OK, as promised, this post is about why it is important to incorporate raw, green salads into your life. I am being brave and not typing this damn thing in Word first...just hope I don't spend a freaking hour typing and lose the damned thing to cyber-space...all over font issues. Ugh.
Our first step toward improving diet was the addition of green smoothies. This second step continues to focus on green foods. Why? Because green foods are hands down the most nutritious foods for humans. For instance red beets, turnips, radishes, and parsnips are very good for us but did you know that the greens connected to these underground vegetables contain 50-75% more vitamins, minerals, and enzymes plus have less than half the calories than the root veggies do?? They also contain twice the protein of the root vegetables in the ground. Greens are nutritional powerhouses.
The average American diet contains only 11 grams of fiber. Your average small chimpanzee eats 300 grams of green leaves daily. The largest mammals in the world are primarily vegans. So when people wonder where vegetarians get enough protein, think about where elephants, giraffes, and gorillas obtain their protein. They get it from greens.
Why is raw food important? Because it contains enzymes that are destroyed with cooking. Enzymes help the body with most of its processes including digestion and metabolism. The highest source of enzymes are found in sprouted seeds, nuts, and grains. It is literally the energy that starts life. Eating more enzymes helps promote health and reduces the process of aging. It helps the body repair itself...which we addicts need. Fully cooked food has no enzymes and so the body must then draw on its own reserves. We have only a finite amount. The faster you use them, the faster you die. So aim to eat raw food with every snack and every meal.
I aim to eat 60-80% raw. Sounds hard but it really isn't. I have a green smoothie or raw fruit for breakfast. A big raw salad for lunch and a cooked dinner with a raw salad for dinner.
So how do you keep this salad thing fun and interesting? VARY it!!! I have my basic salad but I top it with something new most days. My basic salad is a few cups of spinach plus romaine. Sometimes I vary the greens with baby mixed greens, some shredded cabbage, arugula, spring greens, boston bibb or red lettuce. I top it with celery, cucumbers, peppers (sweet and hot), tomatoes (my favorite are heirloom), onions, sprouts, olives, a bit of feta cheese, raisins, cranberries, toasted coconut, sliced almonds, toasted pine nuts, mandarin oranges, sliced apples, strawberries, pecans, walnuts, grapes, sunflower seeds, artichoke hearts, avocadoes, hearts of palm, black beans, fresh corn, basil, cilantro, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin seeds, cashews, left over rice or quinoa. There are so many options!!! The idea is to have fun with it.
Drizzle the salad with high quality olive oil or fruit juice. My favorite quick dressing is a sweet and sour mix of the juice of 2 lemons mixed with a TBS of stevia. I also like to "cream" my avocado through my greens and simply top with fresh cracked pepper. I have also been known to just toss Dijon mustard right on top.
A simple dressing is:
1/2- 3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 - 3/4cup red wine vinegar
5-6 TBS Grade B Maple syrup (grade B is less processed and higher in nutrients)
a pinch of sea salt
cracked black pepper
1/4 cup brown or Dijon mustard
1/4 of an onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Process in high powered blender. If made with fresh onion, will last about a week in fridge. Will last longer with powdered herbs.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup raw honey
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Whatever you do, do NOT top with the bottled salad dressing shit found at the grocery store. It contains dangerous things like MSG, genetically modified high fructose corn syrup (no matter what those stupid commercials say this shit is not good for you), rancid, highly refined, also genetically modified oils, and chemical additives and food coloring. If you are pressed for time, just squeeze a lemon or orange over your salad or toss with olive oil & balsamic vinegar or top with a toasted nut oil...I love to simply drizzle a little toasted sesame oil on mine.
Have fun with it and make it habit. If the only 2 things you do to change your diet are adding in green smoothies and adding raw salads to even just one meal...you will watch your body morph, change and heal. It's pretty cool what the body can do when it gets the right fuel.
Love to you. Enjoy.