When people want to lose weight or be healthier, they often start eating salad. That’s great, but even an innocent salad can be less healthy than you’d think. Here’s how to optimize it.
1. Upgrade Your Lettuce
I was recently at Trader Joe’s and checked out a bag of washed spinach I was thinking of buying. It said it was packed two weeks earlier in Mexico, and would not expire for another week.
When your greens have moved thousands of miles and have been picked two weeks ago, they are expired. The nutrients have mostly all been lost by now.
Solution: In you live somewhere sunny, or it’s summer, it will be easier for you to get fresh greens. Grow your own, go to a farmer’s market, or join a community shared agriculture project.
In winter months, look for salad greens from as close as possible. In winter, you also want to eat more root vegetables and cooked and stewed foods, in accordance with the season.
2. Upgrade Your Dressing
Man, salad dressing is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even if it’s organic, even if it’s got a sweet picture of Paul Newman on the bottle, it’s probably not healthy at all.
Most salad dressing is made with canola oil, a processed, inflammatory, omega 6-laden, free-radical dense oil. Don’t be fooled when it’s say it’s ‘expeller-pressed.’ It’s no better.
Some salad dressing have flavor enhancers in the MSG family, and some have hydrogenated oils, the bastard cousins of canola oil.
Solution: It’s quite easy to dress your own salad in extra virgin olive oil or flax oil, coupled with coconut vinegar, lemon, apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. You can get fancy and make your own salad dressing concoctions with dried herbs, or with coconut cream or avocado. I often just squeeze a whole avocado out if it’s shell and onto my salad.
The only salad dressing I’ve seen as yet that seems okay is by Bragg’s brand. It has simple ingredients and is made with olive oil. If you know of others, please share on the blog.
3. Upgrade Your Toppings
Rather than just some sad tomato slices, get some real nutrition going on that salad with delicious and filling toppings.
Superfoods: Fermented vegetables and sprouts have super powers beyond their basic raw seed and veggie forms. Get your friendly bacteria and phytonutrients. Gomasio is a Japanese style blend of sesame seed, sea salt and kelp powder that contains enough iodine to give your thyroid its daily dose.
Proteins: Slice an pastured hard-boiled egg or some leftover pastured beef on that salad for high protein plus beneficial fats and fat soluble vitamins.
Super veggies: How ‘bout tossing some roasted beets on that salad for a nice texture, a rich taste and serious blood building and liver cleansing.
Nuts: Your soaked and dried nuts can add some nice crutch plus trace minerals and B vitamins.
Share your salad suggestions below!
A salad can be a deeply nutritious meal when you do it up right. Enjoy!