I Ate A Salad Every Day For A Month
Recently, I noticed at Whole Foods that they sold 16 oz of organic salad greens for the same price ($5) as the standard 5 oz size of boxed organic salad greens you can find at most grocery stores. Loving a great deal and to eat healthy on a budget, I eagerly added it to my cart.
At the start of the week, I made a decent dent into them but later got so busy with work and errands that I barely had time to cook. I felt disappointed once the weekend came to find that I had let those sweet greens go bad. Actually, I always feel bad when I let food go to waste, especially high-quality organic produce. So I was determined to try again, and see if I can make it through the entire box without letting any go to waste. Which gave me an even further challenge, what if I ate a salad every day for an entire month?
What I Noticed
First things first, the obvious. Everything became happy and healthy in the bathroom department. If you rarely suffer from digestive issues, you are lucky! For more than I year, I was having issues with infrequent stomach aches, bloating and other nasties I will spare you the details on. I worked with doctors to get blood work that came back in normal ranges, even trying to remove gluten from my diet despite testing negative for Celiac disease.
After a week into my experiment, I noticed incredible consistent regularity, something people who have never dealt with digestive issues may take for granted. Not only is fiber key for a healthy digestive tract, but it also helps lower the burden on the liver.
Our early ancestors historically ate a diet only twenty- percent (20%) meat from hunts, and eighty-percent (80%) foraged foods of grasses, fruits, vegetables, eggs, mushrooms and more.
I often hear people in the low-carb, ketogenic circles that humans only need to eat fat and protein. The carnivore diet is an example of this belief. Our early ancestors historically ate a diet only twenty- percent (20%) meat from hunts, and eighty-percent (80%) foraged foods of grasses, fruits, vegetables, eggs, mushrooms and more. This would count for not all, but the majority of us. The carnivore diet would only be ideal for those living in cold climates like the Inuits and Eskimos. Remember, there is no universal diet.
Just like the opposite spectrum of the vegetarian advocating that our long, digestive system “proves” we are vegetarians, I think it does prove we are omnivores. While I understand the many political, ethical, environmental or religious reasons why people choose to be vegetarians; but our bodies would benefit from high-quality animal protein a few times a month.
And benefit with a salad every day!
Try to avoid salad dressings with canola oil and soybean oil, popular in typical grocery store dressings. These cheap kinds of plant oils are highly refined and can cause inflammation in the body, the pre-cursors to most diet-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and joint pain. Check the food label and try to find ones made with olive oil, or organic canola at the very least.
Tip! You can easily make a salad dressing with 3 basic ingredients: an oil, an acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) and a bit of sweetener (honey or a tiny bit of sugar). Simply whisk them all together with a fork with some salt & pepper and voila! Impress your friends with a quick fresh dressing, and of course you can experiment and elevate this simple recipe with various spices and seasonings.
I also began to feel just a general sense of well-being. My mood was more stable throughout the day, as well as my energy levels. Friends and colleagues pointed out that my skin had more glow to it. I generally just “felt great.”
I rarely became bored with this experiment, as there are so many different styles and additions one can add. Hey, all I needed it to be was a bed of lettuce. While a spring mix with tomatoes, radish and cucumber were easy go-to, I especially love a salad with apple, goat cheese, beets, walnuts.
Tip! Add salad dressing to the bottom of the bowl first, then the greens on top. Gently tossing and turning the greens will dress them perfectly, and reduces of risk of a soggy salad.
My only pitfalls were sometimes forgetting to eat until later in the day. I admit there were a few days that I snacked on a salad before bedtime because I didn’t want to miss my quota. That perhaps was my only hinderance, so I recommend starting the day off with a nice salad, perhaps with some eggs or a nice delicious piece of avocado toast.
An average salad is 2-3 servings of vegetables, and the average American do not meet their minimum daily recommended intake of fruit & vegetables. Imagine how great you could feel starting your day already with a headstart?
At the end of the one month experiment, I naturally began to vary my diet and relaxed a bit. My digestive issues stayed at bay unless I went a little crazy with drinking cocktails or eating fried foods. (I actually like to eat healthy food as much as the fun less-healthy foods). It didn’t take long though for me to miss the energy, focus and overall sense of wellbeing I felt from the regular intake of fresh raw vegetables. While there was not a HUGE change, it was noticeable. I found myself reaching again for coffee in the afternoon where before I rarely experienced a drop in energy.
I may not reach my daily quota nowadays, but overall I prefer to keep up the habit because I love how it makes me feel. It is recommended to get at least 5-7 servings of vegetables EVERY DAY, some cooked but mostly raw.
This will be a habit I will keep!
Why not try the experiment for a month? Let us know in the comments below how it made you feel.
For the love of food & all that’s good