“What kind of lettuce do you put in your salads?” I asked the 20-something  woman behind the counter.  “Let me go check in the kitchen,” she replied.   She confidently had the answer when she returned  “We use the kind that comes in the box with the clear lid from Walmart.”  You just can’t make these things up!  For most of my life, I thought that iceberg lettuce was the only option for a salad.  Since it just didn’t have much taste, I wasn’t that crazy about salads. Now we have so many excellent choices and salad making and eating has become exciting.  Lettuce choose wisely!

As in many areas of life, you have to start with a firm foundation.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends a daily intake of two to three cups of raw vegetables a day.  One-half cup is considered one serving, so it’s something that most of us have to work up to.  In my Metabolic Masters courses, physicians recommend ten to twelve servings of fruit and vegetables every day, with at least two thirds of that being raw vegetables.  As I continue my START SOMEWHERE RESET, I am committed to having a big, colorful salad every day and making it as delicious as possible.

Iceberg has historically been considered “America’s favorite lettuce.”  I used to erroneously think that one leaf on a hamburger was considered a salad.  Now I’m learning that there are fabulously delectable alternatives to salad construction and it can start with mixed greens that have tempting taste and texture.  How do we choose the healthiest base for a delicious and nutrient-dense salad?  Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Iceberg: The lowest in nutritional content (and taste as far as I’m concerned), this lettuce is 96 percent water.
  • Romaine: High in Vitamins A and K, romaine is a crunchy alternative.
  • Spinach:  Loaded with Vitamin A, spinach also contains calcium and iron.
  • Arugula:  Technically considered a cruciferous vegetable (like broccoli, cabbage, and kale), this lettuce is loaded with disease-fighting phytochemicals.  Phytochemicals are believed to inhibit the development of certain cancers.
  • Red Leaf:  This lettuce contains nearly half of the recommended daily doses of Vitamins A and K; it only contains four calories per cup – which means lots of beneficial fiber.  
  • Kale:  This is my new personal favorite!  Along with Vitamins including A and K, kale is absolutely loaded with antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. Since it is a cruciferous vegetable, there are mountains of inspiring research articles showing all the ways that it helps us to LIVE YOUNGER.  I use kitchen shears to cut it into really small pieces, which makes it easier to chew.  

This START SOMEWHERE RESET has helped me to become more creative in salad design. I have learned that the previously discarded celery leaves are a fantastic addition to the salad bowl.  They used to only go into the compost pile or into stewed chicken for flavoring the broth.  One of the incredible professors in my program, Dr. Pamela Smith, gives this recommendation for washing salad vegetables, even those that are organic:

  1. Add one tiny drop of Dawn liquid (because it has the best surfactant) to a large bowl or tub of water.  
  2. As soon as you get home from the grocery store, wash all vegetables and then soak in in this “soapy” water for about 20 minutes.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and store in the refrigerator in glass (if possible).

When we take time to wash everything, it makes salad prep much easier and increases the likelihood of enjoying a big dinner salad. You probably experience the same after work dilemma – overwhelming hunger and decreased mental capacity to make positive food decisions.  With Dr. Smith’s method, everything is ready to eat!  Assembly is easy!  I bought four stackable glass containers for storage; so far, the system is working well.  

The strange thing is that I’m actually starting to crave salads!  Part of that is getting rid of the iceberg and finding yummy options. “Lettuce choose wisely” sounds like a fun pun, but hopefully it will inspire you, too, along your own personal START SOMEWHERE journey.  Small changes yield big results.  Thanks for stopping by.

Lettuce Choose Wisely

Lettuce Choose Wisely