Monday, September 21, 2009

Pineapple, Red Pepper, Jalapeño, and Basil Salad Recipe

I have done a lot of dancing in my life. I began studying ballet when I was six, danced seriously through high-school, continued, though not as rigorously, in college, and for the last eighteen years I have been traumatizing my body in various ways by performing, teaching, and staging the works of Merce Cunningham. Ok, it hasn’t always been painful, but age, and the ferocity with which I approach my profession (both physically and mentally) have taken a toll.

Lately, my back has been bothering me so much that even bending to shave my legs in the shower has been painful. I was worried I’d soon end up like old cats who develop hair mats when they can no longer groom their haunches, and, unwilling to accept this unattractive fate, quickly called the doctor. An x-ray revealed a severe lessening of space between the L-5 and L-4 vertebrae (in my lumbar spine), and likely arthritis. I did a little research, and read that ginger is very effective in decreasing the inflammation associated with arthritis, and saw the same thing about vitamin C-rich pineapple, which also contains a mixture of enzymes called bromelain, which is known to relieve the swelling associated with several other conditions, too.

Dancer or not, it can’t hurt to add these anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. They will help relieve pain, and may also reduce the risk of some cancers. My acupuncturist prescribed the ayurvedic anti-inflammatory herb boswellia, and I’ve been eating about a tablespoon of raw ginger every morning after breakfast. I went to a yoga class specifically geared for back care, and between these natural remedies and the following pineapple salad, I am in much less pain, and my legs are, again, as smooth as silk.

Pineapple, Red Pepper, Jalapeño, and Basil Salad Recipe

adapted from Savoury Pineapple Salad from World Food Cafe by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott

One pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
One red pepper, seeded, and cut into strips
One jalapeño, chopped into small pieces
A handful of basil leaves, torn into pieces (I used purple basil this time)

Combine everything, and serve chilled.

Similar recipes from A Hungry Bear Won't Dance:
Quinoa Salad Recipe, Green Beans with Mushrooms Recipe (Sem Aur Khumbi), Gingered Tofu and Seaweed Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Sesame Seeds Recipe


Chris Ogan said...

Sounds yummy--like a Thai salad. Do you think the ginger is helping? Sounds like a great idea.
Love, Mom

Marie-Christine said...

I love ginger!
About the back, that is exactly what a mri showed me in 2001, degeneration of the disc between both vertebra (it is the weakest spot in the back). My back is much better today then it was back then. My whole style of dance evolved and one of my major principles is never "sit in the spine". Anyway, I am going to go to the food coop tomorrow and buy the delicious products for the salad!!


Fritz Bogott said...

Yay! I'm glad you're feeling (at least somewhat) better!

From an Edna Lewis book I learned to sauce beets with strong ginger syrup (cook your regular sweet-and-sour syrup with lots of diced ginger and then strain before using.) It's a good way to sneak an assertive level of spice into soul food.

Banu said...

Hope you liked it, MC; please let me know how it turned out. Sounds interesting, Fritz. I'll try it. Thanks!