Nature’s best calcium sources are dark, leafy greens such as kale, collards, mustard greens, and turnip greens. The calcium in these foods is absorbed at double the rate of dairy calcium. About 30 percent of dairy calcium is absorbed whereas about 60 percent of calcium from dark leafy greens is absorbed (not including spinach and a few other greens which contain calcium but have oxalates which block calcium absorption).
Iron is also abundant in dark leafy greens, beans, lentils, tempeh, and fortified grains. Plus, vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and dark leafy greens, increases iron absorption. Eating all those healthy foods will guarantee sufficient iron without overdoing it (consuming too much iron actually increases heart-disease risk).
So what are you waiting for? Greens anyone? Try one of these salad recipes perfect for lunchtime.
Crazy Sexy Kale Salad
Kale is the supreme king of the leafies and the ruler of this prevention-rocks salad. Serve it solo, with your favorite cooked grain, or wrapped in nori or a gluten-free tortilla. Crown your kale creation by adding chopped fresh herbs or your choice of diced vegetables. If you want to be fancy, serve the salad wrapped in a cucumber slice.
- 1 bunch kale, any variety, shredded by hand
- 1 cup diced bell peppers, red, yellow, or orange
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 avocados, pit removed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons flax oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt, to taste
- Pinch of cayenne, to taste
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Massage and mix with your hands to “wilt” the kale and cream the avocado (this should only take a minute or two), and serve.
Makes 2-4 servings
Save the Tuna Salad
The combination of pickles, celery, onions, and lots of black pepper will tickle traditional tuna lovers. This recipe is delish as a sandwich or on top of greens.
- 1 cup raw almonds, soaked for a few hours or overnight in water
- 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for a few hours or overnight in water
- 1/3 cup minced celery
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 1/3 cup pickles, diced (Bubbies pickles are best)
- 2 tablespoons minced dill
- 1 tablespoon minced oregano
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 2 tablespoons kelp granules (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Dijon mustard
- Either cabbage or chard leaves, rolled, or whole-grain rye bread, toasted
- 4 to 6 butter lettuce leaves
- 1 vine-ripened tomato, sliced
Blend the soaked almonds and sunflower seeds in a food processor until finely minced (the finer the better). Transfer into a bowl.
Add the celery, onion, pickles, herbs, lemon juice, agave, kelp, salt and pepper to nut/seed mixture and stir thoroughly. Set aside.
Scoop generously over a bed of greens, or to make a sandwich, spread Dijon mustard on cabbage, chard, or rye bread. Add butter lettuce and tomato. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop a generous helping of “tuna” on each slice of bread (or cabbage/chard leaves if you decide to make it raw). Finish with more black pepper, lettuce, and tomato.
Makes 4 servings
Editor’s Note: Text adapted from Kris Carr’s New York Times Bestseller, CrazySexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution by Kris Carr with Chef Chad Sarno.