Why You Should Eat a Salad Every Day

There are so many nutritional benefits from eating a salad prepared with good, quality ingredients that I believe it should be a daily staple in most people’s diets.  The salad has a bad rap of being a meager meal replacement for those who are “dieting” and restricting their calories.  Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.  I am going to show you how to build a huge ass salad chock full of nourishing ingredients that will leave you so satisfied that you will not mistake yourself for being on a diet.

Check out the video of one of my typical salad constructions.  I will go into details on some of the benefits (but not all as I could easily do an entire post on each) of each addition below so skip down there for all of the juicy details.

 

 

I have only two rules for my salad making:

1) Use only real food.  That includes the dressing.  If you are using store bought dressing throw it out as it likely has some combination of sugars, preservatives or other unhealthy crap in it.  Read the label.  If there’s anything you have a hard time pronouncing pitch it. I have only run across one or two store bought brands that I would consider using and it is really simple to make your own from things like apple cider vinegar, olive oil, MCT oil, balsamic vinegar, etc.

2) You must use a liberal amount of greens.  It’s a salad, that means it should contain copious amounts of…well….salad. The extra added stuff is great but if greens aren’t making up the majority of your salad you are missing the point.

That said here’s my list of what went in that salad and some of the nutritional benefits of each addition:

Greens – Low caloric density (few calories for a large amount) and high nutrient density (high amount of nutrients for a small amount). There is a whole host of essential nutrient in most greens such as folate, Vitamins A, C, K, B complex, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  It’s also an alkaline forming food and contains fiber which can help keep you full and aid in digestion. Alkalizing the body is important as most enzymatic, immunologic, and repair functions run optimally under slightly alkaline conditions

Grass Fed Beef – There a lot of good research coming out on the benefits of grass fed meats over their grain fed counterparts.  It’s not only important to watch what we eat, but to also watch what our food eats.  I was shocked when I first learned how much more nutritious grass fed, non hormone treated meats are. They are higher in most nutrients.  They can have 2-6 times more Omega-3 Fatty acids (helpful for inflammation and heart and brain health) and has a better ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s (high amounts of Omega 6s have been linked to cardiovascular, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune disease). Grass fed beef also has 5x more Conjugated Linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to reduce cancer risk and inflammation, reduce insulin resistance, and improve body composition.

Mushrooms – A good source of Vitamin D, which is why I add these in during the winter months when sunlight is lacking.

Broccoli – Eating it raw preserves some of the antioxidants.  Also a good source of vitamin C (as much as an orange), calcium (as much as whole milk and more readily absorbed by the body), and selenium (good anti-cancer and anti-viral properties)

Avocado – Full of monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid which can reduce inflammation and has anti-cancer properties.  It has 20 different vitamins and minerals, including twice the potassium of a banana.  One study I read showed that they can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol).  The fats also help aid in the body’s absorption of the nutrients in these foods.

Salsa – Tomatoes and onions are good source of vitamins C, K and A, and antioxidants. I recommend salsa that contains jalapeno or habenero peppers because of the capsaicin within. Capsaicin can elevate body temp and regulate blood sugar.  It has also been shown to increase brown fat metabolism and to cause apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells.

Sauerkraut – Raw, lacto-fermented foods contain a multitude of gut friendly probiotics and digestive enzymes.  Most store brands have  been pasteurized, which kills the good bacteria, so either find a raw brand or make your own.

Eggs – Find local pasture raised if you can.  Eggs are nutritional powerhouses.  If you think about it, an egg contains all the nutrition necessary to create an entire chicken.  Some highlights: vitamins A, B complex, D, E, K, folate, selenium, protein containing all essential amino acids (amino acids the body cannot produce), choline (used to build cell membranes and signalling in cells of the brain), it raises HDL (good cholesterol), and contains lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants that help eye health)

Apple Cider Vinegar – Too many benefits to list. Can help lower blood sugar, increase satiety, and has an alkalizing effect. Purchase organic and unfiltered. My favorite is Bragg’s.

MCT Oil – Medium chain triglycerides which are essentially a concentrated form of coconut oil.  This is a unique fatty acid that is metabolized directly in the liver for instant energy.  It’s been shown to improve blood sugar regulation, metabolism, and appetite regulation. I’ll typically have a tablespoon of this in my morning tea to give me some extra energy while in the fasted state.  I can make it to noon (or later) and not feel any hunger pangs

So there you have it, a list of what typically finds its way into my daily salad.  I will usually mix things up a little with different raw veggies and meats, but this formula is tried and true for me at least so I will continue to down at least one nutritious and filling, huge ass salad every day.

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