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The Salad Dilemma
by Maury Feren

I picked up the Plain Dealer on September 10, 2015 in the Taste section Home Economics. They featured an Op Ed article about salads. The more I thought about what was written the more I realized how right this author was.

He emphasized the fact that salads were really not all that nutritious, nor did they really fill the needs of your body for green stuff. I'm speaking mostly about the leaf vegetables because that is what I will be concentrating on when I continue on this subject.

I am truly angry at myself because I have been doing the same thing using salad as a filler expecting it to fill all my green needs when in truth there is nothing there in terms of body and nutritional value.

There is another problem. Thousands of pounds of lettuce are grown and shipped from the most arid area in the country. Lettuce needs lots of water. So we wind up spending all that money transporting lettuce 3,000 miles under refrigeration. This burns up tremendous energy and getting little for our money.

I always thought that salads where on the right track but lets take a close look at what we have done.

Most restaurant salads contain mostly head lettuce, some outdoor leaf, some hothouse leaf, Boston head, Bibb hothouse grown, Hydroponic lettuce which many have more nutrition but that does not answer the problem. You should note that hothouse lettuce don't offer much flavor, taste or nutrition. I used to believe that Romaine would cover it and cabbage too and coleslaw but I am beginning to see the light. This idea is on the right track.

The lead story goes back to the book Coming to America by Philip Roth. It goes like this. The hero in this story came up with the idea to ship lettuce across the country. This was in the early 1900's. He made his first shipment by rail from California to the East coast forgetting that all vegetables need refrigeration. The car loads of lettuce that he shipped throughout the country arrived all rotted because of this negligence.

The second shipment is refrigerated and progress is made. Lettuce for salads have become a household name. I'm not going to forgo salads. They are good for you and make a good appetizer. But you should not depend on a green salad to for fill your nutrition needs.

Who would have thought 10 years ago that avocados were so good for you cholesterol free too. Peppers with so many to choose from. The hot Anaheim and all the varying long yellow Italian, Hungarian sweet and hot. The red sweet peppers that has been so much of our vegetarian offerings.

Then we have asparagus queen of all the vegetables. Bringing so much wonderful eating. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower the carcinogenic protective vegetables. Green beans, the squash family, zucchini yellow and green, acorn, pancake, and all the winter squashes beginning with Butternut.

You best choices -if you really want to be smart about your eating habits is to turn to grilled vegetables. You may do it over a broiler because that may be the easiest way to produce vegetables in there best form that has wonderful taste as well.

I just cant get over the fact that I have been a victim of this same idea that the author is promoting. Right now it doesn't seem that there will be many takers. But the idea many take on more meaning as we go on. That maybe the reason we have so much salad at every meal.

When I say so much I don't mean that little plate of salad that most restaurant serve unless you pay $8-$10 for an all green dish. Then there maybe a salad that offers some green leaves, some radishes with no value, and leafy greens that don't amount to much. Don't let me forget that spinach has moved into the forefront with lots of iron and good nutrition. Once in a while you will get some tomatoes if you are lucky, no peppers nothing more then this little small plate.

Yes, you many go into a restaurant like Anatolia. Their Shepherd salad has all of the good things that I mentioned in it. Onions, peppers, celery, romaine and tomatoes. Giovanni's restaurant will fill you up with a big salad at $10-$14 depending on what you ordered. Its worth it for appearance, taste and flavor.

Here is the problem. Everyone drenches their salads until it is overloaded with dressing. The call has been out for years now. The Mediterranean diet is the one you need. Lots of olive oil, olives, and a variety of food representing that area.

I don't want people to say that I said Don't Eat Salad. I agree with the author with the article, salads are good but not to look to a salad alone for your nutrition. Carrots for carotene and peas for protein.

I have to add that meat is the perfect imprint that will fill all of your nutrition needs. But everything in moderation. Frozen vegetables offer the same nutrition as the fresh but it doesn't have the flavor or taste.

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