It’s only been a week or so since I first brought nopales home, a type of cacti native to Mexico and Central America. It has a long history in native food ways and is still used often in traditional Mexican cooking. It boasts a long list of health benefits that I had known but still had never been inspired to cook with them myself. I’m not sure if it was the slippery like texture or the acidic flavor that put me off. Nonetheless, last week nopales were all around me, from freshly harvested and prepared nopales to a beautiful piece of art featuring nopales by a local muralista. I decided I needed to begin getting to know this indigenous food.
I took out my favorite cookbook, Decolonize Your Diet, to look for all recipes using using the cacti and was drawn to the warrior smoothie because I could use the nopales raw. I really wanted to know how nopales would make me feel and if I could use them in non traditional ways. The recipe was simple enough and so I made it and drank my smoothie on a fairly empty stomach. I swear on all the gods, this food is perfect for my body. I can only describe it as making me feel clean and vibrant from the inside and not like your average green juice. It was an inexplicable feeling, one of lightness.