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High Protein Salad

Cheat days.

These words have haunted me for far too long. About eleven years now, if you’re counting.

I used to think that every day had to be a regimented, strict eating day and then only on the chosen day (or days in my case), could I indulge my true cravings. I would wait diligently until Friday night or Saturday night and then I would blow my calorie load (pardon me) on whatever I could get my newly toned hands on. After about ten years of on again off again dieting, crashing, splurging and guilt ridden excess, I think I finally found true balance. There are no cheat days. Never again will I call it those awful words. To cheat means to induce guilt, and we all know I have enough of that. From now on there will only be healthy living and healthy indulgence, for to have all work and no play makes Liz a dull girl. I will eat that beef rib and cornbread side with butter and I will drown it in chocolate porter. Then I’ll work out like I always do and I will feel no guilt. I will have my piece of chocolate cake and some bacon ice cream. People will wonder “how does she stay so skinny?” and they will ask me, as they always do. But I’m always truthful. Work out. Hard. Move your body. Every day. Pay attention to what you eat, don’t finish your kids plates, don’t drink your calories, water is always best.

And I will always remember to breathe…

As each and every day brings me closer to my goals of having a ripped six pack and lean-as-Jennifer-Aniston-arms, I continue to keep enjoying the food that I am eating. As a righteous foodie, I feel that even in the healthiest, leanest of times, food must be enjoyable to the highest degree. In layman’s terms: I like to eat good food. But good food doesn’t have to be boring, overly simplified or tasteless. It’s the opposite that is true in my mind. Healthy food should be exciting, it should blow people’s minds! I like to serve food that people think is overly indulgent, but when I tell them it was made with half the calories of the original, I want them to be stunned into silence.

That’s kind of how I go about making salads. Anyone that knows me, is familiar with my “big salads.” I’ve been making salads for lunch and dinner for over ten years now. Salads helped me lose 65 pounds when I was 18. The best thing about salads is that you can grab the biggest bowl you’ve ever seen, a serving dish even, and fill it 3/4 of the way with lettuces and greens. Then you just top that off with a few choice additions that will make your salad shine and you’ve got yourself a killer meal. I’ve been known to make salads so big, some people couldn’t finish them, wimps.

You can make a salad any which way you please as long as you steer clear of overly fatty foods and rich dressings. Easy enough. My biggest problem was always the dressing. I used to dip the very ends of the tines of my fork into my fatty dressing and use about a teaspoon for the whole salad. This got old after a few years. Then I discovered that I could have somewhat creamy dressings without all the fat! Instead of cream, sour cream or full fat yogurt and oils, I just use buttermilk. A little dash of lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a creamy, tangy dressing that goes with just about anything you can dish out. I pour that stuff all over my salad and I am absolutely guilt free.

High Protein Salad

Yield: One serving
Prep Time: 10 minutes

2-3 cups (50g) Baby spring mix
2 green onions (15g), chopped

4 inches cucumber (100g), quartered and sliced
4-5 white mushrooms (50g), halved and sliced
1/4 of an avocado (50g), diced
1/2 cup (125g) 1% cottage cheese
hard boiled egg, diced
juice of one Mayer lemon (or use regular)

half to one clove garlic, minced or grated
3 tbsp low fat buttermilk

sea salt

fresh cracked pepper

1. On a large plate, layer the ingredients as listed except for the last three.
2. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, garlic and buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over salad and dig in!

21 comments to High Protein Salad

  • LOVE your tattoo, glad you finally got it! I’m with you, I’m done with super highs and super lows when it comes to eating. I’ve figure out my balance that includes REAL beer, lots of salads and real life sugar when I want it, but not huge excessive amounts. And spin class. And “Mommy Stress” burns a ton of calories, I’m sure of it.
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits recently posted..Homemade Ricotta and Prosciutto Wrapped Mangos on ToastMy Profile

  • When people ask me how I stay skinny I tell them I eat real food, with real fat and real calories. Fake food is chemical, our bodies don’t burn chemical, they burn fuel, so I need to feed it fuel! Oh, and well, of course I kick my own ass with a nice little Insanity sess, or a hard run! Of course this salad looks amazing! I bet 10 bucks you have a beer hiding on the other side of the camera?? Because that would be delightful with this!
    Julia recently posted..Sweet Potato PancakesMy Profile

  • Loving all your salad posts, especially this one! Also, thank you for sharing a bit about you, I can definitely late to the ups & downs of it all.
    Lisa [With Style and Grace] recently posted..Market Monday: Greens on the go!My Profile

  • I wonder if I could get a tattoo on my arm that said, “get off your fat ass and run” ?

    Until then I’m going to eat this salad!
    Maureen recently posted..Colcannon CroquettesMy Profile

  • Great salad! A couple of days ago I made salad Nicoise, this looks very similar, I could just use avocado instead of tuna, and add mushrooms :-). I will be trying this recipe very soon – thanks for sharing!
    cookingrookie recently posted..Swedish Cinnamon Buns "Bullar"My Profile

  • Mr. Guilty

    Great post Elizabeth! You are an inspiration in my life that is ever searching for balance. Thank you for sharing yours with me!

  • Your next protein salad to try: Salad Nicoise!
    – Tuna, Butter Lettuce, Green Beans, Hard Boiled Eggs, Olives, Capers, Red Onions, Bell Peppers and olive oil, dijon mustard and white wine vinegar dressing! 🙂

  • Balance. It has a changeable definition in my life, so I am never sure if I have achieved it. GREG

  • Cheat days used to be a part of my vocabulary too, but no longer. Tasty, high-protein and whole grain foods makes me crave those “cheat” foods less but when I do eat them, I don’t feel so guilty now. This salad is exactly the kind of dish I would love to eat for lunch.
    Cookin’ Canuck recently posted..Our Favorite Healthy Breakfast & Brunch RecipesMy Profile

  • Nadia

    YUM. I’ve recently embraced the previously hated hard boiled egg and avocado as a necessary fuel for this newly working out body so thanks for the reminder that I don’t need to always have soups/stews etc for lunches to feel fufilled. This salad, and many of your others, looks perfect to keep me refueled and awake after my lunch hour 🙂 Must find that happy place you’ve reached of not feeling restricted or guilty – and my personal goal is to have that elusive space between my thighs, but I’m slowly getting there!

  • RisaG

    I have been known for a long time as the one who makes the “big salad” like on “Seinfeld” – whenever people came over for dinner I would have a big salad for them – at least 10 veggies including at least 3 or 4 different lettuces – at least one protein, sometimes two. I once got a standing ovation from some friends for a meal that consisted of a big salad and Straw & Hay Pasta (from Gourmet Magazine in 1990?) and all my friend could talk about after that was the salad. I really think that if you fill up on a good salad that you only need a few bites of the rest of the meal to feel satisfied. Sometimes I make myself a big salad for lunch – some mesclun greens, cucumber, scallions, bell peppers, and then whatever I have on-hand like radishes, jicama, whatever. Filling and so healthy.

    Funny that I love salads and I can’t get my son to eat one for the life of me, no matter what is in it – even his favorites like green beans, peas, corn, tomatoes – he will eat them cooked but not raw. Strange.

    Your suggestion of buttermilk instead of sour cream or mayo is a great one. I normally use 0% Plain Greek Yogurt instead of the mayo or sour cream. I will try the buttermilk next time.

  • Martha

    Cottage cheese?
    Paleo doesn’t have dairy.
    Or,,,,,,I can have it?

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