Edmonds Healthy Eating: Kale salad packs a punch of flavor and nutrients

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Kale salad with butternut squash and cranberries.

June 30 is a big deal date in my life. On that date in 2009, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This means that on June 30th I will be celebrating my 8th Cancerversary!

Without going into details, this means that I am beating the odds with ovarian cancer. I am “dancing with N.E.D” and loving the dance floor. N.E.D. is not my husband, by the way. N.E.D. is an acronym that means “No Evidence of Disease.” I lived a healthy and vibrant life before I was diagnosed and probably ended up with cancer due to genetics. I inherited a gene mutation called BRCA1+ which basically has given me a higher probability of getting breast and ovarian cancer. I am thriving eight years later and look forward to seeing my son graduate from high school and start college in the fall.

Post surgery I went through chemo and used integrative medicine modalities (acupuncture, massage, qi gong) to mitigate side effects from the treatment. I also started paying closer attention to my diet and the ingredients I used. This doesn’t mean that I am “perfect.” I haven’t decided to eliminate entire food groups from my diet. I enjoy food, the process of cooking and creating nutritious recipes and I love to bake, too! I still believe that moderation is a key component for the way that I eat.

This kale salad is one of my favorites that I make all year and adjust the ingredients depending on the season. This version of my kale salad recipe is packed with vitamin C, which may be useful in mitigating lung and ovarian cancers, as well as helping chemotherapy drugs target cancer cells more effectively without damaging other cells. Like other cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetables, kale has been shown to help stop cancer in its tracks. Kale packs a punch with many antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C, E, and K. Cranberries are one of the top antioxidant-rich foods, and research has shown positive effects against certain types of cancer, including prostate, lung, breast, and colon cancer.Like olive oil, pecans contain oleic acid, a fatty acid with promising benefits. One of oleic acid’s prime benefits revolves around the reducing risk of breast cancer. Two handfuls of walnuts each day could cut in half the risk of breast cancer and tumor growth. Researchers have uncovered that diets rich in whole walnuts, or even walnut oil, have the ability to also slow prostate cancer growth.

Improve your own health in your kitchen and feel refreshed with this light and delicious kale salad!

SUMMER KALE SALAD

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bunch kale, stems removed, sliced into bite size pieces (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Preparation

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add squash and sprinkle with sea salt.
2. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula, until golden brown and tender. Remove to a plate and set aside.
3. In the same skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.
4. Add kale and cook, tossing frequently, until slightly wilted, 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the cranberries and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
6. Mix in a salad bowl, squash, kale and cranberries and gently toss together.
7. Add toasted walnuts and feta cheese (optional).

— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share here experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at jaideborah@yahoo.com.

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