It can be really difficult in the darkest part of the year, to enjoy a salad. To crave something cold and acidic when you’re spending so much of your time trying to stay warm and compensate for a lack of sunlight. As Christmas or Jul draws in after Thanksgiving, popular dietary choices become increasingly acidifying and fattening. Our gut bacteria seem to become recalibrated by all the cookies, holiday drinks, candies, “festive snacks” and the kind of heavy, post WWII industrialized food traditions that have become so dear in the states (I’m looking at you, green bean casserole and candied yams).
Add to our altered gut bacteria the fact that seasonal depression from both lack of sunlight (vitamin d) and a complex shift in culture with regards to family and general socialization, and for many people, this becomes a time of year to start making allowances they wouldn’t normally make. But adding a healthy habit into the mix can make it harder for you to make bad decisions- if you choose the right habit.
Winter, though not when we normally think of prioritizing salads, is a great time to do so. While warming foods are still important in the dark months, eating raw greens alkalizes the body, feeds healthy gut bacteria, and adds roughage for digestion. A hearty cruciferous salad will fill you up and not be fattening. It will energize you and help straighten out your digestion. It will be a boon to your gut biome, and thus your psychological well being. They are appropriate for those eating seasonally, and transport easily in a lunch box…I make a big pile of salat at the beginning of my week and use old Nancy’s yogurt containers as a salad shaker at work, adding my seeds and fatty proteins right before I eat. Soggy Salat Sucks, you know? Luckily, brussel sprouts are basically mini cabbage, and this salad has the shelf life in your fridge of coleslaw, making it perfect for weekly meal prep.
Brussel sprouts are high in vitamins C and K, two important vitamins for utilizing protein, repairing bones and tissues and maintaining proper cholesterol levels. They also boast a high percentage of omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation and feed your brain.
Pumpkin seeds are full of too many beneficial nutrients to not talk about them further in the future, but my main focus here is that they are high in magnesium, which helps us cope with stress and decreases anxiety.
Apple cider vinegar is alkalizing to our bodies and helps with digestion and weight loss, while Caroway is supportive to the immune system and digestion.
Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salat
2-3 cups shredded brussels sprouts (about10-15 brussel sprouts)
2 Apples, sliced thin or cubed.
3/4 cup dried, apple juice sweetened cranberries
1.5 tbsp caraway seeds
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt
Raw pumpkin seeds
Grebin/pork cracklings or chopped fried bacon
First, mix apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and caroway seeds. Then, cut brussel sprouts in half and slice thinly into ribbons. Cut apples into cubes or very thin slices.
Toss apples, brussels sprouts and dried cranberries in the dressing. I use a big mixing bowl and my hand to cover everything.
Before serving, top with any combination of the above mentioned crunchy bits.