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The Secret to Salad & Life

I am not going to deny that life hasn't been a little hectic and stressful over the last couple of months. When life gets turned upside down a healthy diet can take a back seat to fast convenient food. Fortunately I am happy to say I have been relying heavily on my "Monster Chop Salads," in terms of convenience and health you can't get much better. Since changing my food, my life has changed in many ways that are SO FANTASTIC! My weight has completely stabilized at my ideal number (without excessive exercise), also my skin, hair and nails are thriving (this hasn't always been the case), my energy is good (especially considering how much I am working and fretting!), and after a checkup yesterday I learned my blood sugar is at an excellent level for optimal health. You would think that I have some crazy diet secret, a personal chef, or a lot of time on my hands to exercise and cook elaborate vegan meals... but no... none of those things. Ready... wait for it................................ My Secret is Fruits and Vegetables!
I eat 6-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which means that my diet consists mostly of fruits and vegetables. My default food is... fruits and vegetables. Whenever I eat a meal or snack, fruits and/or vegetables are the bulk of what I am eating complimented by seeds, grains, nuts, dairy and lean proteins. (I think you get the idea!) Making healthy choices and turning down unhealthy ones is easy now. I rarely find myself in a position where I am forced to eat something that is not so healthy and when it happens... no biggie! I eat healthy 90% of the time so having a little fun at the fair, the movies, or a party every now and then is no big deal! Here's my rule: Eat 6-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day during the week and then play a little on the weekends.
Salads are the best way to eat your veggies and fruits when life is hectic. First, virtually ZERO clean up. Second, it's RAW... no cooking. Third, it's fast! The secret to a great salad that will satisfy even my hungry husband is slicing, dicing and a little creativity with flavors. Many people have commented on my salads saying, "Wow, I should have thought of doing this, it's delicious!" Here's what I do: cube, slice, dice, shred, grate and chop all of the veggies, fruit, lettuce and herbs and add seeds and nuts of any kind, use feta and parmesan cheese, make simple dressings of olive oil and citrus juice or apple cider vinegar and have some warm toasty BREAD (50% whole grain minimum) dipped in olive oil. My "meal" salads measure 2-3 cups (4-6 servings of vegetables) and I feel full, satisfied, clean and lean. My meal cost is approximately $1.50 and I am out of the kitchen in an hour from start to finish. You would be surprised how much more you will like a rutabaga if you grate it... they're so good for you!
I use my food processor to grate, slice and chop and I would highly recommend using one. Be creative, use veggies you haven't tasted before, mix up the colors and textures... just play with it. Bottom line, this is a great way to get clean, super food meals in a snap! Just to prove my point about fruits and veggies take a look at the points below from the USDA's website... powerful super foods that will nourish, heal and CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
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Health Benefits
    • Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
    • Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
    • Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
    • Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
    • Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.

Nutrients
    • Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol.
      (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, or cholesterol.)
    • Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.
    • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (pate, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
    • Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
    • Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
    • Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
    • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.
Talk about Change Your Food... Change Your Life!
 
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