Maia's Best Green Juice and Autumn Salad

by Maia Bedson

Autumn 2015, Living Well Magazine

When eating out, I have a few favorite healthy places where I know I won’t be faced with mock-burgers that taste like old shoes or meals cooked in so much oil that it’s a wonder the kitchen staff are not sliding past each other like they’re on roller skates, but I also occasionally venture out to new places and sometimes dream up variations of dishes on their menus. As I eat a plant-based diet, this often means re-interpreting items on the ‘side’ menu (which is usually a better place in which to order from a health point of view).

Recently Paul and I went to a place in Melbourne that, just by the name, I wouldn’t normally consider entering (having a delicate sensibility and ok, being a bit old-fashioned). I won’t print the name but let’s just say that birthday suits and beelzebub were in the title (those of you who are adroit at cryptic crosswords will have probably guessed already).

So from this most unusual source of inspiration, here is an Autumn Salad. It can be served warm or at room temperature (depending on your preference) and it is bursting with health-promoting nutrients and ingredients that research has shown to have healing properties for  a range of health concerns,  including cancer.

Vitamin A, C, K & B6, Potassium and Manganese in red cabbage – well known for their anti-cancer benefits;

Chlorophyll, protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, Omega 3s and calcium in spinach – Popeye knew what he was on about;

Protein, iron, fibre and manganese in lentils;

Walnuts for their essential fatty acids, protein and B-group vitamins that nourish our nervous system;

Mint – high in anti-oxidants and is a powerful digestive aid; and

Red onions, which has more anti-oxidants (especially quercetin) than white onions and are rich in polyphenols which are the largest category of phytonutrients in food.

Maia’s Best Green Juice

Here is my favorite and most-often made green juice. Guaranteed to super-boost your energy

Ingredients

Half bunch of kale – stems and spines removed. Kale is one of the most nutritious plant foods on the planet. If you only could grow one vegetable, kale would be the one to choose;

Half bunch spinach or chard (silverbeet) – stems and spines removed. They contain a unique combination of phytonutrients that detoxify and regenerate us on a cellular level;

1 large or 2 medium cucumber’s sliced into middle-finger lengths (or more if they are plentiful – I personally think it’s hard to overdo cucumbers with their wealth of anti-oxidants and hydration benefits). Forget coconut water – go for cucumber water. (Hmmm, there could be a fortune to be made here);

1 whole lemon – sliced, peel included. For the Vitamin C content, cleansing properties, ability to eliminate excess mucus in the body and alkalizing effects. Lemons can also make your sink sparkle, lighten your hair and make your elbows look like an angel’s (but that is a topic for another article);

Knob of ginger – thumb size and sliced. Useful for so many conditions such as inflammation, nausea, digestive upsets and hypertension. May even be able to solve any financial problems (I might have made up that part).

Method

Juice all ingredients, alternating them so that the items with more juice, like the cucumbers and lemon slices help the juicing of the green leaves and ginger

And depending on the type of juicer, it can help to put the ginger through last so that the fibres don’t clog the juicer

Drink straight away and await lift off!

Autumn Salad

Serves 8 (as a side) or 4 (as a main)

Ingredients

½ red cabbage, core removed and finely sliced

100gm baby spinach leaves (2 big handfuls)

2 cups lettuce finely sliced – any variety such as Cos, Oak-leaf or Pak Choy (the crisper the lettuce the better – and as with all leafy greens especially, organic is a must. You are worth it!)

1 cup Puy (French) lentils

100gm whole walnuts – chopped (I prefer these to buying walnuts already in pieces as there is less exposure to air which can damage the nut oils)

½ cup mint leaves finely sliced

½ red onion finely sliced

(alternative is 4 spring onions)

For the dressing:

1/3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil

(alternative is Flax Seed Oil)

2 tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tbs. Dijon wholegrain mustard 1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

Rinse the lentils over water using a sieve then soak overnight in water

Drain and rinse well

Cook lentils in fresh water until tender (but not mushy) then allow to cool

(Shorter preparation is to rinse lentils and cook in fresh water until tender, though I find they are easier to digest if soaked overnight)

Run your fingers through the finely shredded cabbage and remove any errant white stalky pieces

Combine the cabbage with the finely shredded lettuce, finely sliced mint leaves and onion with the baby spinach leaves

Mix through the cooked lentils and walnut pieces

To make the dressing, combine the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake well. (Unless you want to be fancy-schmancy and use a stick blender in a stainless steel jug or bowl)

Drizzle dressing over salad and enjoy

Note: You can use this recipe as a guide and adapt to your own taste and the ingredients you have available. For example, you may want to add freshly ground black pepper, or some dried chilli flakes or perhaps some dulse (a type of seaweed) for a saltier flavor. Or if lentils don’t agree with your digestion consider using kasha (roasted buckwheat) or bulgur (cracked wheat) instead. This salad can also be adapted for cold weather by adding the lentils while still warm.

Maia Bedson

Therapist, Facilitator, The Gawler Cancer Foundation & Yarra Valley Living Centre

DipHol Couns, Grad DipCounsHS, Grad DipClinNut

Maia is a counsellor, meditation instructor, a practitioner of various forms of natural therapies who has worked in the area of energetic healing for over 20 years and has worked at The Gawler Cancer Foundation since 2000. She has a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition as well as formal qualifications in plant-based nutrition, counselling and psychotherapy. Maia uses her various skills and the experience gained from her own healing to inspire and support others on their path to wholeness and has a particular interest in helping people to access their own inner wisdom.