I wrote a whole cookbook and didn’t include a single salad. It’s not the idea of eating lots of vegetables – it’s the idea of eating leaves. I’ve just never been a big leaf eater. I mean come on – leaves? Fruits and vegetables are part of the plant, but leaves are like… THE PLANT ITSELF. You want me to eat THE PLANT? 

Nah no thanks.

Well, until recently. Cauliflower rice gets boring okay? And for the past few weeks I’ve been eating… salads. *hangs head in shame*

Leaves huh? Lots and lots and lots of leaves. Oh I’m eating big giant mixing bowls full of leaves. Purple and green and different shades of green. The thing is – when you look up the nutritional information on a pack of salad there’s hardly anything in there. No calories – sure that’s wonderful but hardly any actual vitamins. At least not the obvious ones they usually list. Since there doesn’t seem to be much in all those leaves – why ARE salads supposedly good for us? 

Here’s the list of usual reasons why salads are good for you:

  • Low calorie
  • Low Fat
  • Antioxidants

Of course I can eat other meals that are low in calories, low in fat, and have some antioxidants. What do salads have that other meals don’t have?

Phytochemicals. That’s what. Plant Chemicals. Words like flavonoids, carotenoids, polyphenols, and a thousand other compounds that aren’t required for living, but help our bodies. Scientists admit that we don’t know all that much about what these phytochemicals actually do for our bodies in the long term. But they do know that our bodies operate much better when we consume these phytochemicals – and the only way to receive them is by eating the foods that have them. Unprocessed plants. Basically – raw(ish) things that grow out of the ground.

To all those people that have turned to fresh celery juice as a magical cure-all for their mysterious autoimmune/ailments – phytochemicals have more science backing and often times taste 957% better than a glass of fresh celery juice. Instead of putting so much faith in the possibility of magical, unseen, un-testable, ‘mineral salts’ in celery juice, we really should be putting much more faith in the currently identifiable phytochemicals in plants. Basically – eating more leaves. Lots and lots and so many more leaves. 

From my experience – as a person with a hardcore bad autoimmune disease that’s basically been resurrected from the near dead – let me run it down for you.

  • You’re not feeling well / you’re very sick.
  • Remove ALL the things that are making you sick/could make you sick.
  • Resupply your body with nutrients.
  • Nutrients you should’ve been eating all along.
  • Nutrients that you’ve never eaten before but definitely should.

Also – you may never be able to go back to eating fried twinkies, and nitrate/nitrite preserved sausages, or even a grande latte with extra IDGAF. So what. 

Back to why salads are good for you. Properly made salads have the magical molecules that can help heal your body. They’re not the magic bullet – but they’re a part of the magic program, the magic protocol, that will help create the right environment that your body needs in order to heal. The cumulative effects of all those phytochemicals in your body IS THE MAGIC YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. Ask me how I got off alllll my prescription meds for dermatomyositis (which according to doctors has no cure) – and I’ll list 50 different things – all of them just one piece of my healing process. 

You have a choice between 50 different prescription medications or 50 different vitamins, nutrients, and foods. Remember – there are ‘no cures’ that any doctor will prescribe you for an autoimmune disease. Most of the medications only shut down that part of your body / immune system that seems to be causing trouble. That is not a cure.

Of course, doctors almost never prescribe salads either.