A few months ago, at the height of the health supplement boom in New York, I was on a cocktail of things I didn't understand. There were the evening primrose oil capsules and vitamin D from a personlized, friendly-looking single serving packet; vegan multivitamins from a sustainable, women's health-oriented startup; a bitter tasting debloat powder I could add to my water every morning, but not to my coffee; vitamin C goo I had to throw back like a shot in the bathroom so no one saw me gagging on it. I wanted my skin to clear up, my mornings to be more energetic, and my hormones to even out a bit. Unfortunately I can't tell you that I saw any results—an outcome I blame more on rampant self-diagnosis over any of the various vitamin companies I met with. A full round of bloodwork at my OBGYN confirmed I didn't have any particular deficiencies that needed treating. A well-balanced diet should suit me just fine.
But what does that mean, exactly? Instead of embroiling myself in another set of facts I don't understand (and probably can't stick to), I emailed Nicole Berrie, founder of Bonberi and Instagram health chef of my dreams. My specific request: a salad recipe that was easy enough to make (I can roast a brisket in my sleep, but salads leave me puzzled for some reason) and that could take the place of all those pills. She responded as such:
"I love a good supplement (Thorne Vitmain D/K2 and M-THF are life). That said, I do believe people are a bit supplement trigger-happy these days. A powdered green drink will never take the place of a big raw green salad; downing your weight's worth in ashwagandha will not impart instant nirvana. While these supplements certainly have a time and place, it's important to go back to basics when it comes to simple, vibrant health. How? Raw fruits and vegetables. Simple. When our blood is more alkaline versus acidic, our body simply works better. We sleep better, we move better, we detox better. I usually say limit the amount of acidic items in your life (red meat, smoking, alcohol, caffeine) and increase the alkaine (raw fruits, raw juices, leafy greens and vegetables). Sure, it's fun to play with the latest direct-to-consumer multivitamin craze, but ensuring your diet is on point is always the first step— it's way more fun and delicious than popping a pill."
And now, the recipe:
The Mermaid Chop
1 bunch of curly kale, finely chopped
1 head romaine, finely chopped
1 small bulb of fennel, sliced very thin
1 large carrot, julienned or finely chopped into matchsticks
1 medium cucumber, peeled, finely chopped into matchsticks
1 medium raw beet, peeled finely chopped into matchsticks
1 small zucchini, julienned or finely chopped into matchsticks
1/4 cup of raw ruby sauerkraut
Small handful of grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 tablespoons hemp oil or flaxseed oil
1 tablespoon raw tahini
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ice cold water
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of dulse flakes
1/2 inch knob ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
Sea salt/Black pepper to taste
In large bowl, combine all ingredients of salad. In medium-sized bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk well, until creamy. You may have to add a little more water or less depending on how creamy you want the dressing. Pour over salad and massage well until the veggies are fully coated. Eat immediately or within up to 6 hours.
The leafy greens, carrots, and dill are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene to help reduce inflammation and boost immunity and healthy cell turnover. The dressing is rich in B complex vitamins for stabilization of mood and hormones, iron absorption and energy. The sauerkraut helps improve gut health by way of probiotics. Plus plenty of healthy fats are great for skin, hair, and nails, along with general hydration. Enjoy!
Photo via Nicole Berrie.
Read here for a bunch of recipes you can make using one of beauty's favorite foods: aloe vera.