It has been a busy couple of weeks around here and I haven’t really had time to sit and think about how much things have changed for me over the past couple of years. Because I wasn’t always holistic foodie instead I was anything but holistic or a foodie. The months of April to June are always difficult for me, because of my mom’s passing in June 2010, but this year being so busy kind of helped with it and I don’t know if that’s such a good thing?
Busy, busy, busy…
Everyone is always using the excuse they are so busy, I am guilty of it too and some of the time it’s true, but more often than not, I would argue that the word busy can be used interchangeably with priorities. You prioritize what is important to you and what isn’t kind of just falls to the wayside, whether that is work, business, relationships or in my case my own thoughts and feelings. This year on the anniversary of my mom’s passing, I pushed my own feelings aside and focused big time on a few key things that were important to me from a business perspective. Maybe it was bad timing, but I felt really disconnected from myself during these past few weeks and maybe months even. I am really hoping to try and fix this by learning to live more in the moment. Easier said than done, but I am going to make a real effort to try and change how often I zone out and focus on things out of my control or too far in the future. All we have, all that is guaranteed, is right now, so why don’t we enjoy it more?
Reflecting on the past six years
When an opportunity came up to deliver a presentation on how nutrition can help with exercise and how the two work together, I of course jumped at the chance. It just so happened to fall on the exact date of my mom’s passing six years ago. When I really sit and think about that, it’s crazy, so much has happened in those six years, so much that she didn’t get to be a part of. Six years ago, I didn’t even know what chia seeds were or why people would even make their own nut milk, I didn’t buy organic, had no idea what cold pressed juice was or why I should care about any of these things. Now that I have time to reflect on it, I can’t believe how far I have come and I also know that had she never gotten sick, I am not so sure I would have gotten into holistic nutrition? So on this day, six years later, here I am leading a workshop on the importance of eating nutrient dense whole foods and what to eat pre and post workout. It could have been another sad June 4, but in some way, it took on a new meaning because here I was informing people on how to incorporate whole foods into their life. That is kind of amazing, I think. I am really proud of how far I have come in the last six years and it’s such an incredible feeling to know that you are going down the right path.
Now onto that delicious vegan lentil salad…
People may think that lentils are boring or uninspiring, but you know what those people are… wrong, they are absolutely, 100% wrong! Growing up, my grandma used to make a really delicious lentil soup, it was one of my favourites and every winter I make it (which reminds me, I really need to write it down and make it a blog post, come winter). So I was always fond of lentils, but I never had black lentils growing up, always green or red. So when I tried black lentils a couple of years ago, it was a game changer! They actually stayed firm and didn’t get mushy at all, this was a revelation. I knew that they would work wonderful in a salad because they would be able to stand up to the kale and provide a nice texture rather than falling apart and making a big old mess. So, if you do make this vegan lentil salad, please don’t substitute the black lentils for another kind because it wont work the same and you’ll be cursing my name as you eat a soggy, mushy plate of lentils and I don’t want that.
With this vegan lentil salad, fresh herbs really do take it to the next level, that being said, use whatever you like. I used lemon balm because I had some on hand and I absolutely love this herb, but if you can’t find it, feel free to leave it out and use something else. Parsley is a really nice addition to this one, so even if you only use one, make it this one!
I ate this salad all week long, including as a side and entree. It’s also really delicious on top of socca (a recent obsession of mine!) with some mashed avocado and a little bit of goat feta. I just got hungry again thinking about it!
Note: The salad dressing makes a bit too much, so you will have some leftover. If you want to reduce the dressing, feel free to do so, or just add more kale or lentils to the recipe to soak up that extra bit of dressing. I’ll leave that one up to you!
I would love to know what you do to re-connect with yourself and how do you make sure to live more in the moment?
- 1 cup dried black lentils + 1 bay leaf (optional)
- Approx. half of one bunch of lacinato kale (about 6-7 leaves)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. cumin (dried)
- 1/4 tsp. thyme (dried)
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- just under 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
- pinch of sea salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup. pitted olives (or sub for sun dried tomatoes or capers if you don't like olives)
- 1 tbsp. chopped lemon balm
- handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Rinse your 1 cup of lentils and add to a pot with 2 cups of water and your bay leaf.
- Cook for approximately 15 minutes.
- Drain if needed and then let cool.
- Wash and dry your kale pieces and then cut thinly into slices.
- Add all ingredients into a glass jar and shake it up to incorporate.
- Add your lentils and kale to a large bowl, add in your chopped olives and fresh herbs.
- Toss with the dressing, I used about 1/2 to 3/4 of the dressing, so you will have some leftover.
- Store leftovers in the fridge.
- I added some chive blossoms to the dish, but it isn't necessary. Just use what you have on hand!