my favorite kale salad + whole30

The best kale salad I've ever made and some thoughts on whole30. | This Brown Kitchen

The best kale salad I've ever made and some thoughts on whole30. | This Brown Kitchen

So if you’ve been following me on Instagram you know that I’m partaking in (modified) whole30 again this January. I adjust the rules for my little vegetarian self and let myself eat lentils and beans throughout the week as a way to make sure I’m getting enough calories and eating hearty meals through the day. I did whole30 last January as well with a couple good friends, and I have to say, this go-around has been so much easier. Here’s why :: while I saw great results from my reset last year, I went into the 30 days with the wrong goals and mindset. Clearly I wanted to see huge results from whole30 my first go-around and went into it with the goal of losing a few of those holiday pounds we all put on because hello cookies!! I also spent the entire month thinking of all the foods I was missing out on and counting down the days until I could eat pizza and ice cream again, checking off each salad and smoothie I ate as something I was just ticking the box on until I got back to my favorite sugar-filled treats. It was miserable.

This go-around has been much different because my mindset is different. I’ve been really thoughtful about the foods I’m eating, listening to when my body is telling me it’s hungry and nourishing it with real foods. I’m not thinking about all the things I’m missing and instead refocusing on how great I feel through the process. I’m not being too hard on myself with all the little details (like I don’t care about the vanilla rule, or the snacking rule, and I accidentally got a chai from the coffee shop the other day only to realize there was honey in it). The one rule that got me from last year was the one that mentions, if you mess up and eat something you shouldn’t, you have to start your 30 days over again. So, if I mess up in life, do I start my whole life over again? No. My mindset this go-around has been all about using these 30 days as a reset but also as a way to find sustainable ways to incorporate small and health-focused  changes into my everyday life even after these 30 days are over. I don’t want it to be – oh I finished whole30 and now I can eat pizza and bagels and ice cream all day errydayyyyy – no. While I love that I can eat those foods every once in a while as a treat, I want to create a sustainable meal process for myself in 2018 that will let me see the effects after 365 days, not just 30. Are you doing whole30 or some other reset this month? What are your thoughts? How do you feel? What are you wanting to accomplish from it?

The best kale salad I've ever made and some thoughts on whole30. | This Brown Kitchen

The best kale salad I've ever made and some thoughts on whole30. | This Brown Kitchen

Aside from whole30 things, I’m finally back in Sacramento after a whopping 50 days back in Texas and it feels really great. I feel like I have a routine and a space that is my very own, and it feels like my little home. I’m even finally getting around to putting up a gallery wall in my living room and adding those few finishing touches that really complete the space. It only took me 6 months lol. This last week I got together with a few of the wonderful people who have welcomed me with open arms into their little community here in town, spent some time over coffee with Shannon who is literally creates the dreamiest floral designs ever, read this book and had a bookclub about this book, and even started clearing out my closet to get ahead of spring cleaning. Also, I’ve been eating A LOT of this salad.

While I’m sure you’ve had a lot of kale salads, you have to try this combo. ALSO. This tip I have is v important. So kale has this kind of bitter taste to it even after you wash and massage it right? Here’s what you do. 

  1. Wash the kale.
  2. Massage the kale.
  3. Chop the kale.
  4. Wash the kale. AGAIN.

That’s right, you wash it twice! First wash it to get rid of any dirt, and then work out all the bitterness with the massage and chopping, and wash it the second time to wash away those bitter juices you just worked out of it. It’s kinda genius and if you already knew about it you should’ve told me sooner! I literally have been keeping a huge bowl of this salad in the fridge all week and then serving up as needed – it lasts about 3 days fully dressed in the fridge because kale is so hearty which is amazing. So here ya go, my first recipe of 2018 :: a salad. Because of course. (:

The best kale salad I've ever made and some thoughts on whole30. | This Brown Kitchen

The best kale salad I've ever made and some thoughts on whole30. | This Brown Kitchen

kale salad and orange lemon dressing

4 servings      time – 10 minutes prep

ingredients ::

for the dressing

juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 orange
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
1 tsp honey
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
pinch of red pepper flakes

for the salad

1 bunch of lacinto kale, prepped and chopped
1 gala apple, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
3 – 4 scoops of cranberries
sliced radishes (optional)


  1. prep the dressing and pour into a resealable container. store for up to 1 week in the fridge.
  2. add all of the salad ingredients into a large salad bowl. toss with desired amount of dressing.
  3. serve. enjoy!