Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Simple Plan.

I feel guilty about alot of things. I feel guilty when I sleep in. I feel guilty about how much petrol my car takes. I feel guilty when I forget, guilty when I lie, guilty when I cheat and guilty when I get away with something. I feel guilty when I find something mean really, really funny to the point where water comes up my nose the wrong way while I laugh. I feel really guilty when I avoid the Big Issue Guy in the street. Guilt, it's surely a bugger. But guilt over not eating my greens is much like my Jeremy Jordan fixation, a thing rooted very firmly and distantly in my dimming past.

If you're like most people today, you do give some thought to what not to eat. You might avoid junk, fast food, take away, too much sugar, too much fat, too much processed stuff. You might be so hell bent on avoiding the wrong things that you might have overlooked something quite simple, what should you be eating. Well, different yolks for different folks, right? Almost. I have done a good deal of reading on enzymes lately and tried to relate the amazing things i've learned about to my body now, how it feels and how I can make it stronger. I am very technical when it comes to most things, and I usually miss the obvious, simple and slow things, things that by virtue of their incredibly humble nature are actually, utterly profound. 

Candice once said to me, in regard to a casserole dish she bought, that it's amazing how easy creativity becomes when you have the right tools. Meet the Silver Mixer Bowl. My $7 investment was made as a result of an epiphany. Most epiphanies usually belong beneath the banner of the religious or the moral, nothing so grand here, my epiphany was one regarding salad.
Salad is something we all lie about. We order salads when out in public. We collect recipes for salads. When communal salad is put in the middle of a crowded table, we all take a little more than our tokengreenthingonmyplate share and try to get as much of the good stuff down, partly because we know it will be a good long while before we encounter it again. Salad is the great urban myth. When we do eat it, we're not eating something I think really deserves the name. Potato salad is not salad. Pasta salad is not salad. Fruit salad is not salad. The insipid little watery lettuce and dull tomato jobs you sometimes down in a puritanical moment of self righteousness aren't really salad either. 

Dark leafy greens are not just loaded with phytonutrients, they're flush with enzymes. You know enzymes are a good thing, but how much do you know about them. The position of modern science on the question of enzymes is not dissimilar to one of those people who pretends to recognize someone at a party who knows their name, and then proceeds to talk to them for 20 minutes, afterwards insisting to others that they've always respected and admired that chap. Enzymes are like the life forces inherent in the foods we eat. Not only do raw foods contain a higher level of enzymes, but they conserve the overworked digestive enzymes which originate in your pancreas. Don't worry, i'm not about to tell you to burn your oven and stop cooking, but I am going to let you in on a little experiment of mine.
Knowing that I didn't consistently eat as much good salad as I should, and always complaining about how dull and lethargic I felt, I bought the spunky Silver Mixing Bowl, and decided that at least once a day, every day, for 6 months and no less, I would pile it high with lots of organic green leafy things, combined with lots of fresh herbs, which generally have a much higher antioxidant content than normal greens, and devour it regardless of what I felt like. Only a month on, I feel so much more alert and awake and I have discovered how to make salad taste so good that I look forward to it every single day. I wanted to write this piece not so much to just give you an extra healthy recipe, but to show you how small, simple decisions about what you eat every day can not only induce a metamorphoses of vitality and energy, but also one of taste.

This salad is better than my former favourite, one I tried at Tetsuya's a few years ago. I adore Tetsuya, I love his food, I love his shy smile and his cherubic cheeks, but I am still going to call this:
The Try Harder Tetsuya Salad

All measurements are approximations, fiddle with more and less until you suit your own taste.
About half a bowl of organic leafy greens (mesculin, rocket, raddichio, cos etc)
Half an avocado, spoon out in long slivers from the shell
Sometimes a little raw corn cut from the cob
Sometimes broccoli sprouts (if you can find them, they're so full of good things for you)
About 1 cup of fresh coriander leaves
About 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
About 1 cup of fresh parsley (use any herbs, or just one)

Dressing:
In a small cup combine:
A splash of good olive oil (i'd say 2 tbspns or so if I had to guess)
A teaspoon of dijon mustard (Simon Johnson brand is electric)
A teaspoon of pomegranate molasses 
Juice of half a lemon/lime 
Crap loads of cracked pepper
Sea Salt
If you're really adventurous: a little ground cardamon.

Mix Mix Mix. The avocado makes it creamy dreamy in texture and beautiful to eat, it feels rich, smooth and lush in your mouth but tastes so light because of the lemonpeppersaltiness.

That's it. Nothing fancy, just good, simple salad. The herbs, and in such an amount, give it a beautiful mixture of sharpness and deep flavour, they also boost the nutritional profile astoundingly. We are usually trained to regard fresh herbs as something to be used sparingly as a garnish. I respect that rule about as much as I do the Sydney road laws. Herbs are so antioxidant rich it's not funny, treat the leaves just like you would regular salad leaves. I feel amazing after every days bowl, I feel quicker and more energetic, you will too.
Try it for 2 weeks, find yourself a good mixing bowl, it makes all the difference. It doesn't matter what else you're having for dinner or lunch, have this first and then follow it with whatever. You go all glowy afterwards, my cheeks have been especially pollyannaish since i've been doing this. If you're taking the salad into work, take the salad leaves dry and the dressing in a little jar and then mix it when you're ready to eat. This is a great way to start feeling lighter in time for spring. 

It's a delicious, nobrainer of a change, keep all as is and just add the dizzyingly delicious contents of one little silver bowl! If it sounds like the kind of thing that your food routine is missing, give it a go. It really awes me how much of our life is dictated to by how much energy we have, and how much energy that's available to us has more to do with the way we eat than most of us probably know. 

And so It was said, and so It was done.
I've got a creeping suspicion this piece was way too wholesome and preachy for my hedonistic-drool-on-their-chin readers. I am going to have to do gluten free ecstacy-chip cookies or something for the next entry. Vegan of course, or else i'll be hearing it from Erin.

Ps: To The Sinful Cindy Bolomey times Twenty Six: Happy Birthday! If your way in the world was a dessert, it would a sexy lemon tart: sharp enough to kill, but still sweet enough to get away with it. 

3 comments:

erin said...

awesome looking salad!

beef it up with some sprouts - not alfalfa, its like eating cotton wool. Some gorgeous sunflower sprouts or mung bean sprouts and you can even sprout your own ... eating live raw foods just adds that something extra special.

ps: i ate some avocado today and it was gross. obviously not in season. don't tell me you are eating imported ones!!!!

dominic said...

did you know:
half an avocado has equal protein to 100gm of meat?

i like that salad indeed.. i still think ill swap the coriander with oregano though.

Geraldine said...

Hey, I've stumbled across this while going through your archives, and I want to try your tasty tasty salad. Only problem is the pomegranate molasses in the dressing. I hold out very faint hope of finding that down here in Wollongong, so do you have a suggestion as to what I can use instead?