The breakfast salad meditation
By Nancy B. Loughlin
(Published in News Press on December 3, 2013. Posted with permission.)
I started eating salad for breakfast after I threw up on Six Mile Cypress Parkway.
Forgive the TMI.
It was spring 2010, and I wasn’t enjoying my run. The sweet energy bar I had gobbled was a brick in my belly. I was feeling aggressive and angry, and my body was dead weight.
Two miles in, that energy bar was in a puddle on the pavement, and I was rethinking breakfast.
Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run, became a breakfast salad convert. Why? “Because a monster salad is loaded with nutrient-rich carbs and low in fat, I could stuff myself and not feel hungry – or queasy – when it came time to work out,” he wrote.
I was sold, and salad is now my pre-workout choice.
But, if salad is so good before an athletic endeavor, why not choose salad as the perfect start to an ordinary day?
I’m not talking about a wedge of iceberg lettuce with a river of bottled blue cheese dressing.
The Sunday night prep work for three days of my breakfast salad lasts 15 minutes.
I fill a bowl with my favorite firm, fresh, organic vegetables chopped into bite-sized pieces: fennel, carrots, orange and red peppers, leeks or green onions, a can of rinsed beans (garbanzo, kidney, pinto or white) and cherry tomatoes.
Then, I splash a light dressing. Even though they have higher sugar content, I’m a fan of balsamic vinegars, particularly the Red Grapefruit at Milazzo’s Oil and Balsamics at the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers. This covered bowl of fresh vegetables will stay crisp in the refrigerator for about three days.
In the morning, I shred some of my favorite leafy greens (spinach, kale, or arugula) and toss them with two heaping cups of the prepared salad mix. A few berries, chopped walnuts, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and chia), and my breakfast is ready.
Color is the name of the game. According to Dr. Amy Emme, owner of AHA, a Cape Coral wellness center, colors have vibrations. The more food stimulates and engages the senses, the greater the boost to the metabolism. She noted that the salad is obviously healthy with loads of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, lasting protein from the beans, and good oils from the nuts.
But more importantly, it’s food in its healthiest form, unaltered and unprocessed. The breakfast salad will make anyone alert, aware, conscious and prepared.
Emme explained the meal’s lightness keeps the body in creation mode because body systems aren’t preoccupied with breaking down the typical American breakfast.
“Food was designed in perfection,” she said. “Food is the greatest medicine.”
In yoga, vegetarian meals are mostly sattvic. Sattva is the creative force of our universe. Sattva is about intelligence, consciousness, light and love. A sattvic diet is rich in raw and organic plant-based foods. It’s food that’s alive, prepared with love and didn’t travel thousands of miles to the plate.
We are what we eat, and sattvic people with sattvic diets live in harmony with their environments and other people.
That’s how I want to feel when I enter the world each day.