The Humungous Veggie Salad

I call this my big HVS  – Humongous Vegetable Salad. Here is the vegetable salad I keep around constantly. It goes with absolutely everything. I prepare this once or twice a week. If you don’t put in vegetables that have a lot of water content it tends to last longer in the refrigerator.  You can pull it out and serve yourself a bowl of it anytime of the day.

It’s also a great meal to have on a detox.  Just use a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime instead of a salad dressing to keep everything raw.

How to Prepare

The quantities give for each vegetable are not exact. Add more of what you love and less of what you don’t.  Increase quantities as you get used to eating this salad on a daily basis.

I list the vegetables that I use in the standard salad then list others you can use to “lighten” it up, change the dominant tastes, or create a full meal according to your tastes.

Experiment with the amounts of the various vegetables to get the quantities that work for you.

Basic HVS

These vegetables make up the basic salad. This can last for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator without getting wilted.

  • Green cabbage
  • Red Cabbage
  • Red Pepper
  • Green Pepper
  • Celery
  • Tomato
  • Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc.)

Additional vegetables
These vegetables can get soft or discolored quicker. That mean you have to eat the salad quicker. You can add these on any day to change the taste of the basic mix. Have them already prepared so you just have to put in the amount you want.

  • lettuce/spinach
  • chopped broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • zucchini
  • avocado

Toppings

Toppings are optional. This is what makes this salad versatile enough to be the base of a fully meal, 7 days a week.

  • Nuts or seeds
  • Raisins
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Rice
  • Cheese
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Left-over meat, fish, chicken – really helps if you prepare foods for people who eat differently, i.e., raw to meat eaters.
  • Whatever else you have.

Dressings
These go from simple to complex. The taste of the salad is so good I often eat it with no dressings. However, I started with bottled dressings and now use a simple squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Sometimes I add some Olive Oil. Another alternative is a great balsamic vinegar.

Of course, you can use your favorite low fat dressing and experiment with different salad dressings.  If you eat this everyday you can change things up with different dressings.

Directions:

Wash all of the vegetables and thinly shred them with a knife. This lets them come out in thin layers that are fun to eat. You can also shred by hand, chop in chunks or “break” some of the vegetables by hand.

Use more of your favorites and change things up a bit. Try new tastes by adding other favorite vegetables I’ve forgotten here. If it’s something you eat raw, it can go into the basic salad. If it’s cooked, add as a topping for a special meal.

As a Side Dish

I serve a version of this salad almost everyday. You can add anything else in your meal. To make it a side dish, serve a portion with your cooked protein (meat, fish, chicken, beans). It goes with ethnic foods and vegetarian delights.

Keep this around on a regular basis. It’s crunchy and satisfying. Depending on other meals, you can use this and start to naturally lose weight by making it your staple meal of the day or by eating more of this than other, higher calorie foods.

Let me know how you like it.

Time to Check Your Blood Pressure

The word is out; high blood pressure has been branded a top public health enemy in  the US.  According to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it only trails tobacco when it comes to affecting lives.  Having high blood pressure makes you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

And the problem is that you can have this disease without ever knowing it.   If something makes you four times more likely to die of a stroke and three times more likely to die of heart disease, it’s something to take very seriously.

That means taking the time to find your blood pressure level.  You can do this through having a check-up with a person who knows how to read blood pressure levels.  But the best thing to do is see your doctor and have her or him take your pressure for you.

If you are in normal ranges, strive to stay that way.  If not, do what needs to be done to get your pressure under control.

Many doctors will prescribe medications.  However, some will allow you to try to adjust your lifestyle habits first.  That means stop smoking if you are a smoker.  Get you weight under control.  Losing even 10 pounds can dramatically affect the levels of blood pressure in a positive way.  Be sure to get on a regular exercise program and watch your diet.  You want to stay away from the salt and eat whole foods including grains, fruits and vegetables.

High blood pressure is nothing to ignore.  If you dont’ know your readings, get it checked as soon as possible.

Raw and Vegan Doesn’t Mean a Lack of Iron

Getting enough iron is vital, particularly for the seasonsed woman.  Lack of  iron in the system can result in anemia.   Anemia occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body.  These red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.  There are several forms of anemia.  One of the main reasons for its occurance is the lack of important elements in the body including certain vitamins and minerals as well iron, B12 and folic acid, which is another B vitamin.    

Avoiding anemia means having healthy red blood cells that are formed primarily in the bone marrow.  An interesting thing is that a hormone created in your kidneys signals the body to replace healthy red blood cells every 90 to 120 days.  Without the right nutrients, the bood (hemoglobin) will not produce healthy red blood cells.

It is commonly believed that people who don’t eat red meats or other animal proteins are at particular risk of being deficient in the substances needed for the body to produce healthy hemoglobin and avoid anemia. That means if you prefer to eat raw, vegan or vegetarian, you would be of higher risk for anemia.  However, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to become anemic because of not eating animal products if you are careful to eat in a balanced manner and take care to ingest the right vitamins and minerals.  

For instance, iron is found to be very high in green leafy vegetables.  In fact, some have been found to have a higher concentration of iron than animal flesh.  According to the USDA, gram for gram, kale has fourteen times more iron than red meat and spinach, strawberries, cabbage, bell peppers, and cucumbers have more iron per weight than ground beef or sirloin steak.

Also, eating Vitamin C foods help with the assimilation of iron in the body.  Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and many of the foods listed above as high in iron.  All of these foods are found in diets eaten by those who don’t consume animal flesh products. 

What really needs to be watched is the potential intake of B vitamins and B12 overall which is not found in plant foods.  This is probably the vitamin you might need to supplement to avoid a deficiency.  

It’s good to know that eating a raw/vegan or vegetarian diet means being able to take good care of yourself.  When you’re armed with information on how great fruits and vegetables are in maintaining overall health you can be even more motivated to live this lifestyle.