I am one of those creatures of habit that can eat a mega bowl of salad for lunch every single day, so I experiment with many different vegetable combinations and dressings. My Longevity Tempeh Salad uses my favorite go to snacks “lemon pepper tempeh cubes”, pumpkin seeds and baked shitaki mushrooms to beef up the protein content in addition to cooked lentils. These vegan friendly ingredients are pretty much staples in my fridge that I can throw on to a salad or pop in my mouth when I get a little peckish. The goal of this salad is to reduce inflammation in the body to avoid some of the most common diseases.

Kale (low carb, low fat)- There is no doubt that this superfood from the cruciferous family is one of the most powerful ingredients in the fight against aging with its powerful phytochemicals that have excellent cancer fighting properties and reduces inflammation. Phytonutrients found in kale aid in DNA cell repair and slows the growth of cancer cells.

Tempeh (med carb, high fat) – Most of the protein in my salad comes from tempeh, which is a fermented soybean product that contains cancer fighting compounds known as isoflavones. The antioxidant properties in tempeh reduces LDL (bad cholesterol), keeps bones dense and strong and helps menopausal women deal with hot flashes and night sweats. It’s no accident that the Japanese, who eat a lot of fermented soy products, have one of the longest lifespans on the planet. Take note, if you have cancer, you should first consult your doctor before including soy products in your diet.

Lentils (high carb, low fat) – These “magic beans” have been touted as one of “the most single most important predictor of a long lifespan”, according to Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org.  Lentils are packed full of protein at a low cost in calories and fat. They’re high in carbohydrates, but the complex kind that don’t wreak havoc on insulin levels. Lentils are also one of the best sources of fiber, folic acid and omega-6 fatty acids that all promote a healthy gut microbiome and slow the aging process.

Pumpkin seeds (high fat, low carb) – seeds and nuts are another way to increase healthy lifespan as well as help with weight loss. Studies have shown that eating five or more servings of nuts per week may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 35 percent. Seeds also may help prevent sudden cardiac death as well as reduce blood cholesterol and inflammation. Pumpkin seeds are great for those of us trying to lose weight or maintain healthy body composition by improving insulin sensitivity. Take care to control the amount of seeds you add to your daily diet. They are also high in fat and if you are trying to lose weight, don’t have more than 1.5 ounces (40g or 2 tablespoons) a day.

Shitaki mushrooms (low fat, low carb)- Promote longevity by adding shitaki mushrooms to your diet to control our blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and destroy cancer cells with this magic ‘shrooms antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Ingredients

60g kale (substitute spinach if kale is too bitter for you), chopped in small bits

1/4 cup sliced cucumbers

1/2 yellow pepper sliced

1/4 cup cooked lentils

80g lemon pepper tempeh

1/4 cup baked shitaki mushrooms (see recipe below) or sliced raw mushrooms

2 tbsp red onions, chopped

1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 red chili pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 avocado sliced

2 tbsp Mexican dressing

Instructions

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Decorate with a few pieces of avocado and evenly dispersed shitaki mushrooms. Drizzle Mexican dressing on top.

 

LOW FAT MEXICAN DRESSING

2 tsp apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s)

2 tsp lime zest

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp tamari sauce or coconut aminos (low sodium option)

2 tsp chili powder

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl or hand blender.

DRESSING NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Calories: 73 calories
Fat: 2 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Protein: 6 grams
Fiber: 4 grams

 

BAKED SHITAKI MUSHROOMS

Ingredients

350g fresh shitaki mushrooms, sliced in large chunks

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp pink himalayan salt

Instructions

Mix all in a bowl and set in oven at 350F degrees for 20 – 30 minutes until shriveled and crunchy.

 

TEMPEH SALAD NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Calories: 498 calories
Fat: 25 grams
Carbs: 39 grams
Protein: 33 grams
Fiber: 14 grams