Need an Immunity Boost? Try These Ultra-Nourishing Recipes From Candice Kumai

Photo: Candice Kumai

Welcome to Well+Good's (Re)New Year—a five week expert-led program that's all about helping you have your best year yet. For Week Two we've brought on professionally trained chef and best-selling author Candice Kumai to help you reset your clean eating habits. Throughout the week, she'll be sharing three recipes a day to guide you through a no-restrictions, detoxifying cleanse that makes eating (Yes!)

My Japanese heritage has deeply influenced my career in wellness—and, of course, my love of traditional Japanese food. Along with being incredibly delicious, it's filled to the brim with nutrient-dense, antioxidizing benefits.

While matcha is getting its moment in the it-ingredient sun, my ancestors in Japan have been drinking it since the 17th century. It's filled with vitamin C and l-theanine—an amino acid that magically leaves you feeling chill and focused at the same time—and has been shown to boost metabolism, alleviate joint pain, and improve overall mental focus.

Plus, it's a major immunity booster—which is why it's one of the lead ingredients in my day of recipes meant to keep your body in tip-top shape. Post-matcha you'll be filling up on macrobiotic bowls—with sea veggies and fermented, gut-friendly ingredients—and super-healthy ramen that might just be the best you've ever tried. Especially if you're feeling like you're on the verge of getting sick.

So on this final day of clean eating, get inspired by Japan's culture and history—and get your body balanced for the rest of the year! As we say in Japan, "Itadakimasu!" (Translation: Bon appétit!)

Keep reading for Candice Kumai's immunity-boosting Japanese-inspired meal plan.

Photo: Candice Kumai

Day 4 Breakfast: Clean Green Matcha Smoothie

1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
2 cups organic baby spinach
1/2 frozen banana
2 tsp matcha green tea powder
1 cup ice, optional

1. Add ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. 

Photo: Clean Green Eats

Day 4 Lunch: Macrobiotic Hijiki Avocado Salad

For the salad:
1 cup soaked/reconstituted hijiki seaweed, drained
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 15 oz can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
1 ripe avocado, pitted and cut into cubes

For the Dressing:
2 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1. In a medium bowl, soak and reconstitute one-fourth cup, plus one tablespoon, dried hijiki in three-fourths cup water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain all excess liquid.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the liquid aminos or reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Add the reconstituted hijiki, quinoa, and adzuki beans to the dressing, and toss to coat. Top with avocado cubes and serve immediately. 

Photo: Candice Kumai
Photo: Candice Kumai

Day 4 Dinner: Easy Veggie Ramen Noodles

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil or toasted sesame oil
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken stock, if desired
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
2 cups collard or mustard greens, thinly sliced, stems removed
1 package fresh ramen noodles
1 cup savory tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes, optional
1 cup bean sprouts
1 green onion, sliced on the bias, to top
1 radish, thinly sliced, to top, optional
Togarashi spice, for serving, optional
Toasted sesame seeds, optional
Chile oil for serving, optional

1. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until it is soft and translucent, about five minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and two tablespoons of soy sauce and increase the heat to high.

2. Once the soup is simmering, add the greens, cook for one minute, and then add the ramen noodles. Cook the ramen for one minute and then add the tofu, if using. Simmer for another two to three minutes longer. Taste for seasoning, adding more soy sauce if needed. Serve topped with bean sprouts, radish, green onion and a drizzle of toasted sesame and/or chile oil and sesame seeds.

Get all of the meal plans from Candice Kumai's "best cleanse ever", created exclusively for Well+Good's (Re)New Year program.

The (Re)New Year series is not a "New Year, New You" program. (We think you're pretty great as is!) Instead, we tapped the biggest and best influencers across the wellness space to help kick off the New Year in the best possible way. Between heart-racing workouts, DIY beauty recipes, and killer confidence advice, get ready to have your happiest and healthiest year yet.

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