When people ask me what i eat in a typical day, while staring at me and my 6ft3 frame.. they find it hard to believe i consume a hearty vitamin packed salad almost every day.
There is this idea that if you do alot of exercise and you’re maybe even big like me, you need alot of carbs in your diet. Not true. When i was competitive in cycling many years ago i did consume alot carbs in my diet for the extreme amount of mileage i was doing. But today i am 48 and not a serious athlete anymore. I do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or CWT (Circuit Weight Training) workouts that last no more than 30-40 minutes and only every other day. I then do fast walks in-between those workout days for 1 hour at most and at a very high rate most of the time. So while i am not a serious athlete anymore, i am serious about staying in shape and keeping healthy; i need to do this without stressing myself out over every meal or snack.
Salads like the three i display in this post have more than enough calories to supply my frame – 400-700 depending on size and the oils/nuts i use. I want to enjoy what i eat and feel satisfied mentally and physically so lean meat in any form is important for me and it should be for you! Preferably grain fed and wild fish, not farmed. Don’t get hung up on this aspect of meat because our world doesn’t make obtaining these very easy.
There is no rule with salads in my mind, but you can make weird ones if you’re not careful. I generally use one of three meat types in my salads; BBQ chicken, smoked salmon or roast lamb. I always have meat in the fridge that i have cooked prior and use for a few days for snacks and salads. When i BBQ on the weber, i tend to do another load of meat for the fridge and maximize the use of coals that are still hot. In my salads i use rocket or spinach and supplement this with nuts – either walnuts, macadamia’s or almonds. Raw nuts – no salted or roasted versions! Lastly, i might add a fruit of sorts like watermelon, rock-melon, mango or even blueberries. If i am short on fruit that i tend to make it a savory salad and go with gherkins and olives or something similar.
Lastly i drizzle generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil over these and some balsamic vinegar. Simple! I find if i make a good salad and it has fruit in it, i often don’t need alot of dressing. My wife prefers just olive oil on hers.
NOTE: Stay away from commercial dressings, they are either loaded with canola oil, salts and preservatives AND the low fat versions are loaded with sugars in quantities higher than that of soda drinks like Coke or Fanta! In the order of 12-18g per 100g. I think soda drinks are normally about 9-11g per 100g – i don’t know the ounce equivalent but you get the idea.
Tomato of course is a good option in any salad, which is what my wife often uses in her salads. However i am a little intolerant of nightshade foods so i stay clear of them – bear this in mind. Raw tomatoes, capsicum, aubergine, pimentos and potatoes all belong to this family. They are “Alkaloids” and cause itching for me around the kidneys and shins, especially when i eat capsicum and pimentos more than any of the others. I avoid potatoes regardless because i personally follow a “Primal” style diet (for lack of better wording) which focuses more on meats with vegetables and fruit aswell as some complex carbs (starches) on occasion, like sweet potatoes or yams – not often though.
The key is to have fresh rocket, spinach or iceberg salads available in the fridge draws every few days and keep up extra amounts of meat on the cooking side when prepping dinners. The rest is easy and fast!