Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Still eating salads

By: Mrs Rabbit Robot

I said I was going to make a conscious effort to eat more salads, and so far I've managed it. I think the major revelation for me on my veggie-munching mission so far is that I don't have to eat lettuce. Lettuce was pretty much the base ingredient for every salad I had growing up, and I'm not massively fond of it, so allowing myself to ditch the stuff has made Project Salad a lot more interesting (and easier to stick to). The other revelations I've had are that herbs can be an ingredient, not just things you sprinkle on top in tiny amounts or add to dressing, and that if you make a salad of little chopped bits it's best not to throw too many ingredients in, otherwise it all ends up a bit jumbled, and all your salads end up tasting the same in the long term. These are probaby things hardcore veggie lovers knew already, but they've been amazing to me!

My lunchtime salads are pretty much just chopped stuff in a box – chunks I can easily eat with a fork at my desk. There are usually around five things in the box, and my current favourites include: tomato, melon, mango, cucumber, peach, pepper, sweetcorn, and grated carrot with kohlrabi. I did try grated carrot, green pawpaw and Thai basil, but the basil overwhelmed the other flavours, so I need to use less of that if I use it in future.

Evening salads, which I've been having with my main meal of the day, are where I've got more room to be more complex. For one thing, I have more time to prepare them, and for another I've avoided things like dressing, oil or mayonnaise in my lunches, whereas I am allowing myself those things in the evening. In the case of oil and mayonnaise, it's because of their calorie count, whereas in the case of dressings, I adore east Asian dressings with fish sauce in, but the salt in the fish sauce makes the veggies all watery by lunchtime.

On Sunday I made som tam, a Thai salad based on green pawpaw. Monday's meal is in the photo: koftes from our butcher, Walter Rose, plus a tomato, cucumber and onion salad with a bit of coriander on. (Raw onions never go in the lunch salad, I like my workmates too much to inflict that on them.) The other thing on the plate is just roasted sweet potato, onion and chickpea with a little cumin on, topped with tahini and garlic sauce; I don't class it as a salad as it's been cooked and is served hot, though some people might think of it as one.

I have noticed I no longer get the mid-afternoon sleepy feeling, but I also no longer get the sense of satisfaction I used to get from my lunch. It's hard to put into words; I just get an immediate feeling of wellbeing from carbs, a sense of comfort and pleasure. My biggest wellbeing-feeling foodstuff is tea anyhow, so I'm making sure I keep drinking plenty of that. There really is nothing to beat a good cuppa. It's only been a week or so since I started making an effort to eat more veggies, so there's been no real change on the weight front. It's great to be using more of the vegbox, though, and being more creative with previously neglected ingredients.


  1. "I just get an immediate feeling of wellbeing from carbs, a sense of comfort and pleasure."
    Glucose & serotonin high! Wooo Hoo!
    I miss lettuce as it's not the best thing to eat or grow in a low sanitation country.
    I do make lots of Greek sorts of salads with cucumbers, red onions, olives, tomatoes, olive oil, bell peppers, vinegar and sometimes even feta cheese if I can find it though.

  2. I find salads more tolerable with pickled vegetables (if I can't have oil I'll make up for it with double the vinegar). Pickled asparagus, radishes, and lately whole green tomatoes have been the only thing keeping me from tearing into the first block of cheese I can get my hands on.

    Carbs. Ahhhhhh. I think that's universal in any language.

  3. One can get cunning little containers for salad dressing these days - Sainsbury's have Sistema ones - so you can keep the salad and its dressing separate until lunchtime. There's also a trend for making salad in tall containers (mason jars if you want to be lifestyle-ish) with the heaviest and least absorbant things at the bottom with the dressing. If you can manage to keep this the right way up then sogginess is lower than it otherwise would be.