How To Eat Salad
We recently visited the Chimacum Corner Farmstand to get some vegetable starts. We planted a variety of seeds in early April, which are coming up nicely, but we’re hedging our bets with some starts—plus it’s good to compare what kind of yields we get between the two.
Our bounty included: cabbage, arugula, leeks, shallots, storage onions, chard, lettuce, mustard, sage, and borage (to attract bees).
As we were driving back from the farmstand, we got into a discussion about GARDEN SALADS and how BALANCED they are from a 5 ELEMENT EATING perspective.
We asked the question: “What’s the best way to prepare and eat your basic garden-variety, garden salad to get the best return on your investment in time, money and digestive energy.
Raw Vegetables Can Inhibit Digestion
Generally speaking, vegetables should be eaten as part of a larger meal that includes a diverse group of ingredients. This is because raw vegetables are energetically COLD, and your digestive system requires FIRE to break down the food you eat.
Adding raw vegetables into your digestive system is like putting wet wood into a woodstove or fire place. Do this enough times and the digestive ‘fire’ smolders and you wind up with poor digestion.
Because raw salad is ENERGETICALLY COLD it can be used on hot, summer days to cool your body, but if your digestion is already weak, a raw salad is not a good idea any time.
When we think of ‘wilted’ salad, the image is of vegetables that belong in the compost, not on your plate. But ‘wilting’ is a traditional way of preparing garden greens to make them easily digestible.
Wilting salad greens is very simple: warm them in a pan until the edges are slightly wilted.
Basically, you’re using the heat of your stove to jumpstart the digestive process, rather than spending more of your precious digestive energy than you need to.
Balanced Five Element Garden Salad
BALANCE from a Five Element perspective means that all five tastes of food are included in a dish (preferably), or together in an overall meal.
So a ‘balanced’ Five Element garden salad can include spinach (BITTER); mustard greens (SPICY), and butter crunch, oak leaf, romaine or another kind of lettuce (SWEET).
Then, for the SOUR and SALTY tastes, you can use a simple, homemade salad dressing by combining sesame oil, lemon juice and tamari. (You can substitute vinegar for lemon juice and soy sauce for tamari.)
Keep your digestive FIRE on a low burn
Preparing a Garden Salad
This is the SIMPLE and EASY process we use at BIOM to prepare garden greens:
• Lightly oil a pan big enough to hold your salad greens, using untoasted sesame or olive oil. Turn the heat on ‘medium.” Add the greens when the pan is heated, and toss them for 30 seconds to one minute. Remove from pan when the edges of the leaves start to wilt.
• Turn into a salad bowl and toss with your favorite dressing—which you’ve chosen to balance the tastes—and ENJOY!
Wilting changes the ENERGY of the vegetables from ‘cold’ to ‘mildly-warm’—which is the kind of energy that maintains a healthy digestive system.
Learn to listen to what your body is telling you.