90 Salads In 90 Days: How a Committed Carnivore Convinced Herself to Enjoy Leafy Greens
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1. I'd prepare, purchase or order a salad every day for 3 months (and eat it).
2. If I for some reason ate two salads on a given day (unimaginable to me at first) I did not have license to skip the next day's. It just meant good salad karma.
3. If, on the other hand, I missed a day (and I'd really make an effort not to), I'd have to double up the next.
4. A salad would be defined as something primarily, though not necessarily exclusively, composed of leaves and veggies. A fruit salad would be a pretty bogus substitute (since I already loved fruit), and one I should feel very, very wussy about if I chose to count it.
5. A stir-fry could, at need, constitute a legitimate salad because, as a friend of mine put it, it's really just "hot salad."
6. Mayo-coated monstrosities such as potato, pasta, or chicken salad would not count. (This was not a problem for me because I hate all three with the fire of a thousand suns.)
7. Dressing could be as much or as little as I liked (again not a problem because I mostly like only a little).
8. In order to "count," the day's salad should be bigger than an appetizer size if at all possible, and gigantic when feasible.
9. Organic greens are vastly preferable but not obligatory - any roughage will do in a pinch.
10. It's ok to eat the same kind of salad day after day if I want to - whatever works!
11. Nuts and cheese are also ok, in moderation - gotta make it palatable somehow.
12. No whining.
My discoveries during my salad days were many and fruitful (or vegetable).
First, let me get this out of the way. No, I did not lose a lot of weight. You might, if you try this, but I didn't. I don't know why, but I have a few good guesses. (Lack of exercise ranks right up there.) And yet, that was surprisingly ok with me. As I went along, my goals evolved, and I discovered that what I really wanted most was simply not to be limited in my tastes and desires. I wanted to crave healthy foods as well as fatty, sugary crap, and to discover what it felt like to live on the flipside of carnivorousness.
And wow, what a different world it was. My first clue came when I availed myself of the riot of color and organic orgasmicness to be found in the Union Square Greenmarket. (I must say I picked a great time of year to start my kick -- in May just as everything green and luscious was coming into season.) As I filled up my baskets and bowls with piles of mizuna, arugula, baby spinach and mesclun, my taste buds came out of a three-decade swoon, waking up to the nuances of sharp, sour, sweet and tangy freshness contained in the astonishing variety of lettuces and leafy greens laid out before me. The more I ate, the more I tasted what I ate, and the more I entertained these new tastes on my tongue the less I resisted them, until suddenly I realized, " Wait, I don't hate this at all..."
Then, a second little miracle. In the first month -- actually, in the first couple weeks, I noticed a remarkable physiological change: my energy levels shot through the roof. No longer did I feel like Rip Van Winkle after every meal; food coma wasn't mandatory anymore. Weirdly, I also started to crave a lot more fruits and other types of veggies that weren't part of my crazy commitment, and wanted far less in the way of sugar and carbs. (Perhaps the diet guru did know what he was talking about.)