Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Super Salads (and a Recipe)

Did you eat your salad today?  Believe it or not, this should be your primary food question every day!  In fact, according to a leading doctor in health and wellness, Dr. Fuhrman, we should all have the slogan "Salad is the MAIN Food" on our refrigerators so we see it every...single...day.

I personally have a problem with that.  My problem is that I don't really LIKE to eat salads.  They are tedious.  They take soooo long to chew... (there's a reason for that, actually).  And if you make it properly, they take too long to prepare.  It boils down to this: I just don't really WANT to eat salad, and especially not everyday! Boooring!

Over Thanksgiving I was channel-surfing and came across a PBS special by Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat To Live.  He was sharing the science behind the type of eating that I encourage on this blog: no processed foods, no sugars and lots of whole foods.  Absolutely fascinating!  (I wished I had the $185 necessary to purchase the full 8 cd-set of his teachings.)  A salad in it's purest form is 100% whole foods and, according to Dr Fuhrman, should be "nutrient dense".  So nutrient dense that even the salad dressing is good enough to eat with a spoon.  In other words, Ranch just isn't going to cut it! 

The dressing is another problem for me with salads.  The dressing itself should be nutrient dense and not full of fats, preservative, sugars and natural flavors.  (All I can say about the "natural flavors" is EW!  Natural but naturally WHAT?  Beaver anal gland anyone??)  I have such a hard time finding a decent salad dressing that I've given up eating salad completely.  Dr. Fuhrman to the rescue!  He shared a salad dressing recipe that I have included for you below.  It's different but a good kind of different.

For me, the idea of eating Raw appeals so much because I don't enjoy eating salads on a regular basis.  Raw foods open up a whole new slew of options for me that are exactly the same nutrient-wise but are easier to chew than a salad and are vastly more interesting.  The Raw Green Smoothies I drink 1-2x a day are equal to a salad-in-a-glass.  Strawberry Swirl Cheezkake...Kale Crisps...Walnut Pate...  There are just so many other ways to get my greens and/or nutrients than the traditional salad.  (In fact I just pulled 2 trays of Kale Crisps from the oven and I've already eaten 1/2 of one tray!  LOVE those and SUPER healthy!  A great salad alternative!  Recipe to come in future blog.)

But back to the salads...I don't mind adding them into my mealplan 1-2 times a week.  Here are some guidelines to live by when it comes to creating a Super Salad:
  • Use a variety of greens.  Arugula and spinach are two nutrient-dense greens.  Stay away from ice burg lettuce...you might as well drink a glass of water and save your jaw the effort.
  • Make your salad nutrient dense...that means having more "add-ins" than greens.
  • Good add-ins: avocados, bell-peppers, tomatoes, nuts, seeds (i.e. sunflower, chia, flax, pumpkin), dried cranberries or cherries, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, etc...
  • Bad add-ins: cheese, croutons, eggs (i.e. Cobb Salad), most dressings, bacon bits
  • The more colorful your salad, the better!
  • Use a dressing that is made with whole foods.
  • Chew each bite approx 45 times.  Less than that and you won't ingest as many nutrients.


Dr. Fuhrman's Orange Cashew Dressing/Dip
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 3 oranges, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews or 1/4 cup raw cashew butter
  • 3 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Blood Orange Vinegar (I found the equivalent at Sprout's)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Instructions:
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and creamy.
Add some orange juice to thin, if necessary.

More recipes can be found at http://www.drfuhrman.com/ .  This dressing does thicken over time (i.e. after about 24 hrs) and makes a great spread for sandwiches.  It doesn't last longer than a week in the fridge so making 1/2 recipe might be recommended.  It makes a lot!  This says it serves 4 but I filled 2 glass jars with this recipe.  Way too much for 4!
So...Did you eat your salad today?  Are you ready to now?  Despite my aversion to salad, I know the health benefits of eating whole, raw foods aer phenomenal and so worth eating.  I hope at the very least you'll add 1-2 more salads into your diet a week and take the next step towards health and wellness.
P.S.  Sorry for the lack of photos in this blog.  I took a whole bunch but can't find them.  Next time!

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