Mixed greens make for a nutritious start to 2020

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” — Robert Burns

How can it be that 2020 has arrived? But arrived it has; and like every other new year, hopes and dreams can renew and a fresh start is possible.

Heralding the new year has been a celebratory custom for thousands of years, having first been initiated by the ancient Babylonians. Apparently the ancient Greeks can be credited with the first use of a baby to represent the birth of a new year.

No matter what culture or country, the new year is recognized as a time to shake off the striving and struggles of the past. There is something wonderfully cleansing in beginning anew and recognizing the potential for positive change.

After a holiday season filled with many delicious and decadent treats, my mind and body are ready to refresh with cleansing, healing foods. Shrugging off all the sugar and fat induced sluggishness may take a few weeks, but can be accomplished with a hearty dose of naturally nutritious ingredients.

Fresh fruits and vegetables will infuse the body with intense amounts of vitamins and protective antioxidants. Garlic and onions are cleansing and can potentially guard against cold and flu germs. Citrus fruits will infuse the body with copious amounts of vitamin C. Tangerines, grapefruit, clementines and oranges are juicy, sweet and sustaining, while providing powerful anti-aging benefits. Greens are also a wonderful choice for infusing the body with goodness. Deep green kale is a marvelous source of calcium and fiber, as well as vitamins A and C. Cabbage is crisp, crunchy and rumored to bring prosperity to those who eat it on New Year’s Day! Bok choy’s delicate flavor and lovely pale green color add a wonderful element to all sorts of dishes, including stir fries and salads.

Be kind to your body in the new year. Feed it wholesome, hydrating, invigorating foods that will stimulate and restore. Welcome all the positivity that you can by preparing a delicious life!

New Year New Life Salad

Serves 6-8

6 cups of well-washed, mixed organic salad greens

2 cups well-washed organic baby kale or spinach

1 cup well-washed baby bok choy leaves

1 medium grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned

1 mandarin orange or navel orange, peeled and sectioned

1 small bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (yes, wash it first!)

½ cup of dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries or golden raisins (or a mixture of all)

4 tablespoons raspberry, blueberry or champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon organic honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

A grinding of fresh black pepper

¼ cup toasted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or pignoli nuts (optional)

½ cup of parmesan cheese shavings

In a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, shake together the vinegar, mustard, juice, olive oil and salt until emulsified. Place all the greens in a bowl and gently mix them. Drizzle with a bit of dressing and toss gently until coated. Distribute among salad plates and top with citrus fruits, fennel and dried fruits, dividing equally. Top with nuts and cheese if using. Add more salad dressing to each serving and grind a little pepper over each serving.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener, and a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.