Happy New Year!
If you're anything like me, you've had your fill of holiday fun and are ready to hit the reset button in the kitchen. But sometimes this good intention to reset comes from a sense of guilt and obligation, and we believe a diet is the only way to "fix" our body and recent indulgences.
A reset isn't necessarily harmful, but the diet mentality behind it is. The truth is, our body doesn't need to be reset as much as our mindset about food and body does.
So my Whole Nourishment challenge to you this year is the following:
- Notice all the small, sneaky ways the diet mentality creeps into your everyday food and body thoughts
- Ditch the diet mentality in favor of self-care. Dare yourself to choose foods for nourishing reasons.
I once made food choices out of fear of losing balance. Now I choose foods because they're what I'm honestly craving and make me feel good. Because they're in season and look fresh in the market. And because they're delicious, nutrient-dense, varied, colorful, and whole. I don't play mind games anymore. I treat cooking, eating, and my other daily habits as nourishment and self-care. And I want you to do the same. That's why I do what I do on the blog and in my coaching practice.
As you make food choices this month, and all year long, take a moment to consider the following question.
"Am I choosing to eat this out of self-control or self-care?"
Now on to the recipe and why I love it so much in the winter. With the fresh, zingy flavor of lime, cilantro, and red onion tossed with papaya, chickpeas, and avocado, this salad is a perfect antidote to the hearty, slow-cooked stews and roasts a lot of us in the Northern hemisphere are enjoying right now. Papaya is the star of the show and for good reason. Keep reading for why I like to keep it in my winter kitchen tool kit.
Digestive health is a trendy focus for New Year cleanses and detoxes. But weaving in digestive supporting foods and habits throughout the year is good practice and much less effort in the long run.
Papaya is a welcome digestive aid for the cold months when our meals tend toward the heavier side and we're eating few raw, enzyme-rich foods. Similar to bromelain in pineapple, papaya contains papain, another digestive enzyme that helps digest protein and thin mucus. Papaya is also rich in antioxidants such as carotenes and Vitamin C, which support immunity. And according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, papaya has bitter and sweet properties. The bitter property combats infections, inflammation, and swelling in the body, cleans arteries of cholesterol and fat deposits, and cools heat in the liver (caused by overconsumption of rich foods).
Good and good-for-you, this salad is a winner all around. I hope you enjoy!
Papaya, Chickpea, and Avocado Salad
Notes: This salad is very versatile and hard to mess up! Add seasoning - lime, salt, smoked paprika - to taste. Sometimes papaya can be bland in flavor, so the lime and smoked paprika brighten the whole salad.
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) papaya, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups (210 gr or 1-15 oz can) cooked chickpeas
- 1 medium avocado, chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
- Juice of 1 juicy lime
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder or ground red pepper/cayenne (optional)
- Heaped 1/4 tsp. salt
- Handful cilantro, chopped
- Add all ingredients to a medium mixing bowl.
- Toss gently to combine well. Adjust lime, salt, and smoked paprika to taste. Serve immediately. Store leftovers covered in the fridge up to 2 days.