Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Introducing Cooking Shirtless with John - The Man Salad

Cooking Shirtless with John

The Man Salad - Eats Like a Meal

I’m really excited to introduce everyone to the man salad video and through association the Cooking Shirtless with John (erhh . . . self-produced) web series. The genesis of the video came from my roommates commenting on how tasty the salads I was making looked. And the fact that New York apartments are hot in the summer, prohibitively hot for shirts.

Salads are a great way to get your daily intake of raw and cooked vegetables. My parents introduced vegetables to me at a young age, before I even knew to say no, and over the years they have become a bigger and bigger part of my diet.  
At first, the vegetables I ate were . . . . limited, but through a concerted effort to eat to perform better in sports and improve my general sense of well-being, the selection of not just vegetables, but fruits, seeds, mushrooms and beans in my diet have increased considerably in number. A great deal of the increase can be attributed to reading the works of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, specifically, The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life.  I first came across Dr. Fuhrman’s book when I ran into a friend and noted how great he looked (thank goodness for friends who inspire through looks, I mean well-being). He said he had started implementing a lot of the methods and foods in Dr. Fuhrman’s book and that I should read it and give it a try. Sidenote, he said his improved diet meant he didn’t have to workout as much, which the lazy, I mean busy person I am, really saw some added value in.

I will confess that some of what Dr. Fuhrman writes can be a little intense, but his works do build from the foundations of what is considered a healthy a diet and then they take it to another level by emphasizing foods that are nutrient rich and work to keep you healthy and at an ideal weight.

Which brings me back to the Man Salad and the practice of eating salads as a meal instead of an appetizer, side or starter dish. There are so many nutrient rich foods to get into your diet that creating a meal or dish can be complicated. Salads are a simple and functional way to maximize the number of raw vegetables and nutrient rich foods into one dish. The thing I had to get comfortable with was not limiting the amount of ingredients. In fairness, I wouldn’t say the salad is a culinary masterpiece, but it gets the job done. In my basic Man Salad I include all of the below:

  • Spring Lettuce Mix w/ Spinach*
  • Romaine Lettuce*
  • Green Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Grape Tomatoes*
  • Sweet Peppers (Red, Yellow and Orange)
  • Portobello Mushrooms*
  • Carrots
  • Avocado
  • Turkey Meat
  • Craisins
  • White Cheddar Cheese
  • Sea Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Vinaigrette Dressing

Time for the technical breakdown:

This salad definitely eats like a meal and keeps me full through the night. The starred (*) ingredients are known as some of the top foods for fighting fat, because of either their phytochemical or polyphenols concentrations. A spring mix of lettuce is a great way to get a lot of the most nutrient rich cruciferous vegetables into your salad. Through compounds in these foods you can help fight inflammation in the body, prevent fat production and boost the body’s natural detoxification system. Green vegetables, like the green peppers are super rich in antioxidant nutrients and the cucumbers have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The red, yellow and orange sweet peppers are rich in vitamins and nutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. They also help boost your immune system and promote healthier skin and eyes. The portobello mushrooms are a great immune system booster, help fat fight deposition in the body, and increase the types of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. The tomatoes in the salad are another super-food packed with vitamins and phytonutrients, specifically several carotenoids. Tomatoes have been shown in studies to promote cardiovascular health, bone health and to have strong antioxidant capabilities. Avocado is a great source of monounsaturated fat and it’s inclusion in the salad can help with the uptake of the nutrients like carotenoids found in the other ingredients. Additionally diets including avocado have been shown in studies to have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. The final couple of ingredients (vinaigrette dressing, salt, pepper, cheese and craisins) I use a flavoring devices.

Hope you enjoy! Let me know your thoughts. And if you have any healthy recipes for me to try, send them my way (john@jkffh.com)