Growing up, I've always struggled with my weight. I mean I was never an overweight child by any means but I was certainly bigger than average amongst Asian kids. My mom would meticulously watch what I'd eat, making sure I wouldn't bulge out in the wrong places. She always had this rule that with every "bad thing" she'd let me to eat, I'd have to make up for it by eating "good things". (One piece of pork belly = 5 pieces of steamed broccoli)
I love my mom but I gotta admit, that shit was annoying. Weight was one of those things I'd have on my mind constantly. It followed me through elementary, middle and high school. Then college happened. Though I was still semi-weight conscious, no longer was there a constant buzz in my ear about watching what I ate, or how not to eat too many "bad things". I really enjoyed this newfound freedom, maybe a little too much.
3 am Waffle House binges would happen, Tiff Treats during finals week would happen, 50 piece chicken nuggets at McDonalds for Super Bowl would happen -- and suddenly, too many things happened and I found myself in pants 3 sizes larger than what I started with. College unleashed my inner food beast, and it was time to lock it back in the cage again.
Somewhere in between it all, I realized, maybe I've been looking at it the wrong way. Instead of the fear of not being "skinny", what if I just focused on living well? I mean really, screw the magazines with the hot babes, screw your friends being crazy on their cayenne pepper lemon juice diets, screw that inner voice of yours that keeps telling you that your love handles are epicly huge. What if we all just focused on living and maintaining a lifestyle that was conscious and mostly healthy? Think of it as 85% responsible and 15% fun -- because life is too short to not have fun every once in awhile.
So here's my 85% responsible when it comes to eating: Lots of whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, no strange processed stuff, and not too much sugar and bad fats (like hydrogenated fats). It honestly isn't too hard to follow -- I truly enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables and learning to eat with the seasons. You should eat a salad because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to.
Since we're in Spring here in Texas, look for things like fresh peas, radishes, asparagus, and lettuce greens. This salad definitely celebrates the season, so dive on in you responsible adult you and go have a little fun this weekend. You deserve it!
SPRING SALAD WITH PEAS AND RADISHES
- few handfuls of herb mixed lettuce greens (make sure they are washed and dried)
- 2 spoonfuls of fresh or frozen peas
- 1 radish, thinly sliced
- 4 heirloom baby tomatoes, sliced (cherry works just fine)
- Trader Joe's Shaved Cheese Blend
for the dressing:
- juice from 1 small lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- about 1/4 c EVOO
- pinch of kosher salt
- pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
Boil a small pot of water and prepare a bowl of ice water for blanching. Slice radish and tomatoes and set aside. Place peas into boiling water for 2-3 minutes and drain. Plunge immediately into ice bath. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Mix ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss salad greens with a couple spoonfuls of dressing. Finish with a pinch of salt and pepper.
To serve - Take a large plate and place greens down first. Top with peas, radish slices, tomatoes and a generous spoonful of cheese. Drizzle with additional dressing if preferred. Serve immediately.