• 1 small head broccoli
  • or a 12 oz. bag
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 ripe fresh figs
  • 1/2 c. toasted almond slivers
  • dash pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. coconut or avocado oil
  • For Dressing:
  • 1/2 c. soaked walnuts
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder

Don’t let the simplicity of this summer salad fool you. The secret sauce is the sensation that will get you to eat more vegetables!  This is another creation of my being held hostage in my kitchen, or rather busy creating joy for your taste buds {you can read more in last weeks post}!

Summer always has me craving freedom because the days seem full of life’s to-dos. By the time I get into the kitchen,  I have to muster up efforts of creativity!  I love that this recipe’s dressing can be made ahead of time to enjoy and you only need 1/2 cup of it for the salad; so there is more to enjoy on fish, salad or even for dipping!

When I searched Broccoli Salads I was miffed at the amount of sugar some recipes called for; some touted a whole cup of granulated sugar!  I don’t know why I am always surprised at this kind of stuff but my stomach churns at the thought of ruining the nutritional lineup broccoli can have {smh}. Not to mention it is a salad not a dessert!

As usual, you can count on my recipe to get a makeover but still provide delicious flavors of satisfaction!  You can keep the refined sugar for those giveaway Christmas cookies {or maybe just toss it out…please}!  Let’s face it, most of us do have a sweet tooth {wink} and no one is happy if momma is deprived in my house! With the added figs or dates you can accomplish a little sweet without sacrificing your health!

The simple sweetness from the fruit in this recipe is welcomed with open arms for this momma since I have been on a modified version of the FreeDiet™.  I weeded out grains, dairy and most importantly, sugar for over 40 days {other than low sugar fruits}.  It has not been easy and quite frankly it is the longest I have gone without sugar even though most of my sugar intake was still considered clean like coconut sugar.

In the last 40 days I have had several “in your face” dessert eating experiences which were soooo painful.  It is true, “out of sight out of mind!” Darn, if I didn’t try my hardest to taste those desserts through the air or in my dreams!  I often asked the dessert eater if I could just smell it.  It was foolish and only made my mouth salivate, but I was not giving in!

You may ask, Why would I torture myself? Well, stress does eventually catch up and can wreck havoc on one’s health.  I admit I didn’t take care of myself and practice what I preach through some very stressful times. Months of late nights and not sleeping due to my sick doggie and allowing worry about my dad {details in last weeks post} to rob me of my joy took all my energy.

It is no wonder I woke up one morning to find an alarming, hard nodule as I stretched and rubbed my neck.  I immediately had my husband feel it and it was apparent it was a thyroid nodule. Certainly my mind played tricks on me and I wavered in fear if it were not benign. Soon I found out I had a few cysts in my breast too {good grief}!

We did a thyroid profile that came back normal.  I was secretly hoping it would show the reason {other then my fears of the C word} why these nodules appeared all of a sudden. Fortunately I do not have any autoimmune disorders.

The ultrasound, which I patiently waited for {not really} revealed four thyroid nodules and one of them being 2 cm {yikes}. Apparently the protocol is to do a {torturous and scary} needle biopsy which I couldn’t fancy the thought of!  I immediately took action and cut out sugar, grains and then dairy. Traditional doctors said diet has nothing to do with it.

I suggest to those naysayers perhaps, magically they have shrunk so much that by touch you can not feel them {note sarcasm in voice}!?  In two weeks of just a few dietary changes I could not feel the hardened nodule.  My husband also did an iodine test for me that revealed a deficiency. With joy I cancelled my biopsy and will let the iodine do its thing and reschedule another ultrasound to verify all is well.

I tell you all of this to encourage you that self care is essential, especially during times of stress.  I tend to think I am like superwoman and can just do it all and I put on the old adage to “suck it up” and persevere through life’s ups & downs and busyness. This was a wake up call to listen to my body and honor my God given health.

I miss my furry baby and partner in crime in the kitchen. Even though Dolce lost her hearing as she aged her sense of smell would wake her to greet me while I photographed my recipes. If I turned my back for a moment she gingerly would sneak a bite! Eating crunchy lettuce isn’t the same without you. Thank you for 15 years of unconditional love! ❤️

My self care is still not perfect but I am a work in process.  I am sitting down to eat and chew my food more, not grabbing high sugar protein bars {even the healthy looking ones can have 16 grams of fruit sugar} or cheese and crackers on the run but eating real food by meal planning more. I am good with feeding everyone but me sometimes. Also, most nights I am in bed by 10:30ish and not my normal midnight owl time.

I am exercising with gusto, using the infrared sauna more often, consistent with my morning devotion time, not reacting and yelling at my child as often.  Lastly, I am trying to ask for help when I could really use it from my husband, daughter or even my dearest friends. This by far a stubborn one for me.  For some reason I have this belief that asking for help is needy.  I loathe neediness!

I dislike that multitasking doesn’t serve me these days.  In fact, multitasking makes me feel very ADD and all over the place with a foggy-minded feeling.  Research does show that doing many things at once {example for me distracted by phone while working} breaks the focus and things take more time to get done. So yet another habit to break but I am a willing subject who desires to learn from what is not working {even though I was in denial for some time}.

A little side note, there is much consensus/research that the reason we see more people these days with thyroid nodules is due to the constant bombarding of EMFs {electromagnetic radiation} by electronics and especially from our phones.  A helpful tip we use (and with our daughter) is to put our phones on airplane mode whenever we can and keep the phone at an arms length distance. The thyroid is a superficial gland and can in particular be exposed to such harmful concerns, not to mention our precious kids are still developing every organ and limb!

I hope you will take away a few things from this post other than this delicious recipe. Remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” because a whole lot of fixing afterward is a lot of work my friends!

 

Toasted Almond Broccoli Fig Salad {paleo, vegan and raw}
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
  • 1 small head broccoli
  • or a 12 oz. bag
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 5 ripe fresh figs
  • ½ c. toasted almond slivers
  • dash pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. coconut or avocado oil
  • For Dressing:
  • ½ c. soaked walnuts
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
  • ½ tsp. onion powder

Instructions
  1. Chop garlic fine and add to frying pan on low-medium heat with 2 tbsp.oil.
  2. Chop head of broccoli into bite sizes and add to pan after garlic is softer.
  3. Saute broccoli for just a few minutes until it turns a bright green.
  4. Add to a big bowl and let it cool.
  5. Mix all ingredients for dressing in a strong blender until creamy.
  6. Mix ½ cup of dressing into broccoli and toss.
  7. Taste and add more salt or dressing. Left over dressing is great for salad, fish or dipping!

Notes
If figs aren’t your thing no worries mate; you don’t have to get all figgy on me! Add some chopped dates instead but don’t get to heavy handed as they are high in sugar! Use 6-8 pitted dates for a sweeter taste. I loved using a green apple too! Which ever fruit you decide to use it will give the tangy dressing in this recipe that sweet flare. We have used broccoli raab instead and it is a fun variation also! FreeDiet phase 1 use chopped soaked pecans {walnuts or cashews} instead of almonds. Also, phase 1 avoid dates and use either an apple or fresh figs not dried. Please use organic ingredients when you can.

With a Spoonful of Health,

Dawn Rofrano