Ladies Lunch + Mahi Mahi

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You guys had some great questions for Don on Organic Gardening! I can’t wait to see his answers. Till then, if you have a question on organic gardening, leave a comment here (click for details).

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I was really looking forward to more granola and Greek yogurt this morning so I made a quick breakfast of one of the Stonyfield Chocolate Oikos samples (*), along with some of my Vanilla Almond Galaxy Granola sample (*).

So easy, so fast, so good! And good for you!

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I girl-ified my biker jacket with a pretty silk scarf. This picture is terrible, but you get the point.

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I actually had enough time to take a lunch break today…shocking I know! I got a half tea / half lemonade drink (no alcohol people).

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I also got blackened mahi mahi with jambalaya and green beans – from Mimosa Grill. Lunch was fabulous and it was so nice escaping the office for once. For those new to TCL, I RARELY take lunch breaks at work. Most lunches are enjoyed at my desk while I chomp away on a phone conference with my mute button on. Glamorous, right? ;)

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Hubby was really trying to spoil me today. He swung by with a sweet treat – one of my faves -a mini cinnamon roll from Great Harvest. Man these things are addicting!

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For a pre-workout snack, I enjoyed a Raw Organic Food Bar in Chocolate Coconut (won these on Twitter).

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These bars were the first product request I had fulfilled at my OpenSky shop and I’m thrilled to be able to offer them to you. These bars are fabulous but a little hard to find, but now it’s easy since you can find them in my shop!

(PS Some of you have asked about Galaxy Granola – I’ve requested to add that to my shop, too, so I hope it works out! I’ll keep you posted – the process can be a little slow)

Then I had a fabulous hour of ZUMBA! So fun. I love my mid-week workouts. I get to just dance all the stress of the week away!

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A post-workout shake – Aria.

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Then, I came home to a REAL surprise. Hubby had dinner waiting for me!!!!! How sweet! First the cinnamon roll and then the dinner! I felt so lucky!

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We started with salads – organic lettuce mix, orange bell pepper, and cucumber with Drew’s rosemary balsamic. Plus some $3 chuck to drink.

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And for the main event – spaghetti!! I love spaghetti but haven’t had any in ages! I was really happy to see it tonight. Hubby even used whole wheat pasta!

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On the side – SPELT toast, drizzled with EVOO, from Great Harvest! Hubby picked up a fresh loaf today when he got the cinnamon roll. I adore spelt-everything!

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Do you ever just want a taste of something? I was really craving Galaxy Granola with vanilla almond milk after dinner, so I made a tee-niny bowl. I don’t think I’ll be using my Crate + Barrel spoon for oatmeal or soup any time soon, but I still think it’s the perfect ice cream spoon and I love it for my little tasting bowls. A regular sized spoon would have looked ridiculous! :lol:

Oh and about that Fitness challenge…I got sick and didn’t start it. :( Buuut, I think I will fore-go the monthly challenges and just start it up when I’m ready. Not sure I want to wait till May! lol

A year ago today I had a chicken burrito. Funny that I was craving one for lunch today since I rarely eat them for lunch. Also, I ordered my neon green zumba pants! Oh yea!

Do you ever eat really mini portions of food?

Organic Gardening for Beginners

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I really wanted more of that yummy Galaxy Granola (*), but I also really wanted oatmeal.

The solution?

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Have your cake and eat it, too – oatmeal + granola – all in one bowl.

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Almond milk oatmeal, chia seeds, dates, pepitas, Galaxy Granola vanilla almond.

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Plus Fresh Market Spring Blend to drink.

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Mate Yerba hot tea with sugar.

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For lunch I had the lunch I was supposed to eat yesterday. I picked up a grilled chicken breast and some Live Green Salad from Earthfare when I was out shopping with Megan for her healthy pantry.

As I’ve said before, after recently suffering from a food-poisoning like situation, I’ve become extremely skittish about my food. How long had the chicken been sitting there? Did I wait too long between when I bought it and when I put it in the fridge? Yes, random thoughts pop into your mouth and I had something important to do Monday night and could NOT afford to get food poisoning again. Tonight, I’m not so worried, so I saved the food for today.

All the food seemed fine. I microwaved my chicken and also used the toaster oven to heat it up a bit. I got this cooked with the herbs at Earthfare and it was like around $2.50, which is about what it would have cost to buy the thing raw, so I think that was a pretty good deal. I also had a small romaine salad with hemp seeds and sunflower seeds plus rosemary balsamic dressing.

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I had even more fabulous Galaxy Granola later in the day, plus one of the Chocolate Oikos samples Stonyfield sent me for free awhile back.

I’ve tried the Chocolate Oikos before and I liked it ok, but today I liked it more. Overall, I think I still prefer starting with plain or vanilla and adding my own flavors, but I think the pre-flavored ones are really good options for us working people who don’t have a lot of ingredients at the office.

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Tulsi tea – Chai Masala tea with sugar.

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At the end of the day I had a healthful snack – half an orange bell pepper and four organic strawberries.

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After work I had something very exciting planned – an Organic Gardening for Beginners workshop, which my sorority alumnae association organized.

The presenter was Don Rosenberg of Instant Organic Garden. Don sets organic gardens up at peoples’ homes. If only hubby and I didn’t spend all our money on the renos, or if we won the lottery….or if we were independently wealthy…we would totally hire Don. But since we have none of those things, we will be trying the garden on our own…WITH some tips that Don provided tonight.

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My favorite Organic Gardening for Beginners tips:

  • Weeds grow in bare soil so traditional tilling/gardening is more weed-prone. Boxes placed on top of your yard work better and will result in less maintenance work (because less weeding)
  • Miracle Grow type boosters are electric shocks of growth causing spindly growth that is more susceptible to disease, thus requiring pesticides – see the vicious cycle?
  • A garden needs 6 hours of sun
  • Eating fresh can be more valuable than eating organic since many vegetables lose nutrients quickly after being harvested
  • Don’t grow something you can get cheaply and easily at the grocery store, grow something unique instead
  • There are some really interesting heirloom vegetables that would be fun to grow (not just tomatoes)
  • The difference between organic seeds and traditional is $2 – don’t waste your money buying the organic ones – how you grow your plant is more important
  • When growing tomatoes – keep the leaves dry and ensure the plant gets good circulation
  • There are many good organic solutions for gardens and common garden problems
  • Imustgarden.com has some good, natural solutions to deter deer, moles, etc.

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We had snacks donated by Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, since the event was also a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House (ADPi’s charity).

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I had a chicken finger (with some honey mustard), some tortilla chips and some spinach dip.

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Drink of choice – lemonade and Firefly sweet tea vodka. I need more of these drinks to enjoy on my fabulous patio! Ahh, yes, I can see it now, sweet tea vodka, burgers cooking on the grill, friends playing in the yard. Yes!

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Anywho, I had a great time at the organic gardening session with Don and I learned a ton. Most importantly, I’m newly inspired to get our garden going! I think hubby and I have a weekend project now! ;)

Check out the book Don is holding – it’s his and it’s called No Green Thumb Required.

Additionally, Don has offered to do a Q&A with The Chic Life readers! If you have a question for Don, please leave a comment on this post and start it with “Question for Don:” and then add your comment, like “Question for Don: What’s your favorite vegetable?” That way it’s easy for me to see your questions. Please try to ask your question by Thursday night, as I’ll probably send them pretty quickly to Don.

Thanks to Don for the workshop – I’m so glad I went, hubby and I had a great time!

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After the event, I ended up getting a cup of French Onion soup from Jason’s Deli. And I may or may not have eaten another Earthfare vegan WW chocolate chip cookie. Yummers!

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I need to work on a Project Hydrate Lessons Learned post. The last week-ish sort of fizzled out when I got sick, so sorry about that. :(

Almost exactly a year ago today, I went geo-caching with my sister and we had a fabulous picnic and some beautiful strawberry shortcakes.

Remember to leave your questions on organic gardening for Don on this post by Thursday night. Be sure to put “Question for Don: ” before your question.

Have a great week everyone! :) Ima finish watching Millionaire Matchmaker!

Thriving Monday

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Happy Monday! Welcome to the Eating Bender readers who are stopping by from my guest post.

I must say I’ve been more inspired by Brendan Brazier’s talk last week than I expected. (Yes, I still owe you my notes on that! sorry!). I think mostly because BB is all about what food does for you. When I get into healthy eating, I’m mostly interested in exactly what – just what food can do for you. What can I eat to have more energy, sleep better, have a better workout, have nicer hair…all that fun junk.

Anywho, I ended up eating a very healthful day of eats that may even be a little thrive-like.

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Coffee (ok, this isn’t really on the Thrive diet, but it’s my morning ritual).

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Rice milk date oatmeal with almonds and pepitas and flaxseed.

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I stepped out to pick up some groceries and got this veggie juice. They put EXTRA beets in! It was very beet-y.

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For lunch, I made a giant salad using some groceries I picked up yesterday when I was helping Megan with her healthy pantry makeover.

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Ever since finding out that iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value and that other greens like romaine and spinach are really good for you, I haven’t been able to eat iceberg. Luckily, I scored some organic romaine at Trader Joe’s at a fair price.

On the salad:

  • a BUNCH of chopped romaine – maybe 3 cups
  • several slices cucumber
  • orange bell pepper
  • a couple tbsp sunflower seeds
  • dash hemp seeds
  • Drew’s rosemary balsamic (I’d like to try a Thrive recipe for dressing, but haven’t had the ingredients)

I forget how satisfying salads are. This one was simple but really good.

I really wanted to try a BB recipe, but they seem to require extra prep time and some obscure ingredients that I haven’t yet gathered for my pantry. In general, I’ve flipped through the BB Thrive book a couple times and I’m very excited by the content but I think I really need to sit down and read the book to best figure out how to apply portions of the book. I don’t think I’ll be going vegan any soon, but I do think there are some great concepts in the Thrive diet that can be applied to anyone’s diet, no matter if their eating style.

Anywho, I had an important workout scheduled after work, so I tried to eat as healthfully and Thrive-like as possible pre-workout.

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I had some coconut water for some natural hydration since coconut water has electrolytes.

I snacked on a handful of Stacy’s pita chips. Man these things are addicting!!!

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Then, I busted into my Galaxy Granola (*). I tried the Vanilla almond with vanilla almond milk. WOW! Sooooo good! This granola is delicious, crunchy, and very well-flavored. I loved how I could really taste the vanilla in the granola. Yum yum yum! Galaxy Granola WIN!

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For a pre-workout snack (about 2 hours before my workout), I decided to try a Vega packet. I actually wanted to buy a jug of this stuff after the BB talk but they were sold out in the flavor I wanted! :( So, I have an order in for their next shipment. TIll then, I wanted to try a packet.

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In the mix:

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My favorite thing about the Vega product is that it’s made from whole foods. As I move away from synthetics and try to eat closer to the source, this is something I really appreciate.

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Boy was this smoothie FILLING! I was still feeling pretty full up to my zumba class at 6:30. Phew! Good stuff, though! I really liked the flavor. I definitely could tell there was something in my smoothie besides the fruit and milk I put in, but I thought the smoothie overall still tasted really good.

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Monday….ZUMBA!!!

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We got a little goofy after class trying to get some action shots.

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Then, it was on to dinner!

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Me and Kat split a beer sampler and both got the same 2 beers – the Bells 2 hearted ale and the hoppyum.

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Megan and I split a spinach salad. Yum!

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We got an app at the table and I tried the red pepper hummus on a pita chip. It was very tasty! I still really like the Ellie pita chips I made awhile back.

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I ordered the Chicken Florentine pizza and had 3 1/4 slices. Yes, I wanted a wee bit more, so I cut a tiny wedge off of another slice. heehee.

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I came home and tried another nicobella vegan truffle – ginger green tea this time. yum!

Dinner + dessert were soooo so good. The perfect way to start monday – workout, good eats, and great friends!!!

Secret project in the works. Yup…another one. I like to have a lot of things going on at one time. You know me! I should know more to share soon.

Did you see my guest post over at Eating Bender? Click here to check it out.

Have you seen my Facebook page yet?

Have a great week everyone!

Veggie Lasagna Encore + Cookie Fail

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First off, Marie guessed my sister’s oatmeal design from yesterday – nice work!

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I love my brunches dearly, but they totally throw off my eating. I rarely show photos of my snacks but that’s mainly because I rarely snack. I like to have 3 solid meals every day with snacks thrown in on occasion to make up for light meals or for work-out fuel.

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Today, at around 4pm, I started getting the munchies, so I grabbed a couple handfuls of pretzels, a couple pickles, a handful of almonds, and a couple Hi-Chews. So random…I know!

Anywho, snacks or not, I still plan to enjoy many more brunches – they are simply too wonderful to miss. :) I’ll have to plan out better snacks next time. I just really wanted something salty, something tangy, and something sweet.

Sis and I did MASSIVE cleaning in the house. We:

  • scrubbed the guest bathroom floor
  • cleaned the toilets
  • wiped the bathroom countertops
  • scrubbed the tile shower – floors, walls, doors, cracks, crevices, you name it
  • hung a new shower curtain
  • cleaned the sinks
  • organized the living room
  • reviewed a couple “junk” boxes

I love being so productive.

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Random Bailey shot.

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He told us when it was dinner time for him.

Feeeeed me Seymore!

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After all the cleaning, we worked up an appetite. (I put the lasagna back in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes while we worked away – it’s so much better re-heated in the oven IMO than in the microwave).

I started with a local lettuce salad with sunflower seeds and rosemary balsamic dressing.

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Sis requested olive oil with fresh cracked pepper for dipping our bread. I added balsamic vinegar b/c it’s a must in my dipping bowl.

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The lasagna was still delicious Day #2. Especially topped with some fresh-grated parmesan and served with some rosemary bread (drizzled with EVOO, sprinkled with salt, re-heated in the oven at 200 degrees F – tastes fresh-baked! Mmm….

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The local TV stations reported severe weather, so Sis decided to stay one more night. We decided to bake in our PJ’s.

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The cookies looked promising.

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But they totally spread out together to be a big cookie blog. The texture wasn’t quite right either. Gotta work on this one some more. Practice makes perfect, right?! You’ll never learn if you don’t make mistakes.

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I mean, the cookie was still edible and tasted darn good, too! I just wasn’t 100% satisfied with the texture (or flavor).

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I made bedtime tea for me and Sis. I’ve been letting her pick her mugs and bowls all weekend and tonight she chose a mug to match mine.

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We had the tea just in time to catch a wild ride – a scary hail storm! Luckily, the storm was over quickly, but it was so LOUD!

Gave myself another mini facial tonight. My skin feels so soft! I hope this new routine works out and doesn’t irritate my skin. Time will tell and then I’ll be telling you. ;)

Do you ever look back at a weekend and wonder how you fit everything in that you did? This weekend was so much FUN! I love my lazy weekends, but jam-packed ones are pretty awesome, too. Now, if I could just squeeze in some much-needed yard work! :lol:

I’m actually looking forward to Monday and not just because of Starbucks Monday. Mondays are like a chance to start fresh and I’m planning to go into mine with a positive attitude. Here we gooooo!

Prep Day Sunday

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I prepped a couple things for Prep Day Sunday. I started with some marinated kale. I’m still perfecting the recipe, but I think I’m almost there! A taste test tomorrow will tell me for sure.

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I also cooked some hard-boiled, cage-free eggs. I’m hoping to work on that egg salad recipe I promised you guys! I want to make sure it’s a goodie before I pass it on. Nothing less than the best for you guys!

We actually have more veggie lasagna leftover still, so I may pack some of that up for tomorrow’s lunch. Either way, I won’t have time to prep food Monday night (busy-busy night!), so Sunday was the day!

Project Hydrate Day #21

I did a pretty crappy job with Project Hydrate this weekend.

Consumed:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup hot tea

I’m wondering if maybe I should I continue with Project Hydrate longer than I originally intended? Long enough to really get into the habit of drinking water, ya know?

Randomness

BIG Announcement tomorrow! So glad I’m finally going to get to share one of my latest secret projects with you guys!

Remember to check out my Facebook page and get involved with the discussions. Any topics you want to start? Let me know. :) Oh, and that big announcement I just mentioned? Facebook friends will find out fiiiiirst! Be there or be square!

One year (minus 1 day) ago today, I was blogging about a life-changing meal – click here to check it out!

Would any readers be interested in emailing your picture to be featured here on The Chic Life? Let me know (click).

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know here or here.

Have a great week everyone!

M4L Guest Post: Janice’s 7 Tips for Making Salad Right

Continuing my Meatless 4 Lent Guest Post series is Janice Stanger, author of The Perfect Formula Diet, which is book about eating whole foods. Yay whole foods! :)

Check under the article for more details on Janice.

Anywho, if you’re not sure what to eat tonight for dinner and you’re thinking salad, check out these tips on making salad the right way.

Take it away Janice!

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Seven Tips for Making Salad Right

If you are observing Lent by giving up meat on Fridays, you may be eating more salad just for the next few weeks. Or perhaps this choice is always a diet staple for you. In either case, you’ll greatly benefit from learning to do your salad the right way.

Salads have a great image, so it’s easy to fall into the habit of assuming that anything on a bed of lettuce is healthy. Constructing a salad that is healthy, satisfying, and appetizing all at the same time requires some thought, though. Here are seven tips you can use now or any time of the year.

   1. Greens are the basis of your salad, so have lots of choices to keep from getting bored. Generally, the darker green the leaf, the more dense the nutrients in each bite. For maximum vitamins, minerals, protein, and phytochemicals (beneficial plant substances), choose dark green lettuce, such as romaine. You don’t need to limit yourself to lettuce, through. Try spinach, kale, baby bok choy, collard greens, and other leafy wonders to mix and match.

   2. Strive for colorful salads with a variety of vegetables, either raw or cooked. Each color in the vegetable represents a different family of phytochemicals. Your health will benefit from the superstar team you gain when mixing the colors.

   3. Your salad must satisfy your appetite, or you will likely regard it as no more than a necessary evil to be avoided whenever French fries are also on the menu. Your body has sensors for both nutrients and energy in your food. Vegetables do great on the nutrient front, but don’t have enough calories to keep you going for long. Therefore, if you are very hungry or your salad is the center of your meal, you need more kinds of foods in it. The most satiating foods are beans, potatoes, and whole grains, all dense with fiber to fill your stomach and enough calories to turn off your appetite (without making you fat). Add these to your salad in abundance.

   4. Salad is most nutritious and satisfying when it is fresh. Assemble your salad close to the time you will eat it, and use ingredients that would still taste great if you ate it by itself. Wilted lettuce is out. On the other hand, salad is a great way to use up leftovers, as long as they are still in good shape. If you don’t have time to cook beans, open a can and rinse the beans in a strainer to get off most of the salt.

   5. Use a variety of herbs and spices – not all at the same time, of course. Herbs and spices are your best source of phytochemicals, and their fragrance and taste make every meal a treat. Try fresh parley, cilantro, chives, garlic, ginger, rosemary, basil, or whatever is available to you. Dried herbs and spices are also awesome. These flavors make food with little or no salt taste great, so cut back on your sodium as well.

   6. An oily or overly salty dressing is the downfall of most salads. Most of the stuff in a bottle or that you get in a restaurant is not made with your health in mind – or weight loss either. Your tastes take about three weeks to get reeducated once you change your eating choices. At first, a salad lightly dressed with vinegar and herbs, or a silken tofu or tahini-based dressing, may taste strange if you are used to olive oil and lots of salt. But if you make the healthier choice for three weeks, you will grow to love it

   7. Pair your salad with other healthy dietary choices. The healthiest salad in the world, if eaten with animal foods or junk foods, will do little good in the overall scheme of things to improve your health or weight. In other words, keep chicken, fish, and cheese off your carefully planned salad. Use dairy-free milks instead of estrogen-laden cow’s milk in your coffee or other cooking. Eat whole grain bread instead of white. Salad is not a magic bullet. You will benefit to the extent your eating choices as a whole support your vigorous health and lean weight.

Have fun with your salads. As these tips become second nature for you, healthy eating will become easier every day – with results to match.

http://perfectformuladiet.com

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About Janice Stanger, Ph.D.

Janice Stanger is an author, educator, and health industry expert. Her mission in writing The Perfect Formula Diet is to help people and the planet at the same time through a whole foods diet. Janice did not always eat this healthy. For much of her adult life she was overweight and suffered from conditions including daily headaches, frequent sinusitis and respiratory infections, depression, mysterious aches and pains, and crippling fatigue.

Janice was motivated to research plant-based nutrition by the examples of her two daughters, who stopped eating meat at ages 11 and 13. She spent 14 years critically analyzing scientific findings until perfecting the whole foods discoveries she wants to share with you now.

While working as a consultant to employers on their health benefits, Janice has observed one health insurance industry gimmick after another, including managed care, fail to control costs and keep people healthy. In her continuing work in the health insurance industry, she sees every day the devastation that obesity and illness brings to both individuals and companies struggling to stay in business and provide benefits.

Janice has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Aging from University of California, San Francisco – one of the country’s leading health sciences campuses. She also has an M.B.A from University of California, Berkeley.

Janice’s site is http://perfectformuladiet.com

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Thank you so much Janice so your informative salad article! Those are some great tips!

Check out other fabulous Meatless 4 Lent Guest posts by clicking here

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