In the last year, the amount of questions I’ve gotten about food confusion–confusion about what to eat, how much to eat, what is intuitive eating vs. what is actually just following cravings, what makes up an ideal proportion of meal components–has increased a lot. I don’t know if it’s a cumulation of way too much focus on nutrition-ism, fad diets and sensationalism in the media, an increase in individuals transitioning to vegetarian or plant-based ways of eating, long months of COVID stay-at-homes, or something else.
But just know, if you’re confused about what a healthy way of eating looks like, or you struggle a lot with food and your body, or you’ve followed so many restrictive ways of eating in order to heal but are still in chronic illness, you are definitely not alone.
But also, settling for an unhappy status quo or giving up is not the answer.
One thing that’s safe to say is that most of us are better at making little changes gradually rather than making sweeping overhauls in how we eat. And another is it’s likely you eat less vegetables than you think. As much as exotic and trendy superfoods seem so much more exciting, most vegetables are actually the real superfoods on our everyday plates.
So as you wind down your summer, have a few meals on the go after active summer adventures, or transition into a more structured back-to-school / back-to-work schedule, here’s an update on a fairly standard mid-day lunch. The Salad Sandwich.
There are many ways to go about making this, but the idea is that you’re eating a balanced plate meal in sandwich form. Whole grain bread, shredded root vegetables, lots of leafy greens and a hummus spread. Condiments to add texture, the six flavors to satisfy taste buds and to help digest the meal, and if you can’t stuff your sandwich quite so full to add *enough* veg, a side salad with the remaining filling components to balance the meal out.
That’s the idea anyway. Every summer of late, I’ve had an ideal repeat meal. Below is a brief list of some of my past ones. This salad sandwich is the 2021 rendition.
Roasted Zucchini and Crookneck Squash with Pumpkin Seeds, Oregano and Olives
All-Healing Anti-Inflammatory Green Soup and Sourdough
Zucchini Noodles, Crookneck Squash, Garlic, and Pesto using All-The-Greens Interchangeable Pesto
Salad Sandwich, Serves 1
1 cup Hummus, my favorite recipe below
1 medium beet, finely shredded
1 large carrot, finely shredded
2 cups romaine or other leafy greens
1-2 Tbs. herbs of choice – Mint, Basil, Fennel Tops, finely minced
1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard, optional
1-2 Tbs. of something pickled, such as quick-pickled onions or radish, sliced olives, or sauerkraut
2-4 tortilla chips, optional
2 slices thick, whole-grain (preferably sourdough) bread
- Wash hands with soap and water.
- Prepare your toppings. Then make the sandwiches by either toasting the bread to start, or leaving untoasted.
- Spread the bread with a thick layer of hummus on each side, and a little Dijon mustard, as desired.
- Then layer the shredded roots, herbs, pickled condiments, and greens. Top with a couple crunchy chips and then finish with your other slice of hummus-ed bread.
- Combine any extra filling components in a small bowl and combine together. If you’d like a little dressing to finish it off, a little drizzle of olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice is often super nice.
Easy to Digest Hummus, serves 4
1 tsp. ghee (or use untoasted sesame oil)
2 tsp. untoasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp. mineral salt
1 tsp. kombu, wakame, or bladderwrack seaweed (dried)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup whole mung beans (soaked at least 6 hours)
3 Tbs. tahini
Juice from 1/4 lemon, or more to taste
- Wash hands with soap and water.
- Heat the ghee and sesame oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Then add the salt, dried seaweed, and spices. Simmer until an aroma is present. Then add the soaked and drained mung beans; stir and simmer for another minute or two.
- Add water to above the beans by a couple inches. Then bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the beans are soft and breaking apart.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Then blend the beans and their cooking liquid with the tahini and lemon. Add additional water to thin if needed.