Health is always a priority in our family, and I firmly believe that a large part of one's well-being is good nutrition. We've tried many different approaches to eating, and I always lean to the all-time tested, simple, well-grown and well-made foods. A piece of levain bread with some natural sea salt, a slice of cheese or aromatic fresh olive oil is mouthwatering and as far as nutritional component goes - is a meal on its own.
We love salads. Most of the time my dinner is a salad : it's light and easy to throw together quickly after a long day. More and more my little ones request larger portions of it in addition to their dinner plates * which we will be covering later on *, making me one happy mama. Salads are also something that is EASY to have slip into a monotonous routine, which apart from becoming boring, also looses its nutritional power, because with little variety the body gets accustomed to the food and does not absorb the nutrients well ( fun fact, isn't it? ) .
But you don't have to travel the earth to gather the best recipes possible. Thanks to pinterest, our food making routine is never boring anymore, and as we experiment with the recipes, we often end up creating more of our own versions of something delicious. Next week I will share some of our favorite salads, surprisingly simple and equally interesting. Today I want to cover the basics of what can make even the simplest of the salads delicious.
1. Good fats.
I think we all know by now that fats are not evil. As a matter of fact, you need fats to keep your hormonal balance in place just as much as you need all your vitamins. But, of course, differentiate between good and bad fats, and please, DO keep a balance. I highly recommend to invest into a bottle of a great olive oil - we get ours from the local farmer's market. Fresh, beautiful and so aromatic it makes you want to sit down for a lunch break right then and right there. I guarantee that the nutritional content of that product is skyrocking even though it does not come with a standard label. Sometimes I do not feel like oil of any kind, but some cheese sounds just right up my alley. Unfortunately, my little guy has a strong allergy to cow's milk, and until that's passed ( if ever), I am somewhat limited. Fortunately, there are multitudes of goat's, sheep's and other milks to choose from, which is an interesting discovery for me * i've already compiled a ton of notes to share with you! so, be on a lookout! * As far as non-dairy cheeses go, my strong advice to stick to RAW FERMENTED non-dairy products. From my research and experience, those cheese are easier on digestion and do not mess with hormones.
2. Sweet fruit.
Contradictory as it may sound, but add a little sweet fruit to your savory salad and you will not regret. We all know about non-sweet fruits and are pros at adding veggies, but I promise you will discover something you love and your tastebuds will thank you for it.
3. Green base.
I cannot say enough about the importance of good green base. My personal favorite at the moment are kale and arugula, which are bursting with nutrition. Did you know that arugula, also known by its European name, rocket, has been used in salads for a long, long time. Though it's a relative of the mustard plant, arugula was originally considered a cabbage substitute (its name comes from eruca, which is Latin for a cabbage-like leafy green). In the U.S., this flavorful green was practically unheard of until the 1990s, when it rapidly rose to popularity. Today, you can buy it fresh in nearly any supermarket, and for cheap!
- Make a salad of fresh mixed arugula, and your brain will surely thank you. A large handful of raw arugula — or about 85 grams — is an excellent source of folate, delivering 20 percent of a nutrient that helps to support a healthy nervous system.
- Fresh arugula is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, which (respectively) support eyesight, promote healthy gums and contribute to your blood's ability to clot properly.
- As for kale, here is a long list of benefits - believe me, they are all true.
4. Spices and such.
Here is to last, but faaaaar from the least idem on my list. It is a-mazing what a little bit of a new spice can do to your beaten up, old true and faithful salad recipe. My personal favorite discoveries have been saffron, shallots ( try them with balsamic vinegar and strawberries!) and truffle salt. My tooth is not the one of a sweet kind, and I can talk about salt for ages ( maybe we will talk about that later too...) , truffle salt is on the outmost top list of the best finds ever. Yes, it is price-y, but it is oh, so worth it! A couple ounces goes a long way and everything is just simply amazingly delicious with a pinch of that white magic dust on it. There is a difference between the white truffle and black truffle, so try to see which of the two you like most ( i do both!), and you don't have to buy it before you try - a local cheesemonger will help you out at any Whole Foods, should you want to taste it.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SALAD? OR DO YOU PREFER JUICE INSTEAD?