Category Archives: Salads

Remembering Oleo

Front cover of the cookbook. The “artist” was not given credit.

I ran across a 1973 cookbook put together by my senior year high school classmates, probably as a fundraiser. My mother had saved it for decades but unloaded it on me when she downsized her lifestyle a few years ago.

Food was different back then!

More often than not, recipes calling for vegetables specified frozen veggies like brocolli and cauliflower. Rice was popular, as it still is.

In the Salads category, four of the six recipes included gelatin or Jello. Those four also included whipped cream or whipped milnot. Many of you can’t imagine what I’m talking about. You had to be there. These “salads” were molded gelatin things, usually with added canned fruit. Nothing like what we call salad today in the U.S.

A modern gourmet salad

Casseroles were popular. Remember Green Bean Casserole? “Casserole” was also used to describe the type of pan required.

Karo syrup and Velveeta cheese got a few mentions.

Many of the pie and cakes required oleo or shortening, often with butter in the same recipe. I saw only two reference to liquid vegetable oil (Wesson). I bet Crisco was the leading shortening back then.

Cookies and sweets typically needed butter, margarine, oleo, or shortening. (If you clicked the earlier oleo link, you learned that oleo and margarine are usually the same thing.) We weren’t afraid of butter back then. Butter was probably more expensive than the other fats.

One sweet treat that definitely takes me back to my childhood, and I’ver rarely seen it since then, is…

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies (aka Boiled Cookies)

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 1/2 cup milk
  3. 1/2 cup butter (one stick) (or margarine back in the day)
  4. 1/4 cup (or 4 Tbsp?) cocoa
  5. 1/2 cup peanut butter
  6. 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  7. 1 tsp vanilla
  8. 2.5 or 3 cups of quick cook oatmeal (aka minute oats)
  9. Optional: 1/2 cup grated coconut or nuts

Mix the sugar, cocoa and salt in a one and half saucepan. Add butter and milk then bring to a boil. Boil for 60-90 seconds, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon (or similar). Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients; if you use the grated coconut or nuts, reduce the oatmeal from three to 2.3 cups. Mix for about a minute. Drop by the spoonful onto wax paper covering a baking sheet. Chill until firm. Yield is 36 cookies. (Thank you Debbie Drake, class of “73! I slightly modified her Rx based on another I’ve had on my desk for seven years.)

Artillery Punch

The funniest thing about this trip down the memory hole was the recipe I submitted for Artillery Punch. Remember, we were 17 or 18 years old, but there must have been faculty supervising the cookbook committee. A few teachers contributed their own recipes. Mine was the only one of 50 or 60 recipes that included any alcohol. The legal drinking age back then was 18. A recipe like Artillery Punch would never fly in today’s PC world! I don’t remember, but I probably got the recipe from my parents. Did I submit it just for laughs or shock value? Who knows? One of the other kids submitted a recipe for Barbecued Bear, which I think was a joke (fess up, Kip Martin). The Dove Casserole recipe was fer reel.

What the kids these days call Jungle Juice

One classmate provided a recipe for Jew Chicken. Whaaaa….?

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: It was fun to run across old buddies’ names, like Charles Enos, Howard Sheets, and Jeff Johnson.

Nuttin’ But Salads N=1 Experiment: Week 17 Summary and Wrap-Up

Not a salad, but a sunrise from my hospital in the Sonoran desert

It’s over. Four months of mostly nothing but salads.

I wanted to lose some weight. I started at 175.5 lb (79.8 kg) and have ended at 162 lb (73.6 kg). So call it down 13 pounds. Not quite a stone (14 lb), as they say in England.

No regrets. It’s been fun, an adventure, especially since my wife was involved. My suit pants fit again. My family bought me an expensive sturdy belt that will support my holster, and it fits for the first time.

As a reminder: I’ve just been eating twice daily, without snacking in-betweeen meals. Compared to thrice daily meals plus snacking, twice daily meals makes more sense to me from an evolutionary and physiological viewpoint. Eating just twice daily may increase autophagy.

What’s Next?

Avoiding weight regain! And trying to maintain or improve my health as I age. I feel like I’ve really been “eating healthy.” My plan is to continue eating just two meals a day, one of which will be a gourmet salad. The other will include animal proteins, cooked vegetables, legumes, and fruit. I tend to prefer low-carb types of fruits and vegetables.

High Blood Pressure

I don’t remember if I’ve shared with you the effect of this diet on my blood pressure. Starting in January 2017, my blood pressures were hitting 160/110, 150/100 more commonly. Sometimes 170 systolic. For a few years before that, pressures were borderline high. I’m old school, so tend to define hypertension as 140/90 or higher on multiple occasions. In 2017, the American Heart Association re-defined hypertension as pressures over 130/80.  Those numbers make half of the U.S. adult population hypertensive and candidates for drug therapy! And it runs in my family.

That’s more like it…

I started an antihypertensive drug, amlodipine, in late December  2017. Before that, I tried magnesium supplements and hibiscus tea: no help. I reduced alcohol consumption: no help. My amlodipine dose initially was 5 mg/day, then 10 mg/day. The higher dose caused some minor but definite swelling in my feet. To decrease the swelling (edema), I reduced the dose to 5 mg/day. On Feb 6, 2018, I started this Nuttin’ But Salads experiment. That dose reduction indeed reduced my edema. On Feb 12, my records show the lower dose still controlling my pressure.

After nine weeks of the Nuttin’ But Salads experiment, I noticed my pressures were 120/85 or lower. I stopped amlodipine April 9. By April 21, pressures were rising a little but no higher than 130/90. Edema gone almost immediately.

My Omron unit

As I write this, my BP after a 12-hr shift at the hospital is 124/91. The recent average is about 130/92. Not great, but I’m happy with it and not inclined to go back on drug therapy.

Screenshot of the free Health app on my iPhone

Why is my BP lower now? It may well be the salad diet. But also consider my weight loss or much lower alcohol consumption. I’m still drinking hibiscus tea and taking a magnesium supplement, but I was doing that before the salad experiment. I’ll also admit my stress levels may be lower, too.

One of these days I’ll do a nutrient analysis of my salad diet and probably share it with you. I’d love to know if others would see reduced blood pressure with this way of eating, whether or not weight loss was involved or needed.

Steve Parker, M.D.

P.S. I wouldn’t be surprised if my diet has been “deficient” in calcium and vitamin D. Whether or not that matters is another issue.

Nuttin’ But Salads N=1 Experiment: Week 16 Summary

A vegan salad

One more week to go after today. Weight is steady at 162 lb (73.6 kg).

Compliance-busters

I’ll admit my compliance has not been great during the last month. E.g., yesterday I had three donuts and some candy.

Not vegan: Back in the saddle…

My last couple workouts have been easier than usual even though I haven’t made any changes to my program. Could be easier because I’m exercising more regularly, or simply 13 lb lighter.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Nuttin’ But Salads N=1 Experiment: Week 15 Summary

This steak is fully cooked. Doing it sous vide-style leaves it looking rare.

Still going strong. Weight is stable at 161.8 lb (73.5 kg). Two more weeks to go.

Cucumber salad

Nuttin’ But Salads N=1 Experiment: Week 13 Summary

Tomato, avocado, sous vide chicken, mozzarella cheese, pepper, and olive oil vinaigrette

Yep, still doin’ it. No E. coli yet, thank God.

This is a commercial bag salad I topped with sous vide chicken

Weight is down to 160.2 lb (72.8 kg) compared to 163.8 lb (74.5 kg) last week. Not sure why, could be a fluke. Weight was about 175 lb when I started this experiment.

These bag salads are convenient if you’re in a hurry. This southwest style salad even had a packet of cooked spicy chicken in it. Not bad.

I’m eating two meals a day. No snacking in between. Yet you see so many “health experts,” nutritionists, and diet-book authors say you gotta eat every 3–4 hours. Malarkey! Codswallop! Bollocks!

Lacto-vegetarian salad: Tomato, avocado, mozzarella cheese, onion, pepper, and olive oil vinaigrette

Admittedly, I have a sedentary job and don’t exercise much right now. Those with physically demanding jobs may need or feel better eating thrice daily.

Eating just twice daily may give me some of the benefits of intermittent fasting (see here and here).

If you wanna be fat like everybody else, eat like everybody else.

Steve Parker, M.D.

From Vox: E. coli outbreak 2018 – when is it safe to eat salad again? 

Living on the edge…

Interesting article below, particularly if you eat salads or any raw vegetables and fruits.

One of the people recently afflicted by E. coli is a 16-year-old Californian who had been eating salads daily in an effort to get healthier! Man, I feel like I’m playing Russian roulette now.

The article quotes an attorney who blames bagged leafy greens for much of the problem. I like to know what the CDC thinks about that theory.

From Vox:

A 2013 analysis by CDC of food poisoning cases between 1998 and 2008 found that leafy vegetables — salads and the like — caused almost a quarter of all food poisonings. That was more than any other food product, including dairy and poultry. Leafy vegetables were also the second most common cause of food poisoning-related hospitalizations.

“Back in the ’90s and early 2000s, E. coli cases linked to hamburgers represented almost all that I did,” said Bill Marler, one of America’s leading food safety attorneys. “Now it’s none of what I do. Now it’s just salads, raw vegetables.”

Michele Jay-Russell, a food safety researcher at the University of California Davis who has investigated salad-related poisoning outbreaks in the past, said the raw vegetables that are the most common culprits are basically all salad greens, but especially the chopped and bagged kind. “We really haven’t seen kale and some of the other greens [with contamination] problems, at least not yet. And romaine is one of the most common lettuce products that are used in salads.”

Source: Romaine E. coli outbreak 2018: when is it safe to eat salad again? – Vox

Nuttin’ But Salads N=1 Experiment: Week 12 Summary

Taco salad. Probably too much work to make on a frequent basis unless you use store-bought quacamole salad and pico de gallo.

Another week passes without personal E. coli Shiga toxin illness. Success! I read an article at USA Today saying that women seem to constitute about 70% of E coli food born illness cases.

Sunny’s Super Salad

I’m coming up on my four month anniversary for doing this salad diet. Not sure how long I’ll keep it up. What I miss most are cookies, pie, cake, candy, and sweet pastries. My wife’s doing the diet with me, so we’ll probably make a joint decision. I do think it’s a healthy way to eat.

Avocados have been affordable where we live.

My weight today is 163.8 lb (74.5 kg), a little higher than a couple weeks ago but I think it’ll be stable.

Not salad, so I didn’t eat the Shari’s Berries found in my employer’s office refrigerator.

I’ve had some transgressions. Hey, I’m only human.

Transgressions….
No, I didn’t eat them all.

My go-to salad is what I call Sunny’s Super Salad: A mixed greens base with nuts, cheese, dried cranberries, mandarin orange wedges, topped with chicken or steak.

Steve Parker, M.D.