There is an online food revolution summit going on currently which contains life-changing health information. The experts all seem to agree that a plant-based diet is better for human’s health. Given everyone’s body is built differently, there is no one formula that fits all. However, there is enough science about the higher benefits of plant protein vs. animal protein and why a vegetarian diet helps. Risks of Diabetes are 62% lower with a healthy plant-based vegan diet from a recent study. Heme iron from red meat, as opposed to non-heme iron from plant food, leads to increased risks of heart disease. Experts warn that one needs to supplement with Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and Iodine if one eats a vegan diet. In general, many of us do not eat enough fibre.
What might be a great vegetarian dish – like a perfect salad?
Here is a great recommendation from Brenda Davis, a registered dietitian. I have never enjoyed salad quite as much as I am now. A salad is not boring and is completely fulfilling and tasty. To kickstart a vegan diet, try this 21day program free: 21DayKickstart.org
My Favorite Supper Salad (Brenda Davis)
My favorite meal is salad. Seriously. To me, a beautiful salad is a masterpiece of colour, texture and flavor. Of course, we are not talking iceberg lettuce with a few tomatoes and cucumbers sprinkle on top; we are talking about a full, satisfying meal. I make a giant salad that lasts up to 4 days. Greens are torn and dressing is always on the side so the salad does not brown or wilt. Nutritionally, it doesn’t get much better than this!
This salad is a full meal deal. It provides a rainbow of color and a feast of phytochemicals. Choose organic produce, if possible. By eating it with some fat-containing food such as a seed-based salad dressing, nutrient absorption is maximized.
Choose any dark greens you have on hand. Throw in some red or purple leafy vegetable for variety and color. Use about 8 cups in total – mix and match as you like. Here is a suggested combination:
4 cups wild, mixed greens
2 cups kale, stem removed and sliced matchstick thin
2 cups chopped radicchio or thinly sliced red or purple cabbage
The Veggies and Fruits
The key is to cover the rainbow in your selection. Aim for 5 color families – green, yellow-orange, pink- red, purple- blue and white-beige. Use a total of about 5 cups veggies (1 cup from each color family). Mix and match as you like or simply select 1-2 options from each color category. Here are a few suggestions:
1 cup broccolini or broccoli florets and stems, sliced diagonally
1 cup asparagus (raw or steamed), sliced diagonally
1 cup zucchini, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas
1 cup sprouts, tightly packed (e.g. sunflower, pea or other)
1 cup fresh herbs, tightly packed (e.g. mint, basil or dill)
2 kiwi fruit, chopped
1-2 yellow or orange carrots, sliced or grated
1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips
1 pint heirloom colored grape or other tomatoes
1 cup golden cauliflower florets
1 cup yellow beets (steamed or boiled), cubed
1-2 oranges or 1 grapefruit, bite sized pieces
1 mango, chopped
1 cup watermelon radish, cut into small cubes
1 red pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 cup beets (steamed or boiled), cubed
1 cup pomegranate seeds (or seeds from one pomegranate)
1-2 cups strawberries, sliced or raspberries
1/2 cup gogi berries
1 purple pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips
1-2 purple carrots, sliced or grated
1 cup purple cauliflower florets
1 cup roasted eggplant
1 cup blueberries or blackberries
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 salad turnips, sliced
1 small kohlrabi, cut in thin strips
1 small jicama, cut in thin strips
Choose at least 1-2 protein sources for your salad. Some great options are:
6-8 oz. smoked tofu, cubed
6-8 oz. tofu, cubed and sautéed with tamari, turmeric, herbs and spices
6-8 oz tempeh, cooked
1-2 cups chickpeas or other beans
1-2 cups lentils
1 cup hummus
4-8 falafel balls or other veggie balls
Choose one or two healthy fat sources to help enhance nutrient absorption from your meal.
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup tree nuts (e.g. pecans, walnuts, almonds)
1/4 cup seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower or hemp)
1 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup olives, whole pitted or sliced
Choose one starchy vegetable or grain to add calories and make the meal more satisfying.
1 sweet potato, steamed and cubed
1 purple or white potato, steamed and cubed
1 cup butternut squash (or other winter squash), steamed and cubed
1 cup corn
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked kamut or spelt
1 cup cooked wild rice
Add herbs for a boost of flavor and phytochemicals.
1/4 to 1/2 cup dill, parsley, basil or other fresh herbs
- Wash and prepare the vegetables as outlined above.
- Place the leafy vegetables in a large bowl.
- Top with other colorful vegetables.
- Add the plant protein source and starchy choices if eating the whole salad. If saving some of the salad for another day, keep the protein source, starchy choice and avocado separate and add just before serving.
- Serve with a nut or seed-based dressing.