Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why is salad so overrated?” Good question. (OK, maybe it’s a tad “girly” maybe but it beats answering those questions about intimate oddities. Seriously? We thought “Tossing Salad” was just something a chef did, mmmkay?)
Salad is overrated. Don’t believe it? Here’s guest speaker Tamar Haspel, contributor to The Washington Post online. She confirms that salad “has almost nothing going for it. It occupies precious crop acreage, requires fossil fuels to be shipped, refrigerated, around the world, and adds nothing but crunch to the plate.” Need more?
Salad vegetables are innutritious: Charles Benbrook, an organic consultant, and his colleague Donald Davis developed “a nutrient quality index — a way to rate foods based on how much of 27 nutrients they contain per 100 calories. Four of the five lowest-ranking foods (by serving size) are salad ingredients: cucumbers, radishes, lettuce and celery.”
They’re nothing but water.
Haspel agrees that “they’re almost all water. Those four salad vegetables top the list at 95 to 97 percent water. A head of iceberg lettuce has the same water content as a bottle of Evian (1-liter size: 96 percent water, 4 percent bottle) and is only marginally more nutritious.”
What about the money angle, Tamar?
Haspel notes: “The makings of a green salad — say, a head of lettuce, a cucumber and a bunch of radishes — cost about $3 at my supermarket. For that, I could buy more than two pounds of broccoli, sweet potatoes or just about any frozen vegetable going, any of which would make for a much more nutritious side dish to my roast chicken.”
Salads are also overrated because the acres of land being used to grow lettuce could be used to grow “vegetables that are twice as nutritious”. This would also “cut back on the fossil fuels and other resources needed for transport and storage (of lettuce).”
Salads deceive dieters into making “bad choices”: The word “salad” is not synonymous with the word “healthy”, remember? Haspel confirms this: “Lots of what passes for salad in restaurants is just the same as the rest of the calorie-dense diabolically palatable food that’s making us fat, but with a few lettuce leaves tossed in.”
Salad has a negative impact on our food supply: Salad is the number one “source of food waste” in the vegetable division as it is part of “1 billion pounds of uneaten salad” annually. It’s also the number one cause of “foodborne illnesses.”
The Centers for Disease Control report that “green leafies accounted for 22 percent of all food-borne illnesses from 1998-2008. “ Haspel adds that “the reason the category dominates is that the greens are often eaten raw. As in salad.”
Salad ingredients are less responsible in terms of growth and transport, deceptively less nutritious and often wasted to boot. They are “resource-hungry” luxuries.
Why is salad so overrated? Now you know.
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