Brain Food: Salad Edition

by Dave Farrow

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Let’s talk about salads.
Eating more vegetables and fresh ones at that, is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Add avocado and blueberries and you have a brain food masterpiece. Done right, it is low calorie, high vitamin, keeps you regular and tastes amazing.
So why do salads get such a bad rap?  For years salads have been the foundation of every joke about getting healthy. Salad eaters are called rabbits, dull, boring and worse … vegetarian.
Okay…that was a joke, but the fact is, salads are an amazing way to pack nutrient rich food into one single meal. So I am here to bust some myths about salads and encourage you to go green (and orange and red and purple and every color under the sun.) Your brain and memory will thank you.

Salad Myths

Salads are Boring 
The fact is, salad does not need to be boring.  When I make a salad it has all sorts of ingredients like olives, feta cheese, broccoli, artichoke hearts, avocado and wild rice. Salad is just a collection of chopped food, usually vegetables, served cold. So add the flavor.
Good ingredients cost a lot.
If you read the last line you may respond that it’s nice to afford feta cheese and artichoke hearts but on my income I can’t do that. I’m here to say you can. I grew up poor and bought these ingredients myself. Think of spending a dollar on a bag of chips or $3-$5 for a fine food ingredient like feta or artichoke hearts – it seems like a lot but I would use that up in a month on several meals. The cost per meal breaks down to pennies. Do the math yourself, this is not about class, income, or politics. Eating at home, making your own food is better for you and healthier. If you eat from a box in the frozen food section, then healthy costs more, but if you eat from scratch then it really is cheaper.
It takes too much time!  
Making food at home does take more time than fast food or reheating stuff. But You can delegate chopping different items to different family members and with practice, you can get faster and the food will get better. Don’t be afraid to pick up the knife and make your meal.
Dressing is the best part but it’s the worst for you
The dressing does not have to be a thousand calories to taste good. I am tired of seeing so called health food in the form of salads with dressing that has more fat than a big mac. Let’s take dressing back.
The ultimate guide to making salad dressings.

The ultimate guide to making salad dressings.

Research shows turning to a more natural diet has reversed memory loss and increased brain health in his elderly patients. I have found more energy, better health, and a sharper mind from a better diet.
Here is a fun chart on homemade dressings. Try them out and make your own.
So the question to me is not how much does it cost to eat healthy but how much does it cost to not eat healthy?


Dave Farrow

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Pauline February 5, 2015 - 9:05 pm

Hello Dave Farrow:

I am curious…..and very disappointed.
Why would you forego being a vegetarian after twenty years????? I “converted” to vegetarianism about five years ago and haven’t looked back. My reasons??? Compassion for animals being the top priority, …and secondly, chemicals. Need I say more??
Thank you beforehand for your reply.
– Pauline –

andrea May 13, 2015 - 7:22 pm

Hi Pauline,

Dave watched a documentary called “Fat Head” that convinced him to eat meat again. It gave some very compelling information about faulty information we’ve all believed for years. Basically some important info was buried because it did not match up with one scientist’s prevailing theory about the foods we eat. I recommend watching it. And believe me, when my vegetarian husband suddenly told me he was eating meat again, I did a double take!

Dave originally became vegetarian for health reasons, to improve upon some health conditions that challenged him since birth – there were some complications and some doctors said he would not live longer than a few months. At 14 he learned how to cook vegetables, long before they made vegetarian options available in grocery stores or restaurants.

He mainly eats meat in moderation, and as a way to make food easier when he travels for business. In some airports, the only vegetable you can find is a french fry!

I love your reasons for your vegetarian choice. Just be sure that you get all the nutrients for a healthy diet. Many vegetarians just eat pasta and veggies and do not get enough protein from meat alternatives.

Thanks for your comment.

cathy munson February 9, 2015 - 10:50 pm

Thank you so much for the chart to make your own salad dressings. I call my salads “the big ass salad”. There never the same because of the choices for fresh vegis. I usually eat them “naked” because anymore a lot of food just scares me, you really don’t know what it is especially when you can’t even pronounce the ingredients. I will definitely be trying out some of these dressings from you. Thanks again and keep up the great work you are doing!! Cathy!


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