I love making them, I love looking at them, I love eating them, and I love sharing them.
If you’re rolling your eyes and groaning by now, then this article is definitely for you!
What I realized the other night while creating one of my salad feasts, was that a lot of people (perhaps you included), don’t like salads, and maybe even hate them.
You might find them boring, dry, label them as “diet food”, unsatisfying, not real food, only for bird eaters, whatever!
I have talked to many friends and clients that have just flatly said, “You know, salads are just not that satisfying!”
And you know what? I hear you on this.
A sorry bowl of iceberg lettuce with some gross chemical-tasting, low fat dressing and maybe some cardboard tomatoes would send me running for a bacon double cheeseburger and Chunky Monkey ice cream too!
So, this is where I introduce you to the salad paradigm shift.
It’s time to get excited about salads!
It is time to meet the sumptuously satisfying world of salad feasting.
First, I want to share that I too was never all that impressed or excited about salads. Growing up, we would sometimes have small side salads with dinner. Just a few pretty fresh greens with a couple of cucumber slices and a dash of red bell pepper. Not bad, but not super exciting.
In my days of dieting, salads always seemed like a “safe” thing to eat.
But it wasn’t until I finally healed my relationship with food and my body, and began seeing food as a way to nourish my best life (instead of a way to numb out the pain), that I finally started to get really excited about the abundance of vibrant, colorful, flavorful endless variety of vegetables available.
If you have ever been seeking weight loss, glowing skin, lighter body and mind, more energy, greater vitality, etc, you have most likely entered the wild world of eating salads. It’s even possible that your heart sunk at the idea of being relegated to plain old, unexciting, bowls of dry lettuce with maybe some cucumber slices or those fantastic cardboard tomatoes.
Bring on the double cheeseburgers please!
Here is the magic secret I discovered about salads:
They are an opportunity to let your creative juices flow and to take your senses for a joy ride!
Salads are the perfect opportunity to play with color, texture, flavor, and high-voltage nutrition when you let yourself think outside the box.
Here is my 5 step system to creating satisfying, exciting and body beautifying salads.
Step one: Get a big beautiful bowl.
Don’t hold yourself back by limiting it to small salad bowl. Get out your favorite large bowl. Preferably something pretty and handmade like ceramic or simple wood or bamboo. If you don’t have anything like this, treat yourself to something nice, so that you’ll be especially motivated to create your work of edible art.
Step Two: Collect your Materials
Okay, so this step may or may not require some pre-planning depending on your shopping habits. If you tend to keep a fairly regular stock of colorful fresh veggies on hand, start rooting in the fridge. Pull out anything that catches your eye and look for textures, colors and flavors that appeal, even if it doesn’t seem like traditional salad fare.
If you tend to keep a “bachelor’s fridge” (read: empty), or one bare of anything fresh, it’s time to start a new supportive habit called planning. Schedule in a run to the farmer’s market or natural foods store at least one time per week to stock up on fresh goodies. See my article on keeping your produce fresh.
If time is tight, I highly recommend joining a CSA (community supported agriculture), they are pretty much everywhere these days. Check out http://localharvest.org
* Tip: Step out of your comfort zone in this step and use at least one ingredient you normally would NOT put in a salad. You might just surprise yourself!
Step Three: Creation – Get Inspired!
To make things easier, we are going to take a step back to the whole planning thing. You can have some veggies pre-prepped and ready to go by prepping more than you need at any given time.
Wash and dry greens, wash and grate beets, carrots or jicama, pre-cut broccoli and fennel, etc. Some pre-cut veggies (like celery, bell pepper, radishes) are best stored in filtered water.
I personally don’t find it too time consuming to chop a lot of the extras on the spot, but see what fits your schedule.
As you chop (and you can use a food processor with slicing or grating attachments for super speed), try cutting things in different sizes and shapes. You can grate your carrots, sliver your zucchini, slice your sugar snap peas, chop your tomatoes, tear your basil and dice your celery.
Make a mandala, layer your veggies, put them in separate piles in your bowl, or just mix them all together. This is your work of art, don’t hold back!
* Tip: If you feel stuck on what add to your creations, see my comprehensive list below.
Step Four: Dress it
Here is where I find a lot of people get hung up on the idea that store bought dressing is somehow easier than homemade. Yet another paradigm to shatter and shift.
Most of the time you can get a ton of satisfying flavor from using more “unusual” vegetables and just using extra virgin olive or flax oil, a squeeze of lemon and dash of good quality Celtic or Pink salt.
If you want to take it a step further, add some chopped garlic, ginger, fresh herbs, spices. Use your imagination, but still keep it simple.
Add a touch of stevia or xylitol if you like it a little sweetness.
If you mix up enough for a week or so, you have “fast food” dressing ready to go.
* Tip: When you use high-quality items to dress your salads, you don’t have to worry about grams of fat or calories. Use enough to coat, but not saturate your veggies.
Step Five: Savor and Enjoy!
Now that you have made your salad feast, take the time to really enjoy it. Sit down, take a few deep breaths, take in the aroma, take in the visual beauty and relax. Using a fork or chop sticks begin to enjoy this masterpiece one bite at a time, chewing well. Because chewing releases enzymes necessary to digest your food, you will find greater satisfaction, nutrient absorption and even enhanced sweetness when you really take the time.
* Tip: To make sure to get the most from your salad creation, eat it first before anything else you might be including in your meal. This ensures that you won’t be too full to enjoy its bounty.
My list of favorite salad ingredients (I would love to hear about any of your own!)
You can really eat just about any veggie in the nude (aka raw)
All of these veggies can be eaten raw deliciously!
Fennel (bulb and fronds)
Red or green cabbage
Red or green leaf lettuce
Sugar snap peas
Mizuna (yummy exotic Asian green)
Mustard greens (a little goes a long way)
Dandelion greens (in small amounts)
Please leave a comment below and let me know how it goes with your salad feasting!
Ready to ditch restrictive diets and breakthrough your barriers to finally letting go of excess weight, doubling your energy and healing your relationship to your body?
Schedule your F.REE Slim & Stress-free Breakthrough phone session ($147 value) today!