Summer Citrus Salad
This Summer Citrus Salad has been my staple this week as I am learning to navigate my new (I actually prefer the word “refined”) eating habits while on my training plan (see previous post for full details). The guidelines I am now following are not very different at all from how I normally eat. And I do not really see them as “guidelines” at all actually. The basis of this meal plan is so simple — eat REAL FOOD. Which, if we really think about it, we all know exactly what that means. It means food items that do not come in packages, but that are from vines and roots and trees and plants. So, it is not so much a question of what to eat but more a question of personal intention and personal power to make the right choices.
Healthy Sugar, not Refined Sugar
While I have always eaten mostly real food, there are two food areas that I have definitely had to eliminate. Those are sweets and oils. It never occurred to me to completely eliminate these because I believed that I was not eating that much of these food items. But, now that I have completely eliminated them, I can easily see, that I was wrong in my beliefs. I used to add oil to the skillet every time I cooked something. I also would eat a salad almost every day for lunch and use an oil based salad dressing. And sweets, well, that is another story. I have a strong sweet tooth, I always have. I eliminated refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup a long time ago and substituted them for more natural sugars like maple syrup, coconut sugar and agave. However, even these, when taken in excess are not good! And I can definitely overdo it with sweets. I love my coconut ice cream, my dark chocolate bars, my vegan brownies! Oh my!
Taking Baby Steps to Optimal Health
I have also noticed that I normally eat a lot of fat. This too, I never monitored. I have made many false assumptions that by simply eliminating animal products, I would naturally default into a completely healthy diet. While this is definitely true on one level because when I eliminate animal products it means that I am no longer consuming saturated fat or bad cholesterol and this is really good! But, with my sweet tooth and my fat cravings, I still was not eating entirely healthy. Now, I am a huge proponent of baby steps. So, I don’t see anything wrong with this — even though I started my health food journey nearly 16 years ago! Progress not perfection, friends!
So, in regard to fat, I realize now that I would get a lot of my fat from nuts. Particularly almonds and peanuts. I love peanut butter and fig & peanut bars and nut milks. All these contain a rather heavy dose of fat. They are “healthy fats” so to speak, but again, too much of anything — even sunshine — isn’t good.
Cravings for Fat
I need to be honest here. I have struggled with the fat lately. I find myself really craving fats. Not unhealthy ones really, mostly nut butters and buttery, creamy things. In order to solve this, last night I made creamy sort of mushroom sauce to add on top of my rice (quick recipe here). It was really simple, low in fat and calories but it was creamy, so it really helped quench my creamy craving.
How to make the Salad
So, anyway, my Summer Citrus Salad has been so refreshing to eat in the middle of my work day. I am really loving it and I wanted to share it! Very simple. Low in fat, low in calories but super high in micronutrients, complex carbs, protein, fiber and therefore it’s filling and full of complete and healthy nutrition. Recipe below. You can use any store bought salsa, or make one of my recipes: Warm Salsa or Super Simple Salsa.
One quick tip, at the start of the week or over the weekend, I generally make a huge pot of Whole Grain pasta and/or a huge pot of short grain brown rice. Then I store it in the fridge in a huge Tupperware container so I can simply grab small portions throughout the week. So, that it what I did here. I made a huge pot of Whole Grain pasta and then portioned it out when I was making my meal prep meals for the week. It makes it a lot easier that way!
Summer Citrus Salad
Light, refreshing salad with a balanced array of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and protein.
- 2 cups Spinach
- 2 cups Romaine lettuce
- 2.5 oz Whole Grain pasta
- 1.5 oz tempeh
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/2 juice of lemon
- 1/2 juice of lime
- 2.5 oz cucumber
- 2.5 oz tomato
Toss all ingredients into a bowl and eat!
In regard to the measurements, I have a few tips:
One cup is about equal one huge grabbing handful.
Visually, 2.5 ounces is a reasonably small mound that fits in the palm of your hand. About the size of a plum.
Please use as much salsa, lemon and lime as you like!