Do you cringe when you think of eating a salad for lunch? When you see a salad, does your brain automatically feel like you are on a diet? I know when I am eating salad at work, people automatically ask me if I am dieting. I tell them no, I simply live a healthy lifestyle. Eating salad for lunch is one way to make sure I am eating something green and getting a daily intake of veggies or fruit.
Salads are a great way to get so many healthy ingredients in a single meal. I use beans, fruit, sweet potatoes, seeds, nuts, avocado and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, I even put in organic chicken or steak or wild caught tuna.
The salads I make are definitely not boring. When people at work look at my salads, they are impressed. The other thing I love about salads for lunch or dinner is you can make all the ingredients ahead of time and then simply throw it all together! Put the dressing on just before you are about to eat to keep all of the ingredients crisp.
I like to eat my salads at room temperature. That might seem a little strange but I feel eating salad at room temperature increases the flavor of the ingredients. Also, I rarely use salad dressing. If I do, I make my own because store bought dressings contain a lot of sugar and typically have ingredients like gluten. No one needs excess sugar or gluten. If I need a sugar fix, I'd rather have a cookie!
Eating vegetables raw can cause negative digestive issues. Issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. But this doesn't mean you have to stay away from salads. You may just have to rethink what salads look like for you.
The first step is to figure out what specific ingredient is causing your body to react. Is it the lettuce? One clear sign is if you have to poop right after eating a meal where lettuce was served and leaves are part of your bowel movement. Your body is telling you to stop eating lettuce, for now.
The formal definition of salad is: a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients. (Source: Lexico) There is not a specific ingredient listed nor does lettuce have to be the key ingredient!
Three ways to figure out if foods you are eating are causing you digestive issues are:
Take a Food Sensitivity Test. There are two companies that supply at-home tests. Everly Well and The Great Plains Laboratory. When dealing with a food sensitivity, it can be hard to figure out which food is causing the issue. Sometimes it takes 2 days before a symptom such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation will occur. Testing can provide firm answers of what foods to stay away from, which takes out the guess work.
Try the Elimination Diet. The elimination diet is just like it sounds. Stop eating foods that are commonly associated with sensitivities to reset the body. Then slowly reintroduce the foods and see how you feel.
Work with a Certified Holistic Nutritionist. Certified Holistic Nutritionists are trained to focus on not only the physical body but also our entire lifestyle to figure out what is causing the unwelcome symptoms or feelings. Symptoms are often the result of a combination of activities in our lives. Getting to the root cause of the symptom is key to eliminating and healing the body. Not sure where to start?
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering so you can get back to living.
Do you want to?
👍Avoid getting colds and flu
👍Increase your energy
👍Boost mental clarity
👍Lose weight and keep it off
👍Stop bloating and excess gas
👍Eliminate constipation and/or diarrhea
👍Feel less stressed
I can help! I offer a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and how the Simply Great Health program can help.
It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing.
Eating foods that make you feel good and promote good health does wonders for your body and your life. Salads do not have to be the enemy! There are a lot of ways to make them with healthy ingredients and specific cooking methods that don't cause unwanted symptoms.
Below are salad recipes to try. I've also included several dressings that can be easily made at home.
The Ultimate Fall Salad from Making Thyme for Health. Fall is almost here so why not celebrate with a rich salad that contains all the goodness of fall. Using kale, brussels sprouts, red cabbage and pomegranates this salad uses fresh in-season fall veggies and fruit.
One quick tip to make the ingredients easier on digestion is to steam the kale, brussels and red cabbage. Cooking them slightly helps the digestive tract process them easier. If you have more severe digestion issues, then cook the ingredients fully and toss them with the dressing included with this recipe. When the vegetables are warm, they soak up the dressing making them more flavorful.
The recipe also has a dressing recipe using apple cider vinegar.If you feel you need more substance to the salad, chickpeas or grilled chicken would be perfect! Click here for the recipe.
Apple Pecan Arugula Salad from Minimalist Baker. It is apple season! I had some wonderful organic Honeycrisp apples with lunch this week. Putting fruit in a salad can help satisfy a sweet tooth and keep sweet cravings at bay.
Natural sugars are much better for us because the body can process sugars found in whole fruits a lot more efficiently compared to fruit juice or processed sweets. Plus, apples are a low glycemic fruit which means it will not spike blood sugar.
If you have digestive issues, raw apples can be hard to digest. My tip is to chop the apples with the skin on, put them in a pan with coconut oil (or just water if you are oil free) and saute for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Doing so will make the apples easier to digest and still provide a nice texture on the salad.
This recipe contains a dressing recipe using maple syrup. I would forego the dressing given there will be sweetness from the apples. Click here for the recipe.
Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad from Natasha's Kitchen. This salad uses pears, pecans, cranberries and chicken to satisfy the meat-lovers in your life. The dressing recipe included is a basic balsamic vinaigrette giving a sweet and sour combination. Click here for the recipe.
Roasted Vegetable Salad from The Organic Kitchen. I am really into roasting veggies and putting them into a salad. The roasted veggies give different texture and flavor combinations when combined with traditional salad ingredients like cucumbers, tomatoes and celery. This recipe uses fall vegetables butternut squash, carrots, asparagus and parsnips.
Root vegetables, such as parsnips, are great for the digestive system because they provide fiber. Fiber is important for balancing blood sugar levels, improving digestion and reducing constipation, lowering cholesterol and making you feel fuller longer. (Source: Culinary Nutrition)
Also, if cucumbers are tough on your digestive tract, cook them for 3 to 5 minutes. That's right! Cook them. Peel them, take the seeds out and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. You don't need to add any liquid since they are full of water. Sauteing cucumbers brings out their sweetness and makes them easier to digest.
If one of those veggies aren't for you or not in season, you can substitute eggplant, sweet potatoes and red onions. Click here for the recipe.
Autumn Steak Salad with Kale from Everyday Maven. Who doesn't love a great steak salad? Especially when it is paired with kale. I try to eat something green everyday. That is why salads are a perfect way to achieve my goal!
Kale, arugula or romaine, the basic salad greens can really help support a healthy lifestyle. Green foods contain chlorophyll which is full of vitamins and antioxidants. This salad is so simple, it is an easy weeknight dinner option. Click here for the recipe.
While some of the recipes provided a dressing, I like using a few of the below. They are easy to make and stay fresh for at least a week in the refrigerator. The dressings below are vegan since dairy and eggs can cause digestive health issues. Eggs are a popular allergen so if you are having a digestion issue, try cutting them out for 30 days to see if it helps you feel better.
Basil Salad Dressing by Happy Belly Healthy. Basil is great for digestion since it is anti-inflammatory and helps calm the digestive tract. This dressing includes walnuts for added omega-3. Click here for the recipe.
Vegan Chipotle Lime Dressing by Diannes Vegan Kitchen. This dressing is nice and thick so it can be used on a salad or as a sauce on top of grilled chicken. Click here for the recipe.
Easy Vegan Ranch Dressing by Karissa's Vegan Kitchen. This dressing is great for salads and as a dip for other foods, such as sweet potato tots. Click here for the recipe.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to make salads that are more than a simple combination of lettuce and other ingredients. Salads can really make delicious lunches or dinners anytime of the year.
Do you think you will try any of the above? Let me know by leaving a comment below.