What’s in this salad that’s so good for you?
Red Quinoa: Whole grains don’t have to be boring brown. These little red pods are a complete protein. Proteins are made of amino acids, which are like charms on a bracelet. You attach specific charms to the bracelet in a certain order, and that bracelet becomes a protein. Your body can make a lot of charms itself, but it needs you to supply nine of them through your diet. A complete protein contains all of the charms that your body can’t make. The bottom line? Quinoa is a great source of protein. It’s also high in fiber, which slows digestion, curbs blood sugar spikes, and can help you lose weight.Pomegranate Seeds: As long as you don’t eat a pomegranate seed in Hades, you can sprinkle these on almost any meal, any time for a delicious burst of flavor.
In Greek Mythology, Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, was dragged into the underworld and crowned Queen of the Dead (lovely, I know). She was eventually freed and allowed to return topside, but since she had eaten a pomegranate seed while down under, she was forced to return to the land of the dead for half the year…forever. When Persephone was up on earth, her mother Demeter was thrilled, and made plants grow (our Summer and Spring), and when Persephone went back down to Hades, Demeter wept, and caused leaves to fall and the earth to become barren (our Fall and Winter). (Disclaimer: I was president of the Greek club in high school for two years, and studied Ancient Greek for 6 years…so that’s why you were forced to read that).
And now, back to why pom seeds are so “wonderful.” They’ve got those powerful antioxidants we’re always hearing about – the chemicals naturally found in foods that keep our blood vessels smooth, plaque-free, and chugging along. Many stores sell the seeds in the refrigerated section, so they’re ready to sprinkle on breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Avocado: Startling but true, and maybe worth saying outloud, all fat is not bad. All fat is not created equal. We’ve got trans fat and saturated fat on the “naughty” list (but honestly, there’s some research going on that these aren’t even so cut and dry), and then unsaturated fats on the “nice” list. Unsaturated fats don’t raise cholesterol, and may even help lower blood cholesterol, according to The Color Code, by Drs. James Joseph and Daniel Nadeau, and Anne Underwood (2002). If you’re looking for phytochemicals that fight cancer, antioxidants that support heart health, and vitamins and minerals, you’ve also come to the right fruit.
Don’t go ava-crazy though – moderation counts here. One half of an avocado (one serving) has about 150 calories, so watch your portion size and don’t add them to your diet, but substitute them for something that’s less healthy like croutons, which are calorie-full and don’t have all these health benefits.
Also…Chicken (protein!), Lettuce (water that fills you up with very few calories), Beets (possible heart-helper and cancer-fighter) and Goat Cheese (deliciousness, calcium, optional).
Red Quinoa, Chicken, & Goat Cheese Power Salad
- Grilled Chicken, sliced
- Beets, cooked & sliced
- Goat Cheese
- Red Quinoa, cooked
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Avocado, cut into chunks
- Lettuce or Spinach (your favorite – this salad would be great with any)
- Combine ingredients and toss with your favorite vinaigrette dressing (or just squeeze fresh lemon juice on top).