If you, like me, grew up eating 100% Naija food which by the way does not include raw vegetables, unless of course they are drenched in the famous high-calorie heinz salad cream, then you know the struggle is real when it comes to the salad-eating lifestyle.
And if you’re one of the few who would put one lonely piece of green leaf next to your heap of white rice so you can check off the salad box, that’s not what I mean by the salad-eating lifestyle. I’m talking – sit down, balance, and chop a bowl of salad for lunch or dinner. Period. No poundo afterwards, no asaro, and yes, no rice. Just a salad. You won’t die, I promise.
I’ve blamed my bloating on baby fat and everything else under the sun but the actual reason. Let’s be honest, all of that naija starchy and oyelly foods are what make us look so bloated, that our church aunties won’t stop asking if we’re pregnant. No ma, we’re just full of the joy of the Lord, and a little too much carbs, and while we’re on this topic, would you please mind your
equally bloated belly business next time?
Just the other day, I was chatting with Ife, a Nigerian healthy meals caterer, and she was making correct sense. Here’s what she said – our bodies need about two days to process and digest beef. So what do you think is going on for those two whole days? The beef is just chillaxing, sitting pretty in our bellies, and then for dinner we jam it with some heavy swallow food plus efo riro which is pretty much comprised of dead greens, even more beef, and six other animal lives. All this while, our bodies are working like machines on overtime duty.
It’s a new year, and I’ve decided to resign my title as captain of ijekuje association (because puffpuff and malt drink, AKA sugar overload, are my weakness). I’m intent on taking care of this body that God has given me, because I want to live long, and equally importantly, because #hotgirlsummer must not pass me by in 2020, and the church says …?
I may have found some secrets that will make you eat your salads, lick your lips, and have you look forward to your next salad meal.
1. Build a salad around foods that you are familiar with. For example, try grilled plantains, AKA boli. Here’s a good salad recipe that incorporates boli. For the carbs police reading this, I know plantain is technically carbs, but please just leave us alone. Plantains are rich in fiber and vitamins, plus moderation in everything is key.
2. Add some sweets like raisins, oranges/clementines, or coconut flakes. Try this dessert-looking carrot-coconut salad.
3. Add your favorite proteins. Who wouldn’t love some suya, jerk chicken, shrimps, or salmon in a salad? Sign me up any day, any time. In fact, can I come over right now?
4. Don’t like cold proteins? Try warming them up to room temperature before adding them to your greens. The only thing I want to eat cold is my ice-cream, not my dinner.
5. Elevate the flavors by roasting your vegetables. Here’s a Brussels sprout salad recipe for you to try. Skip the feta cheese if you want. You’re welcome.
6. Get creative. Ditch balsamic vinegar and Italian dressing for some pepper, jerk, or curried dressing, or even try an ayamase inspired dressing with green bell peppers, onions, iru, and ata rodo.
7. If texture is a big deal for you, add some nuts to your salads for some crunch. My favorite nuts in the world are pistachios, because of course, my expensive taste buds can’t just be regular and like good ol’ peanuts. Also try cashews, pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts… yum yum.
8. Hate greens? Mixed, colorful veggies – carrots, cucumber, spinach, purple cabbage or kale, and a bunch of other varieties out there. The Asian stores have a diverse selection.
9. Add hard boiled eggs or avocado, which by the way I’m allergic to. You avocado fans can faint in disbelief if you want, but my allergies are so real, I itch just thinking about avocado. Here’s a jerk chicken avocado salad recipe for you to try.
10. Prefer to eat out instead? Panera bread and Chic-fil-A have some salads that our pallet can relate well with. Try the Spicy Thai Chicken Salad when next you visit Panera, or any salad from Chic-fil-A; just ask for the Jalapeño Salsa dressing.
11. Green smoothie. Las las, if I still haven’t been able to convince you to an awesome salad experience, biko the least you can do is to drink a green smoothie. All you need is a little fruit to sweeten it up, and it tastes just like a treat!
If you like, go and eat starch and banga after a salad dinner. I kent help your matter.
I’d like to know, what change – minor or major – are you making to your diet this year?
P.S. Please don’t slide into the comment section to ask me “what belly bloating are you complaining about?” or “why do you need to lose weight?” Let us all just face front and focus on our own individual bloating.