Saturday, July 30, 2011

Atkins on Salad

"'re allowed green salad with your lunch and dinner. Yes, even though this first week of the diet is called a carbohydrate-free diet and lettuce contains a tiny bit of carbohydrate....Given the amount of carbohydrate in these two salads, what happens in the body is approximately the same in 99 percent of dieters as if no salad had been eaten. So why not eat those salads? They are a lifesaver. To eat just protein and fat without the garden-fresh crispness that salad provides is a drudgery. So I thank the Lord that greens contain so little carbohydrate. Those salads make all the difference between a diet that's aesthetic, appetizing, human, and one that's an uncivilized drag." --Dr. Robert Atkins(1)

Dr. Atkins also said, "A patient christened the [Atkins Diet] the steak and salad diet--and that does rather sum up the plot of it."(2) So much for low carb diets in general and Atkins in particular being all-meat diets. Most people I see commenting online love to eat vegetables (and find them sweet since they've stopped eating sugary foods).

One thing I love about summer is the variety of salad greens you can eat. The photo shows a salad with home-grown lettuce (Burpee's Heat Wave Blend--oak leaf, romaine, and one I can't identify), nasturtium, lamb's quarters (a prolific and very nutritious weed in the Western U.S.), carrot tops, cilantro, and borage flowers. I added some balsamic vinaigrette. All that wonderful vitamin A in salad won't be absorbed without some fat along for the ride--and salad without dressing is a bit like a dance without music.

Some edible greens and flowers:

Turnip greens (sweet)
Mustard greens (spicy)
Carrot tops (taste like carrots)
Nasturtiums (leaves and flowers--spicy)
Catmint (minty, of course)
Dandelion greens (bitter)
Purslane (a weed--moist and mild)
Daylily flowers (Hemerocallis)
Borage flowers (fuzzy with the texture of a raspberry)
Squash blossoms

If anyone knows what squash blossoms or daylilies taste like, please chime in.


(1) Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins, M.D., 1972, p. 134.
(2) Ibid, p. 132.


Anonymous said...

Daylilies - varies according to variety... The small ones with light-colored flowers tastes better (milder). Try f.x common 'Stella d'Oro'. You start with tasting the near-flowering buds.

Some have compared the taste to "sweaty armpit", but I disagree. It's a sweet-pepper come horseraddish or rocket - not unlike the flavour of nasturium according to my taste buds. Used as a sprinkle of spice in the salat - like capers or olives I find them ... interesting. :D

btw - rocket flowers can also be used the same way.

Anonymous said...

Daililies varies according to variety and also watering. Plants experiencing draught will allways taste more (for better or worse).

If you like foraging weeds :) you're probably aware that you can make a quite tasty soup of stinging nettles?

Lori Miller said...

The bit about the stinging nettles sounds familiar and I see they grow in Colorado, but I can't remember actually seeing any. If I happen to see any in my yard or the alley, I'll give them a try.

The soil and climate definitely make a difference in the taste and appearance of plants. The hot days and cool nights here make for tasty produce (esp. tomatoes) and there are even wineries on the Western Slope (west side of the Rocky Mountains).