My love affair with Greek Salads

I’ve only recently discovered Greek salads.  Where have these things been all my life?  A lady that I work with lives a gluten free lifestyle, mostly because she has to for health reasons, and whenever our group at work orders pizza, there she is with her salads.  I always sat back and admired her discipline, while chomping down on my cesspool of puddling fat in the form of a slice of pie, while she ate her salad.  After a few months it occurred to me that I too had the option of ordering a salad.  I wanted to order a salad but found myself giving in to the temptation of pizza.

One day I decided “I’m doing this” and got a Greek salad.  And it was delicious.  What a fantastic way to consume mass amounts of veggies without sacrificing taste or walking away hungry.  I don’t eat a lot of salads and I’ve always blamed The Golden Girls for this.  Anyone remember the episode where Dorothy says that she had a friend that went to Paris and consumed a watercress salad, only to walk out of the restaurant and have a giant gargoyle fall onto her head and kill her – and here her last meal was a watercress salad?  So when I go to a restaurant, my last thought is “if I walk out of here and die, what is the last thing I want to eat?”  Thanks Dorothy.

If my last meal is a Greek salad, I would be content.  I wouldn’t go to heaven and say “seriously Jesus?  Yesterday I larged my value meal, you couldn’t call me home then?  Or what about tomorrow when I would have dipped into that king size Hershey bar?  That couldn’t have been when I kicked the bucket?”  No no, a Greek salad will do me justice.

I make my Greek salad a little differently than most because I’m not into olives (I’m a texture person and those things are just ewww) or pepperoncini.  Here is how I make my Greek salad (this is my first recipe that I’m posting…I’m glad I can lose my recipe virginity with all of you in attendance):

Ingredients for Heather’s Famous Greek Salad:

  • Grab yourself a big bowl and if it has a lid, grab the lid
  • Chop up 2-3 heads of romaine, add to bowl or if you’re using bagged, dump the bag into bowl
  • Add a handful of broccoli slaw (I bought a bag of broccoli slaw without any dressing to use for eggrolls and had leftover from that recipe and I love it!)
  • Throw a few rings cut off a purple/red onion
  • Add 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • If you’d like additional crunchiness, throw in some croutons, any kind
  • Add 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • For the dressing, I added Garlic Expressions and put probably 1/4 cup on it (because let’s get realistic, who really puts 2 tbsp. of dressing on a salad?)
  • Top bowl with lid, close tightly, and shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your booty

And voila, you have my famous Greek salad.  Whatever I don’t eat, I save for later because it will keep for one day in the fridge without getting soggy.  I don’t put croutons on mine so I can’t vouch for those but everything else is fine.  Sometimes I throw in a few extra things if I have some veggies I need to get rid of, i.e. carrots, cauliflower, green/red peppers.  Also, if you do use Garlic Expressions, the side effects are bad garlic breath but I find it totally worth it.  It’s also beneficial in keeping everyone away from you on those days when you just don’t want to be bothered.

It’s a great way to get at least 5 servings of vegetables and it’s a nice vegetarian meal.  Some places add chicken but I prefer to leave meat out of it because first and foremost, I don’t want to go through the hassle of cooking meat for my salad, and I try to eat at least 3-5 meatless meals a week.

I have been eating a ton of these salads lately and I always feel amazing afterwards.  I know that these ingredients are bringing tons of nourishment and an influx of vitamins to my body and you can’t go wrong with that.  As a side note, I do tend to buy organic produce as often as I can.  I don’t find the price to be that much higher than non-organic produce, regardless of what anyone says.  I do find the benefits to be abundant and that’s why I make the decision that I do to purchase organic.

I’m always looking for new variations to this salad because I don’t want to tire of it!  I’ve always preferred Mediterranean food and my cardiologist even recommends a Mediterranean diet!

How do you make your Greek salads?

Dr. M and the six month checkup

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This past week I had to check in with my cardiologist.  Last summer, I checked in for sinus surgery only to find that my blood pressure was 263/195, so up I went to ICU for a week.  Apparently, I have some kind of issue where my body is resistant to efforts to restrain my blood pressure and then proceeds to hike my blood pressure up even more.  There’s a big long story behind it which I don’t feel like sharing so back to checking in with the cardiologist…

My cardiologist, Dr. M, is a pretty awesome dude.  He’s very energetic, positive and sticks to the point.  Dr. M really won me over at “contrary to what you hear about the medical profession, my goal is to never see you again.  You seem like a nice person but I really want to get you off the meds and never need to see you in a medical situation again.  I want you to get things under control.”  When I left his office six months ago, I had a plan.  I was going to exercise, eat right and blow him away with a 50 pound weight loss in six months.  Fast forward to last week…I gained 26 pounds.  From the second that my hyper little nurse said “step on the scale”, I knew it was all downhill from there.  I was fuming.  I believe my exact words were “damn shoes, of course I’d wear the heavy ones today.”  She didn’t even acknowledge me speaking.  By the time Dr. M came in, I started in with the whole I’m exercising, I’ve made big changes and yet I gained weight.  He asked how my eating was and I admitted that I don’t eat the greatest but I’m exercising, doesn’t that count?  He said that yes, the exercise is probably what kept me from gaining more than 26 pounds.  I told him about trying Paleo, going gluten free, etc.  Dr. M looked around and said “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those plans but it’s really about burning more calories than you’re taking in. Do you understand that?  You can try anything that you want, but you have got to understand, you have to burn more calories than you eat. That’s it.”  He gave me my paperwork and I asked when he needed to see me again and he said “I don’t.  There’s nothing else I can do.” 

Do you understand what that means?  He’s given up on me.  This wonderful doctor who saved my life in September 2013 has done all he can.  I get it though.  His practice is full of patients who swear they listen to him and yet he obviously can see that they’re not.  How could I even defend myself against being bigger than I was 6 months ago AND my blood pressure elevating again?  I couldn’t.  I had failed.  Dr. M is very passionate about being a cardiologist.  Six months ago, he sat with me and explained all about a healthy heart and what we, yes – he said we, need to do to have a healthy heart.  I was stoked at that appointment and he was stoked that I was stoked.  Then I walked out of there and blew it all off. 

I wanted to run back into his office and beg him to see me in six months, that this time I would have lost weight but why should he believe me?  Between me and Dr. M, he had made a bigger effort than I had.  I was disgusted.  Not at my weight but that I had burst his balloon.  Now I’ll just be another patient to him.  I won’t be his success story.  But stop! Collaborate and listen!  (Couldn’t resist.)  I can be his success story.

I emailed my nutritionist and told her what happened and how upset I was.  I let it all out to her.  She emailed me back and gave me a huge pep talk and chewed me out, both of which I needed.  I woke up the next day at 5:30am and did yoga.  I meditated and decided no more promises six months into the future.  I will focus on today.  One day at a time.  And you know what?  I’ve lost 7 pounds since that appointment but besides that, I’m tracking my food intake and focusing on what I’m putting in my body.  I’m going to hang in there and keep trying.  And someday, I’m going to show up at Dr. M’s office as a success story.  I just know it.