Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nutrition: On Becoming A Salad Convert

As a runner I rarely went for salads. I like to maximize my calorie intake efficiency. Making a salad seems to consume just about as many calories as it provides. But, my wife has always helped ensure I eat a salad by making them even when I cook our dinner.

I don’t subscribe to fad diets but we do follow the age-old wisdom of eating our veggies.  And being a 90% vegetarian, fresh quality veggies are critical.

Over the last couple of years I have become a salad convert. Yes, it’s true. I even read the salad listings at restaurants now instead of skipping that section. It all started by joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) supplied by River Road Gardens that provides the best tasting and diverse greens.
River Road Gardens, Tucson, AZ

I live in mid-town Tucson and I get all my veggies from a farm a mile from my house! To get to the farm I bump down the city road (due to our infamous Tucson potholes), over the ghost of a river which once irrigated this land, and around the bend to the farm. A whole acre of it. Settled along the ancient river flood terraces and in what once was a historic agricultural community with deep sandy loam and organic enriched soil.

Farmers Jon and Emily, River Road Gardens
Farmers Jon and Emily own River Road Gardens, an urban, biodynamic farm, and cultivate the land shared in a unique relationship with the Tucson Waldorf School. I chat with them and get a sense of the season, the soil, the insects, the ups, the downs, each week when we pick up our produce share.

Beets, mixed salad greens, kale, pak-choi, and swiss chard pack me with a power house of nutritious green energy through the cool season. These veggies form the base for my meals and snacks throughout the day including green smoothies blended with almonds or cashews for morning energy. Liquid salad!

Liquid salad is a great way to eat your greens on the go plus stay hydrated! Despite odd visual inspections and dubious comments by others it can be easily flavored to suit your taste buds.

Having my own small backyard garden along with farm produce, I typically have excess. Fermentation or freezing is the secret to preserving excess well into the next season. About anything can be easily lacto-fermented including carrots, beets, cabbage, chard stems, peppers, cucumbers, and more. According to Sandor Katz ferments pack a vitamin B punch too!
Winter veggies harvested from my backyard garden
Now as my freezer slowly empties of stashed frozen chard and kale to make my summer time smoothies, I’ll have a brief pause before fall greens start growing again.

Warm season veggies harvested from my backyard garden

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