I recommend that clients eat 2-3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables daily. This recommendation comes from my training in the Wahls Protocol®. Read about my experience with the Wahls Protocol® here. The Wahls Protocol® is a diet and lifestyle intervention for autoimmune disease. One of the big takeaways from Dr. Wahls’ ground-breaking nutrition research is that we need to think about and consume vegetables in 3 different categories. Those categories are Leafy Greens, Brightly Colored, and Sulfur-Rich. Most people find eating leafy greens and brightly colored produce easier than including lots of sulfur-rich foods.
Why is the sulfur so important? Sulfur-rich produce has antioxidants of course, but also has sulfur compounds which not only nourish cells and mitochondria (the power plants of your cells) but also are essential for detoxification. In our toxic world, this is of utmost importance. We also need sulfur to utilize protein and make collagen. (Wahls, 2014) I want to be very clear that sulfur is not just needed for those of us managing autoimmune issues. It is VITAL to everyone. We live in an extremely toxic world. Our bodies have a remarkable ability to detoxify, but we need to nutritionally support detoxification pathways as much as possible.
Where is the sulfur in our diet? Can we just take a supplement? Supplements can be helpful, but the synergistic effects of all the macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are where the magic is. Whole foods are going to get your farther. Animal proteins are high in sulfur. Eggs are especially high in sulfur. Legumes, nuts, grains, and seeds also contain sulfur. You may be consuming these foods regularly, but you still need 2-3 cups of sulfur-rich produce. The plant foods high in sulfur are:
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts.
- Alliums like onion, chives, scallions, shallots, and garlic.
- Greens like kale and collard greens.
- Other plant foods like mushrooms, radishes, asparagus, and rutabagas.
How do you get more sulfur-rich food into your daily routine? Some of my recommendations for increasing your sulfur intake:
- Buy broccoli and cauliflower already washed and cut up into florets.
- Buy fresh cauliflower already riced or cut into “crumbles.” Saute with a little fat (I use Nutiva Red Palm Oil) to make cauliflower “rice.”
- Broccoli slaw (this is a bagged item in the produce section)
- Don’t throw away your broccoli stems. Trim away the tough exterior and eat the tender middle cut into sticks (like carrot sticks.)
- Hit the olive bar for roasted garlic or buy already peeled garlic cloves.
- Shred vegetables like cabbage in no time using a food processor and make quick cole slaw.
- Shave brussel sprouts in the food processor and sauté for a quick side or salad.
- Shred brussel sprouts and use them raw to make coleslaw.
- Batch roast veggies for quick meals throughout the week;
- Add pre-sliced mushrooms to soups, salads, and scrambled eggs.
- When you are chopping onion, chop extra and store in the fridge.
- Mashed cauliflower is fantastic. Steam and use a food processor or immersion blender for mash. Season as desired.
- Add crumbled or riced cauliflower in meatloaf, soups, casseroles, etc.
- Riced cauliflower can be used to make pizza crust. (this recipe uses goat cheese which may not work for you)
- Use google and Pinterest for new and interesting recipes.
- Kale chips–make or buy
- Kale powder and dried kale are easy to sprinkle into foods as you cook and no one will ever know the difference.
- Roasted cabbage wedges are a quick and easy way to make a cabbage side.
Small Wonder Food Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 2 cups raw riced cauliflower
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion
- Fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon and it’s zest OR 1 whole preserved lemon plus brine
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (This inactive yeast adds a cheesy, zesty flavor, is very high in B vitamins and contains fiber, zinc, and protein).
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine everything except almonds. Add almonds as a garnish when serving to preserve their crunch. This salad improves with time so making a day or two ahead is a good idea!
Ideas for other additions: cucumber, dried cranberries, seaweed flakes, Gomasio Seasoning, red onion, shredded carrot, fresh basil, etc.