water. But to summarize, lemon juice is full of vitamin C so it neutralizes free radicals and delays signs of aging. Love it.

Apple cider vinegar: When it’s raw and unfiltered, it contains “the mother”, made up of protein, enzymes, and healthy bacteria. The probiotics in ACV do wonders for your skin because they help to balance the healthy flora in your gut. With your GI and your skin being the largest detoxers in the human body, starting with a balanced gut is the way to get clear, radiant skin. Improved digestion also leads to a flatter tummy. Great skin and a skinny middle definitely lead to a happier, more beautiful you.

Raw, local honey: First off, you want to make sure it’s raw and unfiltered so that you get all the good stuff. Raw honey is a super nutritious compound, containing all the nutrients required by the human body. It is a source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial fatty acids, carotenoids and bioflavonoids which are antiviral, antibacterial and helpful to cardiovascular health. Local is also the way to go. It is said that consuming local honey is said to be optimal for treating seasonal allergies and benefiting your immune system’s particular environment needs. And when your body isn’t busy defending itself from allergens, your skin benefits.

Ready to dive into this tart, refreshing, salad?

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Here’s my take on the recipe:

Beauty Food Salad

2 cups mix of spinach, kale, chard, and mizuna
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp raw honey

Juice the lemon and mix with the ACV and honey in a small container; this will act as your dressing. Mix the greens, quinoa, blueberries, and dressing in a large bowl. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds. Top with avocado cut into slices.

This recipe also works great as a mason jar salad. Whoever came up with the idea to store salad in a glass jar is a genius! Just stack your ingredients in the following order: dressing, blueberries, quinoa, pumpkin & hemp seeds, and last the greens. I add the avocado right as I’m about to enjoy the salad. image Bon appetit!

**There is something so delightful about thinking a particular food could solve your ailments. The term “superfood” is a bit exaggerated, but I think sometimes we need this sort of magical realism to get us on the right track. Eating a bowl of kale and almonds won’t turn you into a super person, but eating good-for-you foods every day will make you a happier, healthier person.

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One thought on “Beauty Food Salad

  1. Pingback: HUM Nutrition – Supplements for a Better, Healthier You | Lauren, Etc.

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