Raising the Salad Bar - a Book Review

January 07, 2011

Failed Your First Resolution Yet? 

 Reference:  Raising the Salad Barby Catherine Walters (Lake Isle Press, NY 2007) Competency:  Eating Right 

 “It’s New Year.  I can tell by looking at you that you have already fallen off the wagon.  You look like those five pounds you wanted to lose just turned into 8.”  So Garrison Keillor quipped on Prairie Home Companion.  I laughed.  Sort of.  Except that it was true.  For me at least.  You too?

 Want to lose weight?  You have to find the food you like that is healthy and hits the right spot of being anti-inflammatory, tasty, interesting, and not too many calories.  The resolution to lose weight by eating less and exercising more just doesn’t do it for me.  And the evidence from the research world shows that it doesn’t do it for the majority of us either.  But you can lose weight.  It is possible. 

In fact, it is surprisingly possible if you start from the bottom up.  That means you have to first understand the core physiology of how you put on weight.  Let’s dive down to the molecular level.  The evidence seems to point to inflammation coming first and that inflammation is part of a vicious cycle in which you put out more insulin that forces you to pack more calories into storage.  So, start at the bottom and get rid of the inflammation.  Without inflammation, you start mobilizing calories from fat stores.  That means weight loss.  

How do you do that? To rid yourself of inflammation, you need to provide your body the right fats that signal for anti-inflammatory signals.  Olive oil and omega -3 fats will do that.  But corn and soybean oil will signal for inflammation with their abundance of omega – 6 fats.   Cooking (particularly with high heat – grilling) makes for AGEs (Advanced Glycation Products) which are inflammatory so salads are raw and have few AGEs.  Fiber soaks up excreted toxins.  Salads do that.  Bright colors in onions, peppers, berries provide varieties of antioxidants that soak up free oxygen radicals.  Salads have few sugars or white processed carbs that set off rolling cascades of oxidation.  Assembling the perfect diet sounds like assembling a perfect salad.  

How can you learn to do that? Read this Salad Recipe book.  Catherine Walthers is a genius.  She has put in her 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outlier” claims is needed to become an extraordinary expert.  Catherine was a personal chef on Martha’s Vineyard for 15 years, finding foods and meals that finicky eaters would eat.  Bit by bit she gravitated to making meals (salads) of a huge variety that are interesting, tasty, filled with variety, and meet standards of folks who demand to not get fat. What’s an ideal meal plan?  Filled with bright colors, dominated by vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and good oils.  What she has assembled is just the best cookbook ever.   Read this cookbook!  It rates 5 stars.  Hundreds of salads.  Dozens of categories.  All mouthwatering and mostly home runs on good nutrition.  And chemically aligned with your interests.  They are almost all anti-inflammatory. 

 WWW.  What Will Work for Me?  Read this cookbook.  It is just the best.  My resolution changed from losing weight to simply making as many of these recipes as we can this year.  The weight loss will follow.  It only takes 4 hours to get your body out of inflammation.  You just have to do it every 4 hours, again and again.  And then the weight goes away, quarter ounce at a time.

Column written by Dr. John E Whitcomb, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI.  262-784-5300