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I sit at the bottom of the bell curve for bone density. Actually, I’m in the second percentile. I picture 100 women lined up and see myself and a little old lady as the ones with the weakest bones. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis a few years ago after breaking my hip and elbow in the same year.

Since then, I’ve opted to change my diet and lifestyle instead of taking medication. It’s worked! Year by year, my bone density has slowly increased.

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This salad is one that I came up with after learning that dark, leafy greens are an amazing source of calcium. Kale and a few other greens have more calcium per calorie than milk! It’s one that I’ve been making for Matthew recently as his broken wrist heals.

A few notes – despite what you may think, kale is great raw! I like to “massage” the kale and cabbage to help soften them a little. Feel free to play around with the proportions and change them to your liking. Matthew always reminds me to have a heavy hand with the tahini dressing, as the bitter greens can stand up to strong flavors. The dressing was inspired by yet another recent trip to Ecopolitan.

Raw Kale Salad with Pineapple and Tahini
{gluten-free, vegan}

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

1 bunch of curly kale, thinly sliced
1/4 head of purple cabbage, thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 carrots, peeled and shaved into thin slices using a vegetable peeler
1/2 can of pineapple chunks, or fresh pineapple
small handful of sesame seeds
handful of sprouts, as a garnish

1/2 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
4 tablespoons of warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon

In a medium bowl, add the tahini, garlic, water, salt and lemon and whisk very well. Taste and reseason with salt or lemon juice if necessary. You want it to have a bite. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced kale and cabbage. Add two or three big spoonfuls of the dressing and use your hands to massage it into the greens, which will help to tenderize the raw greens.

In the same bowl, add the tomatoes, carrots, pineapple and sesame seeds. Toss very well and add more dressing if needed. Divide salad into four bowls and top with sprouts. Serve immediately.

This salad keeps really well for a day or so once dressed. If you’re going to wait longer than a day to eat it, I recommend keeping the dressing and salad in separate containers.