My grandmother is Greek and Polish. Her Greek side always dominated in the family though. So you’d think I would have grown up eating delicious Mediterranean food, but sadly she wasn’t gifted with the domestic goddess gene. She could make three good dishes, moussaka, baklava and Greek salad. At major family gatherings we only entrusted her with the salad. She added a colorful variety of chopped vegetables and a yummy lemon olive oil dressing. I always looked forward to it.
In Greece, a salad is served with every meal. The trendy Mediterranean diet rises above the rest of the fads. It actually recommends eating real, whole foods and healthy fats at every meal. All of your foods are working for you.
Colorful foods used throughout Mediterranean cooking combats the aging process. More color equals more antioxidants. We’re exposed to free radical damage every moment of our lives, the air we breath and even sunlight generates free radicals. These wreak havoc on our bodies, damaging the fragile fats in each cell leading to less resiliency. Free radicals speed up the aging process. That’s where antioxidants swoop in to save the day. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, stopping harm in it’s tracks.
Antioxidants are best received from food. Plants contain hundreds of compounds which work in unknown ways. The science needed to discover them doesn’t exist yet, so it’s impossible to bottle them in supplement form. We simply don’t have the formula to recreate all that a plant feeds us. Antioxidants are made up of hundreds of elements and supplements only contain one to ten of these isolated components. Just one fruit of vegetable can contain more than 150 compounds. A famous study, the CARET study, showed that antioxidant supplements actually cause more harm in the body, offering little benefit. Dr. Michael R. Eades puts it perfectly, “It’s almost always better to pop the plant than to pop the pill.”
The recipe is as simple as it gets. With an abundance of antioxidants and healthy fat, you could eat a variation of it every day for a nutrition boost. Throw some fish on top and you have a complete meal.
Makes 6 servings.
2 cups zucchini – chopped
1 cup carrots – chopped
2 cups tomatoes – seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups avocado – chopped
1 cup cucumber – seeded and chopped
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1/4 cup feta – crumbled (optional)
juice of 1 lemon – about 1/4 cup
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 cloves garlic – minced
3 tbsp olive oil
►In a large bowl, whisk together lemon, garlic, sea salt and then drizzle in olive oil.
►Toss zucchini, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and olives together with the dressing in the bowl. Add in feta just before serving.
Risk factors for lung cancer and for intervention effects in CARET, the Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8901853
Protein Power Life Plan, Drs. Michael R. and Mary Dan Eades, http://www.proteinpower.com/books.htm