Berry Almond Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Since healthy eating is pretty much all I do all day, it seems to leak through into my everyday conversations. I talk about eating healthy with my new neighbors, in line at the grocery store, with random strangers on the phone, and most of all in restaurants. Especially in restaurants. It comes up pretty naturally (I don’t force it onto people) because of the long list of ingredients I ask the waiter to leave off, and if they can substitute ingredients. “No corn, no cheese, and no dressing. Do you have any vinaigrettes?”  I don’t make it easy on them, but I do tip well and hopefully that makes up for the additional time they spend putting substitutions into the computer systems. Sometimes the waiters will look at me funny, or they’ll ask if I have an allergy, and I’ll tell them the story of my life and my mental health in at least 45 seconds. Sometimes the waiter will empathize, “I understand. I’m lactose intolerant!” or they will nod and walk away. On some occasions, when the restaurant isn’t busy, the waiter will stop and ask questions. Or some days, the manager will drop by and talk to us.
Like a few days ago. The manager at one of my favorite clean-eating restaurants stopped to talk, and we had an interesting conversation about our mutual passion for healthy eating, and swapping which types of eating (vegan, paleo etc) each of us was into and why. While my involvement was brought about by a mental health disorder, her was all physical. We enthused about the benefits that each of our dietary restrictions brought about and we started to talk about other diseases and how food has shown in some studies to help alleviate symptoms or even cure people. In this particular conversation, we began talking about cancer and the effects that different foods can have to either encourage cancer growth, or slow it down. I asked her: “What diet would you follow if you had cancer?” Her answer was almost immediate, “I would eat 100% raw if I had cancer!” I agreed. There are several studies that show raw foods slowing the effects of cancer, or stopping it all-together in some cases. At any rate, it wouldn’t hurt to try it along with traditional therapies.
I walked away from that conversation a little troubled though. If I was sick, I would eat raw, just like I would go to a doctor for medicine. But what about keeping myself well? I wash my hands twenty times a day to ward of germs. I clean my house (definitely not as often) and I shower for similar reasons. I even scoot away from sick students who come into my classroom, plop down next to me on a chair and say, “Sorry I’m late; I have the flu.” Go home, please.
I’ve integrated habits of cleanliness to ward of illness. But I am beginning to realize that the exterior of the body isn’t the only place I can integrate habits of cleanliness.
It’s simply about prevention vs. cure.
And it’s a thought that has stuck with me all this week. Not, what if I get cancer? What would I do?  But…
Why not eat more raw foods now?
Which I thought was an exceptional idea and it inspired the recipe in this post. I’m setting a goal to eat one raw meal a day, or at least one mostly raw meal. I want my body and mind to be nourished so that my quality of life can improve, and so that I can give my body the nutrients that it needs to overcome illnesses and disease. I’m still going to eat Paleo, but I’m going to turn off the oven more often and eat a nutrient-dense, raw meal!
I would like to mention that eating raw also equals less prep and cook time for meals. This recipe took me 10 minutes to prepare!


Berry Almond Spinach Salad

Berry Almond Spinach Salad

Salad Ingredients (makes two)
4 handfuls of spinach
1 avocado, cubed
6 blackberries
10 raspberries
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
Vinaigrette Ingredients (makes two with some to spare)
5 or 6 raspberries
2 tsp honey (Vegans: substitute agave or maple syrup)
2 tbs white wine vinegar (or champagne, or apple cider)
6 tbs avocado oil
Salad Instructions
Either in a mixing bowl or on a plate, toss all ingredients.
Vinaigrette Instructions
Using a small food processor, pulse all ingredients on high for 1-2 minutes until completely combined. Pour over salad.
And eat!
My husband and I couldn’t stop raving about how great this salad was! We are definitely making it again!