We will work on the premise in this discussion that persons looking for healthy salads will also be interested in good health and well being. It was way back in 1826 that it was written ‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.
Good Health and Longevity
Certainly they were on the right track there but that is not the whole story. What we eat is only part of the story that leads us to good health. Our over all lifestyle is going to dictate the terms of our good health or otherwise. If one leads a sedentary lifestyle and drinks excessive alcohol and caffeine then eating healthy salads isn’t going to help much. It will be overshadowed by the effects of the rest of the lifestyle. Eating to live, not the other way around, plus adequate physical exercise are two important contributors to good health and longevity.
We live in a world where millions of people are on the move desperately trying to find food to feed themselves and their children. These people are simply attempting to stay alive. With this in mind surely it is time for us fortunate to be born in the lucky country to view food as a precious commodity.
It was back in the sixties when it became very fashionable and ’hip’ to adopt macrobiotic eating. However even one of the leading advocates of this lifestyle, eventually died of cancer. It occurs to me that if we are seeking good health and longevity then our approach need not be anything extreme. The most logical thing to do would be to make a study of those individuals who have achieved longevity and a quality of life along the way. You would discover that eating healthily was part of their lifestyle because in most instances there was not the money to do otherwise. Plain basic food was the staple diet. Often such things as watercress which we pay handsomely for to include in our salads nowadays was foraged for by the children sent out to find greens for the dinner by mum.
Salads don’t have to be pretentious in any form to be healthy and neither do they need to be expensive. Start the salad with a green base for the important folate. Does anyone grow watercress near your place? If not let’s plant some greens in a pot or garden and have them on hand for salads.
Adding protein to salads not only delivers a nutritious salad but can also be an economical meal suitable to eat as healthy dinners in the summer months. For example inexpensive chick peas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads. Chick peas are a great idea for salads. They are so easy on the purse but they are full of goodness. They are an edible legume very high in protein. During the first world war they were ground and brewed as a coffee substitute. Chick peas as well as being full of protein are a source of zinc, folate, dietary fibre and carbohydrates. They are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated – the good fat.
Dried chickpeas need a long cooking time (1–2 hours)! If soaked for 12–24 hours before use, cooking time can be shortened by around 30 minutes. For the purists this is probably the way to go. For my mind canned chick peas at about one dollar per can does me.They are generally preserved with salt in the can so I always give them a good rinse before using. After tossing in chick peas with your greens, then look in the fridge for anything else that you might fancy with this. Hopefully you have a lemon tree in your garden because after the salad is prepared squeeze lemon juice over it for extra taste. Lemon trees are so useful and decorative. Even if the only available space is your front garden then a lemon tree is a sensible and attractive centerpiece. They will also grow well in large pots for any apartment dwellers.
A return to basic foods will serve our health well. It also allows for less time spent in the kitchen and more time with the family. Maybe even engaging in some form of physical activity together. A good part of the problem with poor health is our sedentary lifestyles today. Nothing complicated here so let’s get started