Any new year means new goals to achieve. Many resolutions scatter and fade like dust in a wind. Top of the list, for many, is to shed the gained weight from the previous year(s). The simplest thing might be to cut the cakes and transition to salad. There are many vices that lurk atop and within a salad. Sometimes the key suspects may not be in the salad but in the salad dressing. Exploring and enjoying salads is an adaptation that is easy to adopt as a lifestyle. There are hundreds of salad types, with or without salad dressing, for any season.
According to the 2018 US News World Report Diet list, the Mediterranean Diet is, again, rated #1. This diet incorporates fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and advises a strict limit of limit unhealthy saturated fats. The most prominent salad dressing and food additive is olive oil. Tied with Mediterranean on the list is the DASH diet. Both are easy to do but, of these the better is the Mediterranean Diet.
The quick way to benefit the Mediterranean lifestyle for weight loss is to reduce breads and limit servings of pasta. Breads and pasta are tasty but were perfect if you were active all day, working the fields and vineyards. In a general sedentary lifestyle, reducing those carbohydrates is helped by eating salads and using olive oil as a primary dressing.
Those top-tier fashion models eat servings of salads and snack yogurt as part of their daily regimen. Bread and pasta might be measured by bites instead of servings. That helps them maintain top-tier status, earning demand from advertisers.
Yet, beyond the Mediterranean, salads are a significant part of a meal.
The main complaint about salads in the United States is that they aren’t filling or they don’t taste like anything. That’s because, in the USA, salads consist of lettuces, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Yes, far less appetizing than a hero from Subway or a Pizza shop. Of course, a hero has about 400 calories in bread and around 80 grams of carbohydrates. dry. Salads don’t necessarily require lettuce and can be very filling, satisfying, and nutritious.
In the Mediterranean region, for example, salads are eaten with fish or chunks of cheese and chunks of meat. They also add mushrooms, onions, peppers, and olives. Those salads are meals. Some add ground herbs and a little salt. The dressing? Olive Oil and (sometimes) vinegar. The royalty of vinegar is Balsamic, made from grapes. There are fundamentally no other salad dressings. A flavored salad dressing from a bottle might be for tourists.
Apart from the fact that Olives are plentiful in the Mediterranean region, olive oil is considered a much healthier fat than butter or other fats. Olive oil has one of the highest level of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of all oils. Olive oil is also a reasonable source of fat-soluble vitamin K and vitamin E, among other micronutrients. A 1 tablespoon serving of olive oil has no cholesterol and:
Total Fat 14 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 10 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Total Carbohydrates 0 g
While a fat source, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are considered extremely healthy by the American Heart Association.
Vinegar has also many supportive but non-scientific substantiated benefits as a partner for olive oil. It contains potassium, which thins mucus; and the acetic acid in it prevents germ growth, which could contribute to nasal congestion. Apple Cider vinegar has been purported to play a role at controlling:
Diabetes. Some preliminary research suggests that consuming vinegar or apple cider vinegar might reduce blood sugar levels after a meal.
Slow digestion (gastroparesis).
Leg cramps and pain.
High blood pressure.
Among the Mediterranean region, the somewhat costlier Balsamic vinegar, with its slightly sweet flavor, lends a romance with olive oil to transform any salad from dull to tasty.
Balsamic vinegar also is purported to help support immunity. The grapes that are used to make balsamic vinegar contain antioxidants that may fight against cell damage, improve the body’s immune system and make blood platelets more flexible.
A tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar add calories as a salad dressing. Olive oil delivers 120 calories (mostly from healthy MUFA and PUFA) per tablespoon. Balsamic Vinegar adds 14 calories per tablespoon, mostly from natural grape carbohydrates. For an entree salad, 3 or 4 tablespoons are recommended. A USA tablespoon is about a 1/2-ounce. Four tablespoons are 2 ounces. Basically, a 1:1 combination (2 tablespoons each) yields about 268 calories. You can reduce calories by using 1 tablespoon olive oil to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, that would subtract about 100 calories to the salad dressing mix. Usually, after mixing salad contents, much of the liquid remains at the bottom of the bowl.
USA supermarket shelves have at least 6 dozen different salad dressings from about 4 manufacturers, not including small gourmet varieties. Some of these dressings seem healthy and appetizing but aren’t as clear and simple as they seem. Are they healthy or just convenient?
Let’s take Newman’s Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette. It sounds great! Healthy organic blend of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Then you read the ingredients:
Organic Vegetable Oil (Organic Soybean Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Organic Balsamic Vinegar, Water, Organic Distilled Vinegar, Organic Cane Sugar, Salt, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Organic Garlic Puree, Organic Spices, Organic Red Bell Pepper*, Organic Onion*, Organic Gum Acacia, Xanthan Gum.
They reveal that Olive Oil is one of many oils and that Balsamic Vinegar is diluted with ordinary distilled vinegar. Now here is the ingredient that is quite confusing. Organic Cane Sugar. In my view, whether it’s processed sugar or raw sugar, it is still sugar. As a principle ingredient, there are no sugar warnings for people on special diets. Why the added sugar?
The answer may be found in the minute amount of actual balsamic vinegar in the Newman dressing mix. True Balsamic Vinegar comes from Modena, Italy. The main ingredient is White Trebbiano grape juice. True balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes, not as wine like other vinegar, but as juice through an aging fermentation process. A tablespoon of balsamic vinegar contains 14 calories and zero grams of fat and protein that create a healthy bond as a tasty salad dressing when mixed with olive oil.
There are about 360 calories in a 4 tablespoon salad dressing of Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette and an undisclosed amount of MUFA/PUFA distribution. There are about 600mg of salt and 2 grams of sugar. While similar nutritionally to Balsamic and Olive oil mix, Newman’s salad dressing is saltier and spicier.
About Salad Toppings
Using a small base of mixed greens, there are a wide variety of toppings that can make your salad healthier, more flavorful, and filling. Here are a few: When using mixed greens as a base, packaged salads are usually better. These packaged salad greens usually go through a thorough washing process to remove any insects and surface pathogens that may be lodged at the base. I prefer not to use them at all. Make your mix using these:
*Vegetables. Asparagus, Beets, Artichoke hearts, Cucumbers, Peppers, Carrots, Broccoli, Edamame, and Legumes (beans)
*Eggs. Hard-boiled, Poached, Soft-boiled.
*Whole Grains. Couscous, Farro, Quinoa, Barley, Rice, Whole grain pasta serving
*Seeds. Pepitas, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds
*Nuts. Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts
*Dried Fruit. Raisins, Cranberries, Chopped figs/dates
+Vegetarian Protein. Tofu, Seitan
*Seafood. Canned (or fresh prepared) Tuna, Salmon, Sardines, Clams, Oysters
*Meat. Cold cuts, Chicken, Beef, Ham
*Cheese. Cheddar, Gouda, Mozzarella, Swiss, Feta, Blue Cheese, Nanchego
*Condiments: Olives, Garlic, Dill, Parsley, Chopped crackers, Croutons
Of course, any additive will add caloric values from carbohydrates or fat to your overall salad mix. Don’t think calories at first. Learn to be filled with salad. In the USA, salad is a learning experience. Food filled salads and hearty salad dressing should help replace snack foods filled with excess carbohydrates.
The general idea is to use salads to provide nutrition, energy, and fullness. Eat salad as much as possible. Beyond recipes I have shown, simplicity could be a 6-ounce can of salmon, a can of beans, some shredded carrots, broccoli, a spoon of grated cheese and edamame. Make an easy salad dressing for flavor and you have a great meal – large enough for snacking it between meals. Salad recipes may be diversified and lettuces aren’t always necessary.
Bottled salad dressing may be a tasty shortcut. Be aware that those flavors may not be what you might think they are. Realize that a balsamic vinaigrette may have very little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A blue cheese dressing may have little or no blue cheese. An Italian salad dressing may have no resemblance to the salad dressing a typical Italian might eat. When you make your own salad dressing, you know what you are getting.
Plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals. They may have been naturally designed for its survival and they may have minute properties that might help remove cholesterol, certain body fats, and regulate over all body balnce at cellular and blood levels. Many fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are not considered nutrients that are essential for life, like carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. Among the benefits of phytonutrients are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. These nutrients have only recently been studied as co-factors that the body needs and dark berries, fruits and vegetables are believed to contain many of these. Phytonutrient index, or PI, refers to the amount of colorful plant pigments and compounds in a food that help prevent disease and promote health. Some of these phytonutrients ma come from different regional soils and environments.
Would cooked fruits, vegetables, and herbs promote or eliminate nutrient or phytonutient properties? Some phytonutrient-rich foods may unleash additional bioactve properties after they have been heated. These include green, leafy vegetables and tomatoes. In salad creation for health, these are healthy options. Cooking some ingredients properly may be healthier.
The US News and World diet report did rate medically-proven ketosis and intermittent-fasting lifestyles at the bottom of their lists. These are radical approaches that virtually eliminate sugars as glucose as glycogen from your diet. The result is that your body uses available body fat. Your liver, brain, and kidneys will create whatever glycogen it needs. You can eat a diet with fat and protein, but almost no sugar. In the USA diet, this takes a great deal of discipline. USA foods highly regard sugars and starches. Going without them is almost as impossible as fighting opioid and nicotine addictions. Maintenance of body ketosis will help you drop body-fat weight rapidly and keep it off.
In considering a Mediterranean diet, Obesity among aging Italians has become a focus of European research as part of an approach to study body weight in the Mediterranean regions. The Mediterranean Diet may not be helping those currently living by the Mediterranean.
Salads are the good thing of the Mediterranean diet lifestyle but, where most people become sedentary consumers instead of active agrarians, this easy diet may not yield tremendous weight reduction results.
Considering all your salad options, keep pasta and grain additions low. Do not eat more than a slice of bread with your salad serving. Use herbs with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for added flavor enhancement.
Weight loss resolutions often die horrible deaths at gyms or at diet centers, if they even realize in the first place.
Winter is a tough time to establish a weight loss regimen with lower levels of light and colder temperatures. The ideas of weight and weight loss may be associated with depressing moods that confound your goals. Because of the multitude of possible salads, following a regimen is easier as you make a transition toward a reasonable goal.
For those of you who are frightened from using lettuce in a salad because of the latest E-Coli association with romaine lettuce, Eat This Not That offers a list of 20 salads you can make easily with health and weight loss in mind. For those seeking an entree-size salad with Mediterranean flare, try this Italian Lentil Salad:
What you need:
1 lb(s) green lentils – canned
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup halved seedless green grapes
1 cup halved seedless red grapes
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ cup coarsely chopped, skinned and toasted hazelnuts
2 tsp lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Heat canned lentils and cook or steam, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and let cool for 5 minutes. Place lentils and remaining salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.
For the salad dressing, I’d recommend this alternative:
Juice 2 fresh lemons
Stir in olive oil (about 1/4-cup)
Add a little salt, pepper, and garlic to taste
This recipe provides 3 satisfying servings filled with protein, fiber, and phytonutrients. Variations might include add-on canned sardines, canned tuna, canned salmon, or no more than 4 ounces of fresh seafood or meat.
There are literally thousands of salad recipes on the Food Network that do not require veganism or vegetarianism. When you kill some of the commercial salad dressing options, you keep control of your tastes. There’s no mystery. Just lots of food to help you target resolve at slowly attaining a weight management resolution.
Adapting a healthy weight management lifestyle means adopting a holistic lifestyle approach you can live with for a long time. Salads are very much whole food eating. Commercial salad dressing is convenient and tasty. Taking time to make your own salad dressing helps brings you at one with your salad for an appreciative lifestyle. Solve the dark mystery of salad dressing.
The clues to the mystery is what you choose to place in your salad and how to add the right condiments. Squeezes of lemon, drops of olive oil and balsamic vinegar are the culinary rewards. You would be Amazed how many salad dressings are available from FOOD NETWORK online.
Eating homemade salads as a major part of your diet is a way to help trigger a lifestyle regimen of weight management and wellness. It may be a resolution you can stick with.