Salads to Save Your Back: Recipes and Dressings to Reduce Inflammation

Here are some simple and inexpensive salads and dressing recipes that are anti-inflammatory and when you make eating these a regular habit, you will notice your inflammation decrease as well as your back pain. These salads contain no animal products or gluten ingredients. Gluten is an inflammatory agent that most people are intolerant to, to a certain degree. The symptoms may be dormant or silent for a long time but back pain can be caused by gluten because when the intestines swell, they will push on the back. Foods associated with inflammation are generally man-made creations which are not plants. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and seeds have amazing anti-inflammatory properties as well as certain herbs, roots, and spices. These recipes are general guidelines and you can use your discretion as to how much of each item to put in your salad. Remember that adding a lot of fiber into your system, if you have a low fiber diet, can cause indigestion as your body adjusts to the fiber intake. Eventually, the salads, nuts, and beans will be easier for your body to digest. Please consult with your doctor before making drastic diet changes if you have any medical conditions.

Kale Salad: Black Tuscan Kale (remove the center spine and slice thin) with sunflower seeds, cashews, cubed organic apple, organic chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, red quinoa and cooked beets. For simple dressing use organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil with agave, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper.

Spinach Salad: Organic black beans, organic spinach, chopped organic tomatoes, avocado, slivered almonds and simple dressing.

Arugula Salad: Organic arugula, organic blueberries, sliced organic celery, alfalfa sprouts, organic sprouted firm tofu, nutritional yeast, and cashews. For a spicy ginger dressing combine organic grapeseed oil, cayenne, ginger powder, agave, sea salt, lemon, black pepper, and garlic in a blender.

Butterleaf Lettuce Salad: Organic butterleaf lettuce, peanuts, cucumbers, halved grapes, sliced peppers, pumpkin seeds, and simple dressing.

Cooked Beet Salad: Quinoa, beets, almonds, arugula, alfalfa sprouts, sliced kale, asparagus, and avocado with simple dressing.

Cucumber Salad: Cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, sliced celery, firm organic sprouted tofu, organic cold pressed olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Super Protein Salad: Sliced kale, organic hummus, slivered almonds, cubed organic apples, avodado,hemp seeds, and simple dressing.

Fruit Salad: Organic banana, mango, pineapple, organic blackberries, sliced almonds, lemon juice, agave, sprinkled with ginger and cinnamon.

Cold Pasta Salad: Quinoa pasta, cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil, organic cherry tomatoes, sliced basil, sprinkled oregano, thyme, and sea salt.

Seaweed Salad: Wakame, Tahini, Sesame seeds, and cashews.

To keep your salads from being too expensive, anything that has a cover you generally do not have to buy organic because most of the pesticides are removed when the cover is removed. However I always buy organic berries, lettuces, tomatoes. Conventional avocados, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, I tend to buy conventional if I am on a budget. This is called the ‘Clean 15 and dirty dozen’ rule which makes eating healthy affordable and intelligent. As you transition to a more whole food organic plant based diet, try to get a lot of raw (uncooked) plants as they have the most nutrients available and will have the greatest impact on your body. For more information about raw foods visit raw food expert Ani Phyo’s site

Shannon Yrizarry

Shannon Yrizarry is a health and wellness professional who was healed from chronic back pain in 2003 after studying the mind-body connection. She went on to study the physical and mental benefits of yoga and now teaches classes and workshops in Southern California. She has also worked as an organic health consultant and writes about how to eat a clean whole foods diet incorporating gluten-free, raw, and dairy free options.