Google inflammation, and you'll find a veritable minefield of information from causes to symptoms and treatments. In fact, there are a mere 41 million search results for it. Yep, we know how mind-blowing that sounds, especially if you are suffering and just want a straight (preferably short) answer. We recently did a deep dive on the health buzzword to help us understand what inflammation really is (and what happens to our bodies when we combat it). But we also wanted to provide a simple recipe to get us there.
So we tapped Los Angeles–based holistic nutritionist, wellness expert, and celebrity health coach Kelly LeVeque to find out what her go-to meal is for inflammation. The founder of Be Well by Kelly just penned her first book, Body Love, an essential wellness guide with 88 recipes and a simple promise "to free yourself from body drama." Now we know why Jessica Alba, Molly Sims, Chelsea Handler, and Emmy Rossum seek her health counsel. Ahead, LeVeque shares the science behind her Fab Four philosophy, along with two exclusive recipes from the book including an anti-inflammatory detox salad and her popular fab-four smoothie.
The Philosophy: The Fab Four
According to LeVeque, the best way to hit your goals is to balance blood sugar by loading up on what she calls the Fab Four at every meal. That's protein, fat, fiber, and greens. "Fab Four meals turn off hunger hormones, squelch inflammation, and provide the body with the perfect complete meal of essential nutrients," she said. The best part about the Fab Four philosophy is the light structure for eating healthy. Those "eat" or "do not eat" lists don't belong here.
"Simply look at your plate, and ask yourself, do I have all four components?" she explains. "Protein ups collagen, muscle tone, and metabolism; fat benefits hormones, skin, and cellular health, fiber promotes gut microbiome proliferation and detoxification; and greens (or veggies deep in color) provide cancer- and inflammation-fighting phytonutrients. This combination is a fail-safe for my clients to stop fighting not to eat and instead mix their nutrients and easily go four to six hours without thinking of food or snacking on processed foods."
The Answer: The Fab Four Smoothie
We all know how hard it is to quit sugar or cancel out junk food altogether, but LeVeque found a way to make it easier: The Fab Four Smoothie. She designed this formula to help her clients learn how to build a low-sugar meal-replacement smoothie. This is different from the many juice shops, grocery smoothie bars, and smoothie recipes online, which LeVeque warns can be loaded with sugar, specifically fructose sugar from excess fruit, agave, dates, and juice. "When it comes to weight loss and energy, the #fab4smoothie is the key," she expressed. "For some new clients, I spare them the science and simply ask them to start every day with a Fab Four Smoothie, and within the first week, I am getting exciting texts about how their skin is glowing, their energy is high and the scale is down."
So why does it work? According to LeVeque, instead of fruit, this smoothie fills you up with protein, fat, and fiber, which naturally helps to elongate and balance your blood sugar curve. "This combination keeps you from crashing before lunch and sabotaging your healthy-eating efforts," said LeVeque. "When you arrive at your next meal, you can easily make conscious decisions to put the Fab Four on your next plate." If you're looking to kick your chocolate cravings, LeVeque recommends starting your day with a chocolate collagen protein, almond butter, and flaxseed smoothie—be sure to sneak in a handful of spinach (you won't even taste it).
Looking to increase nutrition? Make LeVeque's spa smoothie with vanilla pea protein, avocado, chia cucumber, spinach, and a squeeze of lemon. Not a fan of super-green smoothies? Opt for a small handful of microgreens; they contain up to 14x the nutrition of the full-grown plant. Looking for better gut health? Constipation? You need to keep things moving. Choose MCT oil, which can help kill off candida or flax oil and alleviate constipation. Ready to get started? Whip up one of LeVeque's recipes below.
Anti-Inflammatory Detox Salad
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
4 cups mixed baby spinach and kale
1 or 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
6 to 8 asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup microgreens
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into small cubes
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
In a salad bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
Add the salad ingredients, and toss to coat with the dressing.
Divide the salad between two plates, and serve
Option to top with protein such as four ounces of chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
Mocha Fab Four Smoothie
1 serving mocha protein powder
1 to 2 tbsp. MCT oil
1 to 2 tbsp. chia seeds or flaxseeds
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold-brewed coffee (regular or decaf)
2 to 3 cups unsweetened nut milk
Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend to the desired consistency.
For more of LeVeque's healthy (and tasty) recipes, shop her best-selling book below.
How do you stick to your health goals? Share your favorite smoothie and salad recipes with us in the comments.