This week it is National Salad Week. I love these ‘National Weeks’, I’m not sure who thinks them up or schedules them but they are a great tool for focusing attention on various causes and ideas.
Personally, I love salad in all it’s various forms but it has a kind of reputation that links it inexorably with ‘dieting’ and weight loss.
There are of course a multitude of dishes that can come under the general umbrella of ‘salad’. Just looking through any of the big name chefs’ books will produce a long list of them, some involving pasta, rice, potatoes and meat or fish as well as all the vegetables we tend to think of. One of my favourites is a Bill Grainger squid salad which he describes as ‘Glam’!
One of the reasons I love salad is that I like the freshness of the flavours. Good use of herbs in the leaves can liven up any number of rather plain ones and you can’t beat a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar.
Part of my approach to weight loss with my clients, however, us that I do not advise on diet (in the broadest sense of the word). This process is not a diet, it is a long term solution and learning to adopt healthier habits is the goal, incorporation a healthier diet and possibly increasing excersise. So why am I here banging on about salad? Because as I said before you can incorporate a number of foods into a salad and I just think they are a great way to eat great nutritious food.
Often our habits are to blame for excess weight. Of course it’s often emotional but we also sink into bad food habits and learning to approach food in a new way is key. For some people this can mean trying new foods or foods they don’t like and learning to enjoy them and incorporate them.
When we wean our children we are told that they need to eat a food 20 times in order to accept it as a flavour they enjoy. By adulthood we have often formed our opinions of most foods but these can be changed. We can learn to think twice about eating foods that are not so good for us and equally we can train ourselves to enjoy foods we may think we don’t like.
A few months ago I was listening to Heston Blumenthal on the radio discussing how we taste food and our perceptions. For anyone not familiar with Heston’s work he likes experimental flavours (snail porridge anyone?). He suggests that to acquire a taste for anything that you simply need to eat it daily until you do like it.
So, even if it hasn’t been your favourite food before I would urge you to experiment with salads of varying types. Go easy on the dressings and incorporate a variety of colours and keep on trying them until you find a few that you like!