Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Healthy" salad?! ^.^ Rant to follow...

I was watching the Food Network recently. I don't usually watch cooking shows (except for Chopped, which I find to be really fun! I like trying to think of what I would make with the ingredients and to see what really good chefs come up with) but I also am a weirdo who doesn't like silence, so I like to always have the TV on, even if I am not watching it. I flipped to some sort of Farmhouse cooking show and it seemed to have a nice vibe, so I left it.

I started to pay attention when the lady said she was going to make a healthy salad as an addition to her meal (which was delicious sounding and made with awesome fresh ingredients... but pretty much soaked in butter and an incredibly decadent, calorie rich meal). I was like, Oh! Good, a salad would be a great, light addition to the heavy meal.

Ah, well... here is the ingredients in her HEALTHY salad: romaine lettuce, potatoes roasted in oil and garlic, cheese (forget what kind, maybe cheddar), and BUTTERMILK dressing. That's it. The only vegetable was the lettuce.

Ok, guess we have different ideas of healthy.

Now, technically, it was a dish with whole, fresh ingredients (I think also everything was sourced locally?), everything homemade. That's a plus. I'll always be an advocate of making your food at home from great, fresh, seasonal ingredients. It's a great way to eat - for the environment and for our bodies. No chemicals, no packaging? Awesome!

But, come on!

If you wanted to make that salad, that's fine. It's your meal. But don't call it a healthy addition. It's just another part of an indulgent meal, that's all. It's not giving people a chance to fill up on tons of fresh vegetables prior to big meal, it's just another fat-laden side dish.

I think it just struck me in the moment, because it was clear the lady truly thought it was healthy. And I think a lot of other Americans would think so, too. Because, salad = healthy, right? 

This society has gotten so turned upside down and backwards when it comes to understanding nutrition. And I think the country, as a whole, has really messed up their taste buds and physiological responses to food. Not everything has to be drenched in butter or cream or oil to taste good. Food in it's natural form, well cooked and lightly seasoned can be amazing (I'm thinking broccoli roasted with garlic and black pepper or a really nice pork chop sauteed in a minimal amount of oil with rosemary, stuff like that)!

And I am all for having a few items or meals a week that ARE pretty decadent - being able to really taste the butter or whatever. But when I have a more decadent main meal, my salad sure isn't going to be covered in cheese and buttermilk dressing.

The balance is missing, and it's painfully obvious everywhere you look.

People want all the pleasure all the time, all the desserts, all the tasty snacks, all the convenient dinners, every day.

The reality of my life is lots of time spent buying fresh food, a lot of time spent preparing it, and it IS delicious (though not in the way lots of people would desire... I love the taste of my favorite vegetables, raw or lightly cooked, we don't use a lot of oils or butters, and only sparingly use salt).

I know everyone is free to do as they wish, I am not the food police! However, I think it just gets my goat a little when I see someone on TV call that salad healthy. You're free to make and eat anything you desire, but let's not fool ourselves. And let's not propagate ridiculous notions of what healthy is.

I've watched Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and I never get annoyed at that type of show - because they never try to come across as healthy! They know the food they are making is basically entertainment, it's not about eating well. So I think I just like honesty and a little self-awareness, haha!

Last night, Chris got to splurge and get a really nice grass-fed steak from the co-op. I am not a big beef/steak lover (though I eat ground beef a few times a month) so I made my own tasty dinner. I had a turkey burger in a lettuce "bun" with an egg and turkey bacon on top, served with roasted sweet potatoes and a veggie mix:


It was super tasty and I was super satisfied. We had our Paleo banana ice cream afterwards (blended up frozen banana with frozen blueberries to make a great dessert!).

So, sorry for the rant today... it is just frustrating to see people living in denial about what healthy really means and pushing that agenda forward. I think it's important to be educated and to make educated choices (and if you still choose the buttermilk cheese potato salad, that's fine... but just be honest about what it really is!).

That's it for me today ;)


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