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Bittman 101 Salads

Stuck in a rut?
See Mark Bittman's enduring 101 Simple Salads for the Seasons, courtesy of the NYTimes.

Aside from the occasional omelet, vegetables rarely make an appearance at the  breakfast table (at least in this country). It's a mild injustice - salads for breakfast can be really, really good.
I have my favorites (this one, for example), but below are three more I plan to try out soon. (Clicking on each image will take you to the corresponding recipe.)

winter salad  egg-white salad  deconstructed salad

Do you eat salad for breakfast?

Food is a major focus of celebrations in our culture. Sweet treats especially play such a prominent role that a party without them is almost unimaginable. A birthday without cake? Valentine’s Day without cookies? Halloween without candy???

Yes. I propose that we re-imagine how we celebrate, overturn the norm, and actively shape a new culture of wellness.

Here’s the challenge – pick the micro-culture you’re going to change – your family, school, office, or block. Consider starting with your own birthday. Serve fruit kebabs. Or a watermelon with candles in it. Sure, it will feel awkward at first, but few people will find the change refreshing. Encourage those people to carry the charge the next time and support them when they do. Little by little, people will stop believing that cake has to be part of a birthday celebration.

Commit to gradually shifting what celebrating looks like by making some small changes:

  • Make the focus something other than food. You got a promotion? That’s awesome – let’s go for a walk to celebrate and you can tell me all about it.
  • Be creative. Breakfast meeting? Opt for Clementines over pastries. (yes, the fist time I brought Clementines to a meeting I felt a little funny handing them out. But guess what – they loved it. And now it’s just what we do.)
  • Trump the cupcake. Sure, cupcakes are cute. But so are these (my versions of which  were a big hit with kids and parents at my children’s recent class parties):

Canteloupe Lollipop   Rainblow Fruit Kebabs   Flower-shaped Cucumber Slices
Photos:;; and

(And yes, there’s still a place for the odd cupcake.)

4th Annual Diabetes Blg Week 2013

This post was written for Diabetes Blog Week

The Prompt (suggested by Briley of inDpendence):
Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community. Tell us who you would write a petition to – a person, an organization, even an object. What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change? 

lettuce wrap

(Recipe serves 4 as appetizer)


  • 4 large bibb lettuce or large spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into ¼ inch strips
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and cut into ¼ inch strips
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into ¼ inch strips
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into ¼ inch strips
  • 2 TBL lime juice
  • Fresh chives
  • Black pepper


1) Place a few slices each of the cucumber, mango, jicama and bell pepper on a lettuce leaf.
2) Squeeze some lime over it and add freshly ground black pepper.
3) Roll it up and tie it with a chive, if you wish.

Doesn't that look appealing?

lettuce wrapped

I’ve been on a salad kick lately. This one is my favorite right now:


It's so good that sometimes I eat it twice a day.

A rough recipe follows, but the ingredients are easily varied according to what you happen to have on hand. The key lies in combining greens, crunchy vegetables and color, and adding the essential ingredient: tinned jalapeño-tuna packed in olive oil. Conveniently, the oil doubles as the salad’s dressing.

Recipe for Twice-a-day Salad

Some greens, such as:
Spinach, chopped
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Kale, rib removed, shredded (thin strips are essential)

Some crunchables, such as:
Red cabbage, shredded
Red onion, sliced thin
Snap peas, chopped
Red peppers, chopped

Some color, such as:
Baby yellow tomatoes, halved
Baby cherry tomatoes, halved

Tuna packed in oil with jalapeños
(there are various brands – this one is readily available where I live)

The flavors, textures and appearance of the salad are all great, and it's very low carbohydrate count means that I don't have to dose for it.

Kindly take note: if canned tuna is on someone’s list of foods it’s not OK to eat right now, I would prefer not to know it until my enthusiasm for this salad has waned.

Do you know the website Foodily?

You can use it to compare the nutritional content of different versions of a recipe. It's especially helpful if you cook for people with dietary (or gustatory!) constraints. Here's how it works:

Say you want to make tomato soup for a dinner party. And you want it to be low-fat and low carb. And one of the guests is allergic to dairy. You just input "tomato soup" and check the appropriate filters. In seconds, Moodily serves up a bunch of recipes that meet your criteria. The recipes are displayed in a side-by-side format (often with images), so it's ridiculously easy to compare ingredients and nutritional data, and determine which recipe is right for you.

One downside for me is how the nutritional content is calculated. It's calculated per recipe rather than per serving. That makes the site less helpful for calculating insulin dosages. (You can read here why Foodily doesn't generate per-serving data.) Even despite that shortcoming, I like the site a lot.

Thanks to Foodily, I'll be making this tomato soup tomorrow night.

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