What is A Year of Salad?
A Year of Salad is my attempt at trying to eat healthier, to get a handle on my weight and to try to increase my physical and mental health and well being by eating one greens based salad a day. The catch? I’ve pretty much hated and loathed salad for pretty much my whole life.
The closest I’ve ever been to liking salad is the occasional bit of veggies either wrapped in a tortilla or hanging out in the middle of two slices of bread along with some some sort of meat, or meat-like patty.
If you don’t like salad, then why are you doing this?
Part of my inspiration came from a TED talk by the title of “Hooked, Hacked, Hijacked: Reclaim Your Brain from Addictive Living,” by Pam Peeke for TEDxWallStreet. It basically covers reversing food addition, as well as other addictive behavior, and it all boils down to eating greens. While I’m not about to hang my hat on one study, it really piqued my interest.
Food addiction is something that I’ve struggled like hell with over the years. I’ve come to realize that I spent a good portion of my childhood and early adult life stuffing my face because my life and circumstances sucked. Simply put, you don’t come out of abuse, watching people around you die and experience disease, learning challenges, and spending a childhood being constantly bullied, unscathed.
That said, several years ago, I changed my diet around (primarily due to health problems from fibromyalgia and borderline chronic fatigue), and through that process realized I had a very real problem with food and overeating. I tried several approaches and managed to get my eating in line, lost about 100lbs, and was able to get rid of almost all of my health problems along the way. I wasn’t quite down to my target weight, but overall felt much better.
That is until, starting in January of 2014, I went through a job loss, having to move back in with family, going back to school, a career change, losing touch with most of my social support system (mostly because of the across state move), and then my Dad being diagnosed with colon cancer in April of 2015.
Over the past two years or so, I’ve been waging a war against my habits as my stress has increased, and those habits in turn have waged a war against my body, causing about 40lbs of weight gain (in my case, moving me from about a 30″ waist, to a 34.5 – 35″ waist), anxiety attacks, sudden struggles with ADD, and food cravings that I haven’t experienced since puberty.
I’ve tried exercising, meditating, and about every other thing that I can think of to get myself back on track, but nothing has allowed me to get much of a foothold into my health and mental well being. That’s when I remembered the previously mentioned TED talk, and figured that, even with all of my food cravings, I could probably tackle about one salad a day.
The other reason is to see if one salad a day could really make a difference.
Most diets and other self imposed lifestyle experiments that I’ve seen tend to be very all or nothing. All veggies, all raw veggies, no carbs, slow carbs, etc. Overall, while maybe doable for some folks, pretty unachievable for the average person who’s stressed, sleep deprived, and left with almost no will power by the end of their day.
Eating one salad a day is something I can do, because I’m already going to take the time to eat (it’s not like I have to try schedule it, like my old nemesis, regular exercise), and if I can still eat some chocolate cake and pizza, then I’m pretty sure I can suck it up and eat some dry, bitter, overall lame greens with some other veggies once a day.
So, join me on my crazy, year long, salad journey to see what (if any) benefits it brings… and if not, the crazy greens hating rants I’ll be going on during this project. 😉