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For the Love of Purple
by Lorene Sauro, RHN



Kale is one of the best leafy green vegetables, considered a star amongst healthy-eaters. It is loaded with nutrients including potent phytonutrients from the Cruciferous vegetable family which includes broccoli, cabbage and bok choy. Studies have shown that two phytonutrients in these foods, the Indole-3-carbinols and the sulforaphanes help prevent heart disease and cancer, can act as anti-inflammatories and helps our bodies slow down the aging process. A recent study of several cruciferous vegetables found that the phytonutrients and fibre in these foods play a role in increasing the function of the healthy gut bacteria. This is yet another study supporting the complex relationship between our good bacteria, phytonutrients and fibre. Purple Kale is an even bigger star, as the purple colouring represents the anthocyanin family of phytonutrients, the same family that gives foods such as blueberries, raspberries and grapes their health power. Enjoy this amazing vegetable while it’s in season. Steam and season it to your taste, add it to soups or stews or eat it in a salad, softened by vinegar or lemon juice and oil. 

Kale Salad

This salad is wonderful for those seeking expansive, cooling foods and will keep you cool in the hot summer weather. It also is rich enough to be eaten any time during the year. Thanks to the yogurt, it meets the criteria of the phytonutrients, fibre and good bacteria to help our gut health. The dressing must be mixed with the kale ahead of time in order to soften the kale. This is good news as this is a salad that does not wilt shortly after being dressed as most lettuce salads do. Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables and is packed with nutrients, but it has a slightly bitter taste. If this isn’t to your liking, spinach can also work in this recipe. 

1 head purple kale, washed
2 celery stalks, chopped
I small red onion, cut into half cirlces
1/2 cup chopped cashews (can be lightly toasted if desired.
2 tbsp parsley
Yogurt dressing – enough to cover the kale

Trim the kale and tear into pieces suitable for a salad. Add the celery, red onion, and parsley. Mix well. Add the tahini dressing and mix. Allow the salad to sit for an hour before eating to soften the kale. Chopped cashews can be added to make it more substantial and for extra grounding. Season to taste

Yogurt Dressing

2 tsp raw honey
1/2 cup full-fat organic yogurt
1-2 tbsp olive oil or rice bran oil*
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp fresh dill
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Mix the olive oil or rice bran oil and tahini together. Add the honey and lemon juice and whisk thoroughly. Add the garlic and dill and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

*Tahini texture can vary depending on which brand you purchase or if you make your own. Adjust the amount of oil and lemon juice to the desired consistency and taste. For more ‘zing’, increase the amount of lemon juice or try this recipe with apple cider vinegar.   


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About the Author

Lorene Sauro, RHN, has been a registered holistic nutritionist and a teacher at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition since 1999 years and a pastry chef for 25 years. Along with her duties as a director of the Canadian Association of Holistic Nutrition Professionals (CAHN-Pro), she co-ordinates various research projects with her fellow CAHN-Pro members including the Holistic Nutrition Pilot Study on Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes, the WOW Weight Loss Study and the Perinatal and Pediatric Holistic Nutrition Study

Lorene conducted the Cooking Without Wheat cooking class series with a fellow holistic nutritionist that specialized in teaching gluten-free baking and cooking for 7 years. Lorene’s professional career as a pastry chef included 11 years as owner of a federally- inspected wholesale bakery selling delicious desserts to gourmet stores and developing products for President’s Choice and Cadbury. Past activities include founding of the Canadian Holistic Nutrition Conference and a 10 year history organizing Feast of Fields, in Ontario, as well as serving as the president of Advocates for Organic Agriculture (now known as Organic Advocates) for seven years which has, and continues, to promote organic agriculture. Lorene’s latest projects are her book A Pastry Queen Goes Green and her website www.pastryqueengoesgreen.com, which combines her holistic nutrition knowledge and professional baking experience. She devotes much of her time to researching foods and flavours from a health perspective to help people maximize their enjoyment of food. She is about to launch a new website www.femaleandfree.com to discuss all things female with a special focus on estrogen dominant physical issues like fibroids and endometriosis. Lorene is also co-chairing an exciting new food event Feast of Flavour, Canada’s Holistic Food Experience.



1. Anthocyanins belong to the flavonoids family of plant compounds. They are among the most potent of all phytonutrients and have gained the attention of scientists worldwide.

2. "If I could only eat one color per day, it would be purple," said James Joseph, a neuroscientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and co-author of "The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health."

3. Ambrosone, C.B. & Tang, L. “Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics” (2009) Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa) 2(4):298-300.

4. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy; Wormwood, Dandelion, Gentian. Execter, U.K.: ESCOP Secretariat Argyle House; 1997.

5. Angeloni, C., Leoncini, E., Malaguti, M., et al. “Modulation of phase II enzymes by sulforaphane: implications for its cardioprotective potential” (2009) J Agric Food Chem. 57(12):5615-22.

6. Bhattacharya, A., Tang, L., Li, Y., et al. “Inhibition of bladder cancer development by allyl isothiocyanate” (2010) Carcinogenesis 31(2):281-6.

7. Bryant, C.S., Kumar, S., Chamala, S., et al. “Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest by protecting RB-E2F-1 complex in epithelial ovarian cancer cells” (2010) Molecular Cancer 9:47.

8. Li, F., Hullar, M., Schwarz, Y., et al. “Human Gut Bacterial Communities Are Altered by Addition of Cruciferous Vegetables to a Controlled Fruit- and Vegetable-Free Diet” (2009) Journal of Nutrition, 139(9):1685-1691.

9. Kahlon, T.S., Chiu, M.C. & Chapman, M.H. “Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage” (2008) Nutr Res. 28(6):351-7.

10. Lakhan, S.E., Kirchgessner, A. & Hofer, M. “Inflammatory mechanisms in ischemic stroke: therapeutic approaches” (2009) Journal of Translational Medicine, 7:97. 





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