Some consider this the ultimate detox
vegetable. High in fiber, potassium, Vitamin A, and yet virtually sodium free,
asparagus is a natural Spring cleanser. Its
high content of the antioxidant glutathione allows it some anti-aging properties.
And like leafy greens, it’s a good source
of folate which helps fight cancer, reduce
heart disease, and prevent birth defects.
A relative of celery, another natural
cleanser, parsley is a rich source of vitamins K, C, and A. But it also contains
special volatile oils that studies show inhibit tumor growth, particularly in the
lungs; these help neutralize particular
types of carcinogens (like the benzopy-renes that are found in cigarette smoke
and smog). Plus, parsley is rich in several
antioxidants that help fight cellular damage, and its high Vitamin K content helps
build bones and protect your heart.
These are both good for you and for the
environment! Pea crops help deposit, or
fix nitrogen into the soil, thereby reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. But,
they are also unique in their nutritional
components: they contain specific saponins which, coupled with their other
phytonutrients and fiber, may help reduce the risk of type2 diabetes. Surprisingly, peas are also a reliable source of
omega- 3 fats in the form of alpha-linole-nic acid. This very small but high-quality
fat content of green peas helps provide
important fat-soluble nutrients, including beta-carotene and vitamins E and K.
Try some of these natural cleansers in
this tabouleh-inspired quinoa salad. It is
easy to pack for a picnic or as a potluck
dish for an outdoor party; unlike many
traditional side salads, it’s free from
mayonnaise so there no need to worry
about refrigeration (and it is vegan).
The quinoa provides a hearty base complete with essential amino acids and
protein to rebuild your muscles along
with complex carbohydrates to energize
your long run or ride. Peas provide an
added protein boost and the lemony
vinaigrette adds a refreshing zing. Alternately, if you’re looking to satisfy your
sweet tooth and ease muscle pain triggered by inflammation, add some cherries. Rich in anthocyanins, melatonin,
Vitamin C and fiber, cherries may be a
perfect antidote after a long bout of invigorating exercise.
Whether you decide to walk, run, or
ride, venture outside to enjoy spring’s
beauty and enjoy the inspiration to eat
seasonally, cleanse internally, and energize and revitalize your spirit.
Red Jen Ford is a certified holistic health coach,
Yoga instructor and manager of the Westwood Farmers’
Market, located in the Vets’ Garden, Thurs 12 - 5 P.M.
Jen teaches the simplicity of eating local, sustainably
grown food. (917) 971-1941 / redjenford.com
Spring Quinoa Salad
with Asparagus and Peas
1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 cup vegetable broth, preferably
homemade (or water)
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 pound sugar snap or snow peas
(choose which ever taste sweeter
at the market)
1 pound asparagus spears
1 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, finely torn
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
½ tsp herba buena (dried mint)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Simmer the quinoa in salted broth for
about 15 minutes or until all the liquid
Bring an additional four cups of salted
water to a boil.
Trim the tough ends from the peas and
slice them on the diagonal into thin
Remove and discard tough stems from
the asparagus spears and slice into ½
inch pieces on the diagonal.
Blanch the asparagus and peas by placing them in a heat-proof bowl and pour
the boiling water over to cover. Let
stand one minute, then drain.
Prepare the lemon vinaigrette: squeeze
the lemons and in the lemon juice whisk
in salt, pepper, and herba buena, and
then whisk in the oil.
Combine the cooked quinoa with the
blanched asparagus and peas and then
mix the vinaigrette in well. Gently toss
in the fresh herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.