You know the old joke:
Question: What's a honeymoon salad?
Answer: Lettuce alone without any dressing!
Well now, that might be great for a honeymoon salad – but it certainly is not great for a lunch or dinner salad. Salads are only as boring as you make them, because there is such a variety of things that you can put into a salad that gives it a different flavor and different texture each time you make one. The variety is endless!
In my books alone, ‘Eating in the Raw,’ ‘The Raw 50,’ and ‘Easy Sexy Raw,’ I have at least 25 different dressings. They are all healthy and will contribute to your overall well-being.
So let's discuss some of these fabulous things that you can put into a salad, and maybe some of the cook counterparts that you may want to stay away from. For example, when you walk up to a salad bar in any delicatessen, or especially in Whole Foods, there's plenty of things you don't want to eat.
So I, first of all, look for things that don't have any oil in it. Because you know they use the cheapest oil! In fact, Whole Foods uses Canola oil – ugh! My number 1 horrible thing on my “All-Time Bad Things for the Body” list. So I am very careful when eating my salads at Whole Foods – even their mayonnaise has canola oil. How do I know this? Whole Foods is gracious enough to list all their ingredients – you just have to read.
Why do they do this? Why do they use canola oil or other oils that are not cold-pressed? It's cheaper – but my health is worth the extra couple pennies and the expenditure of the discipline that it takes to pass up some good looking salads that I know won't be good for me.
So now, let’s find all the things that don't have oil on them, like kale, baby spinach, mescaline mix greens, Romaine lettuce, arugula – there are 5 different lettuces right there that give a different flavor to each salad that they grace. There are also beets, carrots, string beans, tomatoes, and sprouted mixes that contain things like alfalfa sprouts (be careful because a lot of these are GMO'd. GMO'd products are the second - or maybe they share first place - on my “All-Time Bad Things For the Body” list!)
There are also garlic sprouts and you can sprout chickpeas and lentils as well. These lentils and chickpeas are called legumes. Many people mistakenly think legumes are proteins – they're only proteins if they are sprouted or germinated (soaked in water for 12 hours). They are carbohydrate heavy if they are cooked. That means canned, jarred, or salad buffet offerings are NOT raw.
If you get sprouts in a plastic bag in the produce section, they're already clean. If you get sprouts from the salad buffet, take an extra container to transport them in and rinse them off before you eat them. Even if they are raw, that oil on top, for me, is a no-no!
Because there is so much cooked food at a salad bar and so much rancid oil (yuck - even the word "rancid" makes my toes curl; I can't imagine what it does to my body), many times I make my salads at the bar and take them home.
Why do I do this? I do this because at home I can get a raw egg (what, you never heard of Caesar salad dressing?), I use my own germinated chickpeas which I keep on hand in the fridge, I make lentil salad, carrot salad, and hummus. (I know, it's hard to believe that all these things are cooked in the salad bar – even the hummus! The carrot salad may have some cooked things in it like the oil, but the lentils and chickpeas for sure are cooked.)
If I bring my salad back to my work desk, I bring some things from my home to spruce it up a bit. So, you may ask, how do I eat my lentils and chickpeas raw if they are like marbles when you get them? I germinate them by soaking them for 12 hours in water – see recipes from my books.
And just to give you a little of my science:
Chickpeas and lentils are legumes as we mentioned above. We all think of legumes as proteins – and they are, if they're not cooked. Once you cook them, their molecular structure changes and they become what is known as "carbohydrate heavy." In my third book, ‘Easy Sexy Raw,’ way in the back behind the index, is a section on Carol science – it explains what happens to food when you cook it.
In my book, a raw lentil or chickpea and certain beans can take the place of any meat. Not in flavor you silly! In terms of protein. So if you feel like having a non-meat day, which I do twice a week just to give my body a rest, raw legumes are a great substitute. By the way, vegetables like broccoli have protein in them if they are raw. Bet you didn't know that either! Not many people do. We think of vegetables as carbohydrates, but many of them are just chock-full of protein!
And there's another veggie that I didn't think about that can change the landscape of your salad! Cauliflower, too! I'm sure you can think of a million ways, now that we've started this, to beef up your salad (yes, that pun was intended! Beef – get it? We're talking about salads? Oh sometimes I kill myself with laughter!) All these recipes and more are in my books.
Moving on, in any salad, the main thing for me is the oil. A good, cold-pressed, virgin olive oil is always best – but I mix it with Udos Choice oils. I carry it in a little bottle in my bag - why not? I carry the bag anyway. I'll also carry a great sea salt called Power Organics (powerorganics.com). I use lemon instead of vinegar– I mean the point of going through all the trouble of eating raw is to eat as alkaline as possible. Vinegar is acidic. Even raw apple cider vinegar can be a little more acid than I personally want.
And then there's a whole slew of different seasonings that can change the taste of your dressing: garlic, onion, pepper, cayenne, and raw Parmesan cheese (Romano is raw for example). Just a few ideas to help you change the flavor of the dressings.
Now I admit, sometimes I use a raw egg, and sometimes I actually use my daily 5% cooked food quota and drop in a boiled egg. But I have to say depending on what dressing I use, depending on what lettuce I use, and what different things I put in there, my salads taste different literally every day. Sometimes I even put sesame seeds or sunflower seeds on top. And no, I don't mean the roasted salted kind – again, raw is best.
I would bet you, if you ate one of my salads as you sat down to eat lunch, and then you waited five minutes, you would eat way less of anything else, if anything at all. That includes the fabulous bread which has gluten but you reach for because you're hungry, and your pasta you would order but then be too satisfied to eat! LOL! Yes, my salads are that satisfying – and I'm trying to help you open up a whole new vision. Have I given you Green Envy yet?