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Saladify! A New Food Preparation Movement

No, we are not just talking more kinds of salad. Rather this "neo" verb means putting salad ingredients into foodstuffs that normally do "not" have much in the way of "raw" salad items in them—thus we will be combining raw nutrition power with tasty cooked flavors and textures. Imagine your next bowl of chili (either traditional or veggie) as "saladified". After you prepare your favorite traditional chili, as you shut the stove off (being still hot), stir in fresh, chopped onion, garlic, spinach, tomato, celery, cilantro, (maybe a little jalapeno), and maybe grated cheddar cheese. Now you have more colors! more textures! more flavors! higher ratio of vegetable mass! (and higher levels of nutrients and live enzymes). Doesn't that bring a smile to your heart? It should. After all aren't you just a little bored with the traditional same old same—even if it is classic? Saladify my friend. Saladify your chili and you will be glad you did!
Saladify! By Brian Briareus in San Diego (original draft written about ©2005).

'Saladify' is the verbal form of the noun 'salad'. Hence the everyday mundaneness of salad has been given new verve so as to stimulate our collective mindset into "innovative" kinds of food preparation and eating action!

Yes we have added the grammarian's connective '-i-' to the staid noun 'salad' and buttressed its behind with a '-fy' suffix, (via Latin root fidere meaning "to make"). So saladify means to make something more "enhanced" with the potency of fresh salad-like ingredients.

No, we are not just talking more kinds of salad. Rather this "neo" verb means putting salad ingredients into foodstuffs that normally do "not" have much in the way of "raw" salad items in them—thus we will be combining raw nutrition power with tasty cooked flavors and textures.

Imagine your next bowl of chili (either traditional or veggie) as "saladified". After you prepare your favorite traditional chili, as you shut the stove off (being still hot), stir in fresh, chopped onion, garlic, spinach, tomato, celery, cilantro, (maybe a little jalapeno), and maybe grated cheddar cheese. Now you have more colors! more textures! more flavors! higher ratio of vegetable mass! (and higher levels of nutrients and live enzymes). Doesn't that bring a smile to your heart? It should. After all aren't you just a little bored with the traditional same old same—even if it is classic? Saladify my friend. Saladify your chili and you will be glad you did!

Your self-esteem will be glad too—because even though you ate as much quantity—you likely ate smaller ratios of proteins, fats and overall calories. Yes it tasted good with the same traditional flavors of the old fashioned chili you have come to learn to love, but it also tasted even better with the "fresh" health foods added as well. While fulfilling your stomach you did not feel as bloated or bogged down as long.

Plus you feel better because you know you are making wiser decisions. As your health improves with quality nutrition so does your physical, mental and spiritual vitality: a win-win situation to be sure.

This revolutionary genre of food preparation (i.e., the inter-mingling of cooked food with raw salad bits) evolved, as a weak-willed man, Briareus, of sensuous and indulgent appetite—and lover of food and pleasure—nevertheless compelled himself to study health and healing foods—so that he would not become completely torpid and stupid with too much in line of junk food and heavy food variety.

Sincerely was he to better his diet so he proceeded toward a vegetarian cuisine. But puritanism, and a winner's discipline, was never easy or particularly realistic for him. Nor did he want a stint like one who continues to try a myriad of diets while not really reducing a pot's belly much. (But perhaps it is natural to want to carry some adipose?)

Nevertheless if you are going to have a pot's belly, well then at least dine an epicurean way so as to signify your sophistication—unlike the plethora of starving beauties that have little indulgent fun—and because they are skinny tend to be crabby, judgmental or snobbish.

Briareus continued to play around with this penchant to intermix traditional to new levels of creativity. Traditional fares can become boring after a while. You too will discover that raw foods can be intermixed with all kinds of cooked traditions. You too can become a good potager (soup maker), and add chopped "fresh" vegetables to your soups (stirring them in just enough to warm them up but not enough to destroy vitamins and enzymes). And Viola! Your new American tradition has begun.

There are many categories of foods that can be saladified: soups, stews, hot dish casseroles, stir fries, burritos, enchiladas, wraps, quiches, sandwiches, pastas, pizzas, and sautéed foods such as sautéd hash-browns and onions served on top of salads, etc. In fact there are endless possibilities.

We Americans, in particular, suffer from "consumptive" or "congestive" diseases of the chronic nature, such as overweight, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. Food-stuffing diseases, as well as other forms of consumptive abuse, like too much alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs or illegal drugs, is our culture's bane.

So gravitating toward the vegetable is not only a saner diet it is also a more ethical and necessary diet. Simply, large civilizations cannot continue to eat large quantities of meat (see Frances Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet (1971) and also his recent EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think... ". This world cannot ecologically sustain such a diet for a large percentage of the world's people. And the intelligent are starting to get it. (See also Lappe's article "The Food Movement... " in The Nation (magazine) Oct. 3, 2011.)

After reading Stephen Marlin, Found Dina, and David Wolfe's powerful and well-written book, Nature's First Law: The Raw-Food Diet (see RawFood.com) Briareus became convinced that the healthiest diet was primarily a "raw" food cuisine. Nature's First Law makes a powerful case for a completely raw food diet (although cynical a very interesting and well-written book @ ww.rawfood.com).

But Briareus relapsed from time to time so he had little choice but to learn tolerance. And even with his strong bias toward vegetarianism there was still the battle with peanut butter, cheese, chocolate, ice cream and beer. And he occasionally snuck into a burger joint . Nevertheless, he realized, as can you, the vegetarian diet, is, overall, a better diet for several important reasons. (see Kathy Freston's Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World.)

Hence this biographical narrative is a way of saying that most humans—given the fallibility of human nature—need to start where they are at—with their common mainstays, and then gradually moving toward creative ways of adding raw vegetables in scrumptious ways. Many of us never reach an assumption of the perfect ideal especially if too stringent or rigid. However we can be motivated to make "realistic" changes if they sound like "good" and "fun" decisions.

Meanwhile parents are trying to figure out how to get their children to eat a healthier and less fattening diet. Again the answer is to "sneak" health foods into their children's current fare while actually increasing enjoyment levels. This way their children still enjoy traditional flavors and textures (the sins stay if you will) while at the same time appreciating new combinations of delicious fresh vegetables, etc. **We're sticking with the pleasure principle!*!* And this is why this is so exciting. It is all good.

Whereas corporate marketing snake oil tries to seduce your children with soda pop, candy, pastries, over bloated fast foods, and all kinds of artificial processed foods of bad news (like the 'addictive' chemicals like MSG which actually induces you to eat more than you otherwise would). Do we have a diet problem in this country? Everyone knows we do. How about a habit of growing your organic garden (a great education and hobby for your children)?

Take "energy drinks" as money maker. But what really is the energy—sugar—that is carbohydrate. The last thing most Americans need is more empty sugar. But by calling it "energy" it sounds better as everyone wants to feel like they have more intrinsic energy.

There may be 350 diet plans one could consider. However this diet is not another gimmick. Saladify is the real deal. We can allow ourselves to regress back to a healthier and more primitive diet (more raw veggie, more live enzymes, more quality and quantity of vitamin and mineral, more roughage fiber, less meat, less fat, less calories, while still eating tasty, lusty! and satisfying food). How can you not like this sales pitch?

There are no additional counseling costs. This is not some strict fad diet. You are not buying supplements that may be overcharged or under-absorbed. This is not about turmoil and torture. This is nature's wisdom of natural food. Saladify is not a gimmick. Rather it is here to stick to the stomach—oh yeah!

The question for many people is how to make the "leap" from not-so-great diet of too much fats, meat, refined sugars, processed foods, and un-natural chemical additions to a healthier diet without going puritanical bonkers or becoming an ascetic saint? Since when was it fun being an angel all the time?

Food has (rightly) been a source of human pleasure. Lionel Tiger's The Pursuit of Pleasure, dedicates a generous part of his book to human diet and how it has changed, such as with the advent of refrigeration (a very interesting book). But nature's pleasure principle (finding pleasure in what is healthy—such as the sweetness in the natural sugars of fruit as context of vitamins and minerals) has become exploited by processes that become problematic.

Face it—the majority of us are not outstanding athletes or high quality achievers. Quitting indulgence for puritanical, or moralistic, reasons is "too" idealist for us of the slovenly bent. After all we are indulgent and rationalizing creatures. Yes we like our pleasure, and many of us like cooked food. We are not going to throw away our stoves. Our traditions and appetites have built up over the decades. Not to mention that we like to cook, our cookbook collections, and our grandmother's recipes.

Note however that this argument in no ways suggests that eating a completely vegetarian, organic, or raw food diet is not in itself divine pleasure or the best road to health and vitality (that can eventually be realized by some). After all, health food is tasty and delicious to healthy people; whereas addictions are addictive to addicted people.

As argued in Nature's First Law: The Raw Food Diet, we are "addicted" to cooked food (no counter argument here). But even if it is true that our early ancestors ate a strictly "raw" and healthier diet (as animals), it does not mean most people have the will or motivation to jump back to Eden as drastic measure for the long haul. So then are we to be left behind to rot with in-gestive disorder?

How can the rest of us, less-than-perfect and decadent types, in the slouchiness of our human weaknesses, take those first steps of a thousand miles towards a healthier lifestyle—and still feel we have some access to our pleasure needs? Because the facts are on the table. Artificially processed foods (with additives) and excess calories add "significant" problems to our bodies and minds as they clog up (and make excess demands on our energies and resources while overtaxing our systems).

Can we develop training wheels to realize that fresh natural food choices are not so bad and can in fact be very desirable? Yes if we maintain our respect for pleasure—as in not running away from it. After all what is "health" really about—if not asking the self: "What is in it for me?" or "What do I get out of it?"

And the best part to this lifestyle change (switching to a saladified pattern) is that it is not a new budget allocation of money—it is merely changing the choices in the grocery store (or farmers' market). You already spend money on food. A healthy diet need not be expensive. You can buy two wraps of parsley for a dollar or two cilantro for the same. The deeper the green the better. And there are lots of minerals in inexpensive choices—which you can also learn to grow in your back yard. And what better parenting activity than a family garden to share the memories and skills?

But the bottom line is that you do not have to be a 100% sworn vegetarian to want to improve your diet to a healthier fare. Anyone can start where he or she is at currently. You simply reduce the proportion of what you want to reduce and increase that we is healthier.

For example, if you are bored with the traditional Mexican menudo soup of chickpea hominy and tripe—well spice it up with some colorful raw veggies (plus it can be good for a hangover with enough hot sauce). But now you are talking green color. Put some raw veggie power in that menudo amigo with vitamin B and grains. Now you're healing. Mince in peppers and fresh lime and lemon juice and feel your head open up! Relief is on the way.

Or what could be wrong with a spinach salad between two slices of your favorite pizza? Or why not add some guacamole on top of a Mexican tuna pizza? Are you serious about getting healthy or not? You have never had Italian pasta served on a salad, or more salad items splayed on top your marinara sauce? You cannot imagine fresh chopped mushrooms spruced over the cooked ones? Non-fare lo stupido.

There are no (or few) laws when it comes to cooking and food preparation. Food preparation is art: and art is personal. You can do what the heck you want to do with whatever harebrained caprice you may have when it comes to operating in your kitchen (labor)atory. Sure you will have flops from time to time but you also will be surprised by what you can discover as bon vivant artiste as well.

The revolution has come. It is waiting to hit the world by storm. This is a mass movement that does not need its discontents. Furthermore it prompts the ecologically minded to want to work in the planet earth at a very basic level and learn how to grow organic gardens while enjoying the healing power of getting back to nature. So stop wasting all that water on your lawn and get your children, and spouse, into growing your own tasty organics. This will be good for the environment. "We must cultivate our garden" Voltaire said, and he was right. Salad!

P.S. Feel free to share with others. By Brian Briareus in San Diego (original draft written about ©2005).