The Body Healer


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Salads are the most versatile of meals.  They can be small and eaten as an appetizer, or they can be eaten as a main meal.  They can be eaten as a dessert when filled with a selection of fruits and sweet veggies, or used as a filling for wraps.

While many of us associate the word "salad" with "healthy," in the standard American diet, the opposite has become much more typical.  Healthy salads quickly turn into unhealthy, high fat, dense foods that rob us of our energy and degrade our health.  Let's talk about what the main ingredients of a healthy salad should be and what to avoid completely.  Then, we'll check out some exciting combinations of foods and flavors we can create.

What salads should have...

Salads should always have a main base (75%) of either fruits or vegetables that are less dense and high in water content.  These whole foods not only digest much quicker in our bodies, but because they are high in water content, they naturally hydrate the cells and tissues of our bodies.
High in water content
(Lighter, less dense foods)
Low in water content
(Heavier, more dense foods)
  • Greens (lettuce, kale, Swiss chard)
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Tomato
  • Carrots
  • Sprouts
  • Onion
  • Bell peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet corn
  • Jicama
  • Avocado
  • Root veggies (potatoes, beets, yams, parsnips, turnips)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Winter Squash (butternut, acorn)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
  • Grains (rice, wheat berries)
  • Pseudo grains (quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth)
  • Animal products* (meat, eggs, dairy)

What to avoid...

Avoid refined food of any kind.  Let's take a look at a few examples:
  • Soy Products
    The only soy that should ever make its way into your mouth is non-GMO whole soybeans (also known as edamame).  Processed soy meat and soy derivatives are now found in most packaged foods and is the main item in many vegetarian and vegan foods.  There is nothing healthy about processed soy.  Nix it from your diet completely.

  • Liquid Oils
    Liquid oils are a 100% fat fractionated product.  If you often use olive oil, coconut oil, flax seed oil, avocado oil, or other oils, nix them in favor of getting your fats from whole foods instead (avocado instead of avocado oil; flax seeds instead of flax seed oil, olives instead of olive oil).

    If you use liquid oils, use them in very small quantities (no more than 1 tsp. for an individual portion) and aim for:
    - Unrefined / cold pressed
    - Non-GMO
    - Nut or seed oils (olive, coconut, avocado, walnut, flax seed, hemp, pistachio, etc.)

  • Factory-farmed Animal Products*
    If you include animal products in your diet, always make sure your dairy is unpasteurized and that your eggs, meat, and dairy come from organic and pasture-raised animals.  Seafood should be wild-caught, not farmed.  Limit portions to 2-3 times each week at most.  By choosing organic and pasture-raised, you help make sure that you avoid purchasing any "factory-farmed" meat.  If you are not familiar with what factory-farmed meat is and why you should stay away from it, read the following articles:

    Why you should avoid factory-farmed meat & dairy...
    How to make responsible & safe meat purchasing decisions... 
    Making safe seafood decisions... 
    Raw vs. pasteurized dairy:  A big difference...

  • Unnatural Ingredients
    Always aim for whole food ingredients that come from nature.  If you are including anything from a package, pay very close attention to the ingredient list.  If you see chemicals such as flavorings, colorings, artificial preservatives, or something you don't recognize as healthy, then put it back on the shelf and don't look back.

A word about salad dressings...

When it comes to salad dressings, ditch the packaged dressings and make your own instead.  Why?  Because most commercial dressings contain processed sugar, high sodium content, and a concoction of food colorings, flavorings, and other chemicals that are very unhealthy.  
Experiment with the following combinations of ingredients:
  • Citrus juice and/or rind (lemon, lime, orange...)
  • Herbs & Seasonings (sea salt, cracked pepper, oregano, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, sage, turmeric...)
  • Vinegar (balsamic, white, apple cider, red wine...)
  • Natural sweeteners (honey, coconut sugar, sucanat...)
  • Tomato paste
  • Garlic / onion / shallots
  • Mustard
  • Ginger
  • Nutritional yeast (for a cheese flavor)
  • Liquid oils* (olive, avocado, grapeseed, coconut, walnut, pecan...)
If you choose to use oil, choose a high quality, healthy oil and use it in VERY small quantities (see above, in "what to avoid").
One More Thing

Make sure your produce is ripe when you eat it, or it will be lower in nutritional value and more difficult for your body to digest.  Wherever possible, choose organic produce over conventional.  Here's why...

Fun Combo Ideas

When it comes to making a salad, have fun mixing and matching your favorite veggies together.  Mixing in fruits and dried fruits and trying different combinations of herbs and spices is a great way to make a salad more flavorful and tasty.  Experiment and see what tantalizes your taste buds!  

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Sweet 'n Sprouty Salad
Sweet 'n Sprouty Salad
Brussels Sprouts
Pine nuts (or walnuts, crushed or halved)
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
This salad is one of my favorites.  The flavor combination is addictive!

Brussels sprouts taste wonderful raw!  In fact, they are not bitter at all.  It's the cooking process that causes the sprouts to develop that strong, slightly bitter taste.  We always have our sprouts raw.  Simply wash, cut off the stalks, and chop.  Separate the leaves and mix with all other ingredients.

Wash sprouts, chop off the stalks, and cut into quarters.  Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 mins on 400°.  Roughly chop again and mix with other ingredients.   
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Fig & walnut salad
Figs 'n Feta
Fresh, ripe figs
Walnuts, crushed or halved
Feta, crumbled
Your favorite mixed greens
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
Toss all ingredients together and serve!
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Eggplant sailboat
Eggplant Sailboat
1 Japanese eggplant (sub zucchini)
Your favorite chopped greens
Cut open the eggplant longways and slice off two thin slices for the sails.  Hollow out the center of the eggplant and chop up into small pieces.  Mix eggplant center with carrots and peas and toss in your favorite dressing.
Slide a toothpick through the top and bottom of each eggplant slice to create the sail.  Then, insert the sail into the wide end of each eggplant (see pic).  Sprinkle with greens and serve!
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Orange & spinach salad
Orange, Spinach, & Pomegranate Salad
Fresh spinach
Orange wedges
Juice of 1 lemon
Arrange wedges on spinach leaves and scatter pomegranate seeds.  Squeeze lemon and a wedge of orange over salad and serve.
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Avocado boat
Avocado Boat
Avocado, halved
Tomatoes, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Olives, sliced
Sweet corn
Bell peppers, chopped (yellow, red, & green)
Sea salt & ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix ingredients together and serve on halved avocados.
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Sweet corn rainbow salad
Sweet Corn Rainbow Salad
Sweet corn
Red bell pepper, chopped
Cucumber, chopped
Celery, chopped
Garlic, chopped
Parsley for garnish
Mix, chill, and serve.
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Shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake Lettuce Bowl
1 cup shiitake mushrooms
Vegetable bouillon
Garlic, chopped or minced
Sea salt & ground pepper
1/4 cup water
Lettuce or mixed greens
Heat pan on medium and dissolve high quality vegetable bouillon in water (I highly recommend Better Than Bouillon).  Add mushrooms and toss well.  Cover and cook for 6 mins, stirring occasionally.  Turn heat to low and add garlic and favorite seasonings for 1 more min.  Drain mushrooms and serve on a bed of greens.
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