Updated: Jan 22
I am speaking from experience. I used to eat the typical American lunch every day at work. It consisted of a sandwich with a thin piece of meat and a slice of cheese with mayo and mustard between two pieces of highly processed bread—a bag of chips and a highly-processed snack treat loaded with sugar.
I wanted so badly to take a nap. Back then, I thought taking a nap would have solved the problem. But the reason I was tired was that my meal was sugar and carb-heavy that raised my blood sugar like a rocket, but then my energy crashed just as fast. Add all the extra insulin used to move the glucose to cells, leading to a host of other more significant problems.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. You need to check with your medical professional before making any changes to your diet and lifestyle.
In the last episode, I shared what I considered a perfect breakfast. In this episode, I will share what I have for lunch.
Hands down, one of the healthiest foods you can consume is dark leafy greens. The kind of things you put into a salad. How Boring !!! Yes, I eat a salad. It is not just a salad but a big salad. For example, when you go to a dinner party and have a big bowl of salad, most people take a small amount out of guilt that they seldom eat. That is how much salad I eat each day. Important not salad made with iceberg lettuce but with various greens: baby spinach, arugula, radicchio, favorite spring mix, shredded carrots, a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, and best of all, lots of olives. I cover it with a tasty avocado dressing made from only a few ingredients and add a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother) to help my digestion.
Salad has come a long way since I was a kid. Then, we always had a salad made with iceberg lettuce, almost entirely void of any nutrients. It had a few chopped carrots and celery, and the best part, olives. There was only one choice for dressing Good Season Italian dressing. It was the kind where you added a packet of seasoning to the Good Seasons bottle, then filled it with olive oil to a mark on the side and did the same with red wine vinegar. Could you give it a shake, and you were good to go? If you wanted any other dressing, you had to make Thousand Island. We would mix ketchup and mayonnaise to make our version.
The name comes from the Thousand Islands that borders U.S. and Canada. Early in the 20th century, a woman created it for her husband's dinner. She also gave it to George Boldt, the Waldorf Astoria hotel owner who added it to their menu.
It is essential to add fat to absorb all the vitamins and minerals when eating a salad. Studies show that you will absorb more nutrients when combined with healthy fat. Consider skipping the fat-free dressing.
I can hear everyone thinking about the protein. How do you get protein from a salad? The ingredients have some, but you can add your choice of protein to it. Just make it a small part of it try not to overwhelm it.
Since I am plant-based, I sprinkle Hemp Seeds on my salad for protein. You can use whatever you like.
Tip: Eating a big bowl of greens can be messy, so I take a pair of scissors and cut my salad before consuming it. It reduces the size in half and makes it much more manageable.
Having a big salad every day for lunch or dinner will:
Provide fiber to help your cholesterol.
Control your blood sugar.
Aid in weight loss
Improve your immune system
Build strong bones
Great for your eyes
Your heart and skin
Improve your muscle performance. Popeye knew what he was talking about. My best friend when I lived in Connecticut was Brad Sagendorf. His dad, Bud Sagendorf, was the artist that drew the Popeye cartoon strip. I still have one of the original Popeye daily cartoon stip drawing in my possession.
If you want to kick your salad up a notch. Add microgreens to it. You can buy them in the store, but they are costly and start to go bad in a short time since they are only seedlings.
I grow them at home, and so can you. Most microgreens are grown indoors. Microgreens can contain up to 40% of the nutrients as the mature plant. I grow Broccoli Sprouts because they are easy and very affordable. My entire microgreen setup cost less than $100 US.
I purchased five 10x20 extra strength trays with holes and five without holes from the Bootstrap Farmer website.
You place the tray with holes into one that does not have holes.
For example, I fill my top tray with a thin layer of coco coir, ground-up coconut shells. I sprinkle my broccoli sprout seeds over the coco coir and then give it a good watering from above with the sprayer on my kitchen faucet. I then place another tray without holes on top of the one with seeds and let it say in blackout for a couple of days. Once the seeds start to sprout and push up the top tray, remove the tray and place it on a wire shelf and under grow lights. I got both of these on Amazon. I also have a small fan indirectly blowing on the open tray to keep the air moving to inhibit mold formation. At this point, I only water from the bottom by lifting the top tray to add water.
You do not want to overwater; you will see how much you need in a few days. After about ten days, the broccoli sprouts are ready to harvest with a pair of sharp scissors. Be careful. We only cut them as we use them, so they are always fresh.
I bought a five-pound bag of broccoli sprout seeds from True Leaf Market for around $45, and I figure they will keep us in a constant supply for over two years.
In summary: Dark leafy greens are one of the world's healthiest foods. However, I suggest you not start eating a big salad the first day if your digestive system is not used to handling all the fiber. Instead, work your way into it little by little.
If you lack ideas, a quick search on the web will yield many creative salad ideas.
Remember if someone is overweight. In most cases, that is caused by too much insulin in the body. So the extra pounds are only the symptom and not the actual cause. Putting the focus on losing weight is the wrong approach. It would help reduce insulin levels by eating a balanced diet with low, highly processed carbs and sugar.
We hope this helps you on your journey to a Stress Free Life.