Conscious Cook: Live well and eat well with broccoli salad

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” —Virginia Woolf

Certain ingredients are required to prepare a delicious life. If the shelves of your personal pantry are bare, replenish them with items that will ensure your happiness and joy. When you have ingredients that have reached their expiration date, discard them. Feed the body and stimulate the soul with ingredients that are fresh and lively, and they will help you create your own state of fulfillment.

When we become mired in the day-to-day routine of performing the most necessary and immediate of tasks, we often lose sight of our unique selves. It is easy to bypass the very things most essential for our own survival, when we are so busy taking care of everything and everyone else.

This past year has been an epic example of coping with stress, uncertainty and change. By remembering to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, make exercise a priority and surround ourselves with positive influences, such as music, love and laughter, we can help minimize anxiety and provide a sense of balance and peace.

Eating natural, whole foods is a potent step in replenishing a stress-ridden body. Dark, leafy, greens and bright green vegetables can help strengthen the immune system, while internally cleansing, clarifying and detoxifying. Greens impart positive energy to the body and can help lift spirits made weary by the demands of daily life.

Green foods such as broccoli, are a delicious source of strong, grounded energy. Introducing more green foods into the diet may help crowd out less nutritious food cravings, and support the system in a more healthy manner. Refreshing, renewing, green foods may possibly benefit the body by purifying the blood, reducing cancer risk, improving circulation and enhancing liver, gall bladder and kidney function.

Live well by tasting all the rich, satisfying flavors of preparing a delicious life.

Living Well Broccoli Salad

Serves 4-6

1 large head organic broccoli (washed and chopped into florets)

4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups sugar snap peas (washed and cut in half or thirds)

3/4 cup golden raisins (optional)

1 tablespoons drained capers

3/4 cup chopped olives (use your favorite, kalamatas are quite nice)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 pound feta cheese, goat cheese or ricotta salata, crumbled

Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover broccoli. Bring water to a boil over medium high heat. Add broccoli and cook until tender, but still crisp, approximately 5 minutes. Should be bright green. Drain well. Place broccoli in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and herbs. Toss gently. Season with a bit of salt and pepper if desired. Add sugar snap peas, capers, raisins if using, olives and cheese. Toss again and taste. Re-season with salt and pepper if desired.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener and a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.