Clean eating / Food

Can a Kale Salad make you happy?

I was a “Kale virgin” up until February. I was overweight, unhappy and had a huge feeling of hopelessness. I really didn’t think the yo yo diet, down 10lbs then up 15lbs roller coaster would every end. I had joined a gym five months before. I remember being super scared that first class. I was afraid I wouldn’t get through the class. I was afraid everyone was looking at me- thinking the same things I was thinking in my own head “look at how much weight she has gained!” (Thankfully most people are not as mean as your own voice in your head. I’m sure most women are too busy beating themselves up on the inside to even notice the 5lbs you have gained). Something special happened during that class— I fell in love with working out! I started going to more and more classes. My body got stronger, my confidence got bigger, the mean voice in my head got smaller. By January I realized that “you can’t out run the fork”. I was still overweight. I needed to change my food. I sat down with my trainer, who also happens to be a Holistic Nutritionist. The nutritionist part I was excited about- it was the “holistic” part that made me nervous. I was nervous that she was going to make me eat weird stuff like chia seeds and quinoa. And you know what? She did! Lol! Now, I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. My mom embraced that style of cooking. Casseroles topped with potato chips and salads made of marshmallows and jello were the norm. My nutritionist wanted me to “eat clean”. No fake shit. No artificial sweeteners. No pre-packaged food. No crappy oils. No dairy. And no (gasp) alcohol!!!! Yikes! The meal plan came with recipes. I went on my grocery shopping scavenger hunt. It felt like an adventure trying to find agave syrup, coconut flour and muesli. And there it was…. Day 2…Kale Salad. Hmmmmm. Kale. I thought only hippies and vegans ate Kale. I made the salad. I loved it. I actually loved it so much I pretty much ate it every day for four months lol! I ate this salad in my car going 100km/hr while my kids ate Wendy’s in the backseat. I ate this salad at work, at home, and at my Grandpa’s 90th birthday party since I knew the buffet wouldn’t work with my meal plan. If you are a kale virgin like I was, do yourself a favour and start with BABY KALE! 20140716-120310-43390105.jpg Baby spinach is better too. Organic if possible! Next- kale virgin- chop up your kale into really small pieces. The dressing does a better job softening the tough kale when the pieces are small.

20140716-121026-43826380.jpg Next you add all the amazing things into the salad that if you were counting points on another weight loss diet you wouldn’t put them in because according to “some people” the salad would be “unhealthy” because of the high fat avocado and nuts. Trust me- put the nuts in- so yummy and healthy!

20140716-121121-43881141.jpg A quick aside on avocados. I saw on Pinterest that you could grow your own avocado tree. We are trying it.

20140716-121242-43962477.jpg I’m still buying my avocados at Costco but maybe someday……lol! Here is the recipe:

Kale + Spinach Detox Salad S. Green

250g organic kale

1 bunch of parsley

chopped 1 bunch of mint

chopped 2 handfuls of baby spinach

chopped 4 green onions

chopped 200g chickpeas (I use about half the can)

2 oranges

sliced 1 avocado

diced 1/4 c chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnut…. Just no peanuts)

1/4 c sunflower or pumpkin seeds (best part of the salad!)

1/4 goat’s milk feta cheese crumbled


1 lemon, juice and zest

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp black pepper

Pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 clove of garlic

minced 2 tbsp olive oil

Shred the greens and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Massage the dressing into the kale. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss. Will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

20140716-123805-45485311.jpg It goes great with chicken! Now the most important part of this post… Can this salad make you happy? It sure made me happy. First, I was happy eating it since I knew I was making a conscious decision to choose a healthy yummy salad. Second, eating a Wendy’s big bacon classic tastes great but leaves an aftermath of mean voices in my head beating myself up for giving into temptation (I’m not against a good bacon burger but make it yourself with the best ingredients available- not a cheap fast food burger!). And third- I’m a size 6 now. In February I was a size 14. In that shallow outward appearance thing- I’m much happier! Duh! But I’m also happier because I feed my body good food so now my body has the strength to do full push-ups- nose touching the floor- no girl push-ups here!!!I’m happy because I have the energy to play with my kids. I’m happy because I found my confidence again. My dog Boyd is happier too. Turns out he loves kale too!

20140716-124615-45975334.jpg Choose happy 🙂



12 thoughts on “Can a Kale Salad make you happy?

  1. Phew, just made it! I hope it keeps in the fridge for a couple of days as this is a big salad! It is a beautiful mix of taste. I would never have mixed orange, mint and feta cheese, but it turns out to go so well together, love it! Thanks Tracey!


  2. Pingback: Never ending Kale Salad | I Choose Happy

  3. Pingback: Nifty at 50! | I choose happy

  4. great post Tracey, going to try this one! I love avacado and go through so many of them, will also try this experiment to grow one:) I love mine in smoothies, amongst other things;) I also agree nuts/seeds are a must in a salad, healthy “fats”! Love this post! Keep it up:)


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