A healthy diet should be naturally colourful!
You know how there are those few times during the year when everyone around you seems to be getting sick? Well, I am going through one of those times right now and I am proud to say that I still have not fallen sick. I have been taking preventative measures to ensure I remain cold/flu-free. In addition to taking oil of oregano daily while so many are sick around me, getting an adequate amount of sleep every night, and always staying hydrated, I have been having my “ManGO-Away-Cold-and-Flu” salad for dinner quite often lately. This high-in-vitamin-C and antioxidant-rich salad helps keep sickness away and is so yummy! I make this salad so often that I have never measured any of the ingredients. However, while making this salad for dinner last night, I measured the ingredients so that I could share the recipe with you all today! Enjoy!
One of my secrets to making a great tasting salad is using all organic ingredients! Organic produce just tastes better.
- 1 medium (red, white, or yellow) onion, diced
- 2-3 small zucchini, diced
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
- 1-2 pinches garam masala powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- leaves from 1 head of green kale, roughly chopped
- 1 scallion, chopped
If you are a salad lover like me, this recipe serves one.
- In a medium frying pan over medium to high heat, sauté the diced onion in coconut oil until translucent.
- Add the diced zucchini and spices (cumin powder, fine sea salt, chili powder, garam masala powder, and turmeric powder). Sauté everything until all the water that comes out from the zucchini evaporates.
- Place the chopped kale leaves in a large bowl and add the sautéed zucchini and onion mixture on top.
- Top off the salad with the diced mango and chopped scallion.
- Mix everything together. Allow the flavours to mix and mingle for 5 minutes and then enjoy!
Drinking water kefir is my current favourite way to build a healthy gut flora and prevent dis-symbiosis-induced bloating.
So you want a probiotic food source for better digestive health and a flatter tummy, but:
- you are lactose intolerant and cannot consume yogurt or dairy kefir
- fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut are too high in sodium
- you are trying to avoid fermented soy products like miso or tempeh, because they may be genetically modified or because of their phytoestrogen content
- you need to stay away from kombucha due to its caffeine content
- you are simply not patient enough for the fermentation process
Well, I have got some great news! My friend, fellow Nutritionist, and fermentation connoisseur, Suzanne, introduced me to water kefir, which is a non-dairy, caffeine-free, probiotic drink that only takes one to five days to make! Not only did she make me some of her blueberry-flavoured water kefir to try for my first time, but she also gave me some of her extra water kefir grains so that I can start making my own! This delicious and good-for-you beverage tastes mildly sweet and slightly tangy. Also, it may or may not have added flavour and/or carbonation. I have not seen water kefir sold in stores (yet). So if you would like to try this drink, find a knowledgeable water-kefir maker in your area and then try making your own perhaps! If you can get your hands on water kefir grains from a health food store, from online, or from a trusted water-kefir producer, here is how I have been making this healthy beverage successfully (thanks to Suzanne for the recipe and all her help and guidance):
I was so shocked by how quickly the grains multiply and how fast the water-kefir making process is compared to kombucha making! Water kefir is ready for consumption in as little as 1 to 2 days!
- 1 cup (250 mL) to-be-boiled filtered water
- 2 cups (500 mL) cold (refrigerated) filtered water
- 1-litre glass jar
- 1/4 cup organic sugar
- 10 drops ConcenTrace trace mineral supplement (Instead of this, Suzanne uses 1 tsp of molasses, which is also mineral-rich and works.)
- 1/4 cup water kefir grains
- an elastic band with a coffee filter or cheesecloth or towel to cover the jar
- plastic strainer
- glass bottle or glass jar with a lid for completed water kefir
Water kefir grains need a mineral-rich environment to thrive. I find that 10 drops of ConcenTrace trace mineral supplement per 1 litre or so of sugar solution with the water kefir grains works well. Suzanne uses 1 tsp of molasses for this same amount instead and she has great success with it. I have heard of some other successful alternatives such as eggshells, raisins, and sea salt, but do some research on the amounts before trying any of those out.
- Boil 1 cup (250 mL) of filtered water and add it to a 1-litre glass jar.
- Dissolve 1/4 cup of organic sugar in the jar of hot water.
- Add 2 cups (500 mL) of cold (refrigerated) filtered water into the jar.
- Add 10 drops of ConcenTrace trace mineral supplement or 1 tsp of molasses into the jar.
- Add 1/4 cup of water kefir grains into the sugar and water mixture, which should be lukewarm. (If the mixture in the jar is warmer than that, place it in the fridge until it is not warmer than lukewarm BEFORE adding the water kefir grains. Hot water can kill the live bacterial cultures.)
- Cover the jar with an elastic band and a coffee filter or cheesecloth or towel. Let the jar sit somewhere at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 24 to 48 hours. Since fermentation occurs more rapidly at warmer room temperatures, both Suzanne and I like to keep our jars on the kitchen countertop beside the stove.
Some signs of thriving and healthy water kefir grains include some floating grains and some bubbles (particularly arising bubbles when you tap or slightly move the jar). I flavoured my first batch of water kefir with a few fresh ginger pieces during second fermentation and it was DELICIOUS!
- After 24 to 48 hours, the liquid in the jar has turned into water kefir! Strain out the water kefir grains with a plastic strainer (the live bacterial cultures dislike metal) and repeat steps 1 to 6 with the strained grains for your next batch of water kefir! You can drink your first batch of water kefir as it is, or you can flavour and carbonate it during a second fermentation process.
- To flavour your water kefir, add pure fruit juice/jam, dried/fresh fruits, herbs, spices, ginger pieces, and/or whatever else you want to try and let this concoction sit at room temperature for a second fermentation period of 1 to 3 days before drinking. For carbonation, seal this mixture with a lid or bottle it up during the 1-to-3-day flavouring period. Make sure to taste test the water kefir daily as it carbonates, because it can carbonate quite rapidly and you do not want any explosions!
My second batch resulted in even more water kefir grains! Soon enough, I will have to start giving away my excess grains to friends and teaching them how to make water kefir! I flavoured my second batch with this rose flavouring that Raj’s parents brought back from India. It was SO GOOD and even more delicious than my first ginger-flavoured batch!
Note: The water kefir grains will multiply during every batch, so you will start to accumulate more and more grains. Soon enough, you will have too many grains. I recommend you share these excess grains with friends and teach them how to make their own water kefir for good health! Cheers!