Salad Dressing – The Secret to a High Veg Diet

To be healthy, slim and feel full of energy and vitality you need to really review the type of fuel (food) that you’re running on. It’s common sense. Garbage in, garbage out. Great food in, great results.

I recommend a very high vegetable diet. It’s not just that I know the results work, not just for me and my chubby genes, but for many people I’ve advised on reversing chronic health problems at Napiers the Herbalists. And the science is slowly and surely catching up. Having your 5 a day is being reconsidered to having your 7 or 10 a day, out of which most should be vegetables not fruits. Carbohydrates (bread, pasta, potatoes, roots) convert to sugar in the body. They should only be consumed in very small amounts and then only in the cold winter months when the body needs extra fuel.

I always recommend that your plate divides up as follows:
75% vegetables (but not potatoes)
15% protein (fish, wild or grass fed meats, tofu)
5% fats (nuts, seeds, oil)
5% low GI carbs (or if eliminating carbs, more veg).
This is very simplistic as foods cross over into other groups but it works as a visual guide to what the right balance is. Draw these divisions onto a cheap white plate with a ceramic marker pen and fire it in the oven to keep you visually on track!

Home grown and wild salad and vegetables

Home grown and wild salad and vegetables

To change your diet radically, I also suggest that you start with a 3 or 5 day juice reboot. This is when you drink 4-5 glasses of juices (at least 50% vegetable) during the day for 3 to 5 days with only coconut water and herbal teas in between. Done over a long weekend it is easy to manage.

Beetroot, Orange, Kale, Lemon and Ginger Juice

Beetroot, Orange, Kale, Lemon and Ginger Juice

The trick is to buy everything you need at the beginning so that you are organised. The 5 day one is the best because it gives you long enough to really see the results. On day 2 and 3 some people get headaches but these quickly pass. The first few days can be harder as you still get carb cravings. But by Day 5 these have all vanished, freeing you up to really enjoy your new veg-based, vitality diet.

Our gut cannot break down everything we eat on its own. In your gut you have millions of bacteria vital to your body – in fact if you could take them all out they would weigh the same as your brain – and we can’t properly digest our food without the help of these friendly bacteria. But modern living has changed the balance of our microbiome. Research on hunter-gather communities shows that your average city dweller has only 40% of the bacterial variety of a traditional hunter-gatherer with far less of the bacteria species for breaking down plants.

So the first thing your body has to work on is changing that balance. Simplistically… if you’ve had a high carb/sugar diet, your body will have more of those bacteria (lets call them bacteria C), and if you hardly eat any veg you will hardly have any bacteria V (for veg). So if you dramatically change your diet, bacteria C (saying “Where’s ma loaf an tatties gone?!”) will create carb cravings (hunger pangs) while bacteria V will be having to multiply rapidly (Where’s all the veg suddenly coming from? We need reinforcements to get through this lot.”) I recommend the juice reboot with total carb/sugar elimination for 5 days simply because it gets the discomfort over and done with quickly in 5 days. If you get organised, everyone can manage 5 days. Honest!

Once your vegetable intake is high enough, your gut flora changes and those carb cravings vanish, you start to feel full of energy, your skin clears up and your weight drops.. The bacteria settle down in the right quantities and are quietly content. If I get disorganised and I don’t always have enough veg to hand (sadly they go off so need picking/shopping every second day), what happens is that my veg intake drops and then I get carb hunger and break my regime. The carb bacteria C quickly remultiply and then you have to reduce them all over again with the accompanying cravings. So the key is to shop little and often and make sure that the divisions you’ve drawn on your plate are kept to – then the rest is easy. Carbs become an occasional item – hopefully baked yourself so you know what’s in them and they’re good quality carbs.

One common excuse I am given a lot by people is that, try as they might, they don’t ‘like’ vegetables. And by vegetables I mean leaves, shoots, buds and flowers digested by bacteria V – not the starchy carb-filled roots that satisfy bacteria C!

Wild garlic, home grown kale and others

Wild garlic, home grown kale and others

Again, your palette will change once you have been doing this long enough. You will learn to distinguish between your desire for bitter and your desire for sweet, as they are easily confused and there are so many sugar filled temptations to instantly satisfy your desire! Without exception, the key to this rests with a blindingly good salad dressing. This can be poured over any leaf salad, and also used as a dressing for cooked green vegetables. This tangy, tasty, veg-transforming recipe was first given to me by a friend who got it from a friend… and I hope you will also pass it on.

Version 1
50% good quality olive oil
25% light soy sauce
25% freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 crushed cloves of fresh garlic
Put all the ingredients together in a bottle or jam jar and shake very well. Keeps for days so make a lot and use liberally over all your salads and veg. I buy my light soy sauce from the Asian section to keep the price under control!

Version 2
50% good quality olive oil
25% light soy sauce
25% infused dark vinegar (e.g. raspberry, elderberry, balsamic)
1-2 crushed cloves of fresh garlic
Small knob grated fresh ginger root
Small sliced fresh chilli pepper
Put all together and shake, shake, shake.

A wild and homegrown Spring salad

A wild and homegrown Spring salad

What do you think?