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duane hennon
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i should get an apple for this expose

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-salad-is-so-overrated/2015/08/21/ecc03d7a-4677-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html

Food
Why salad is so overrated

"As the world population grows, we have a pressing need to eat better and farm better, and those of us trying to figure out how to do those things have pointed at lots of different foods as problematic. Almonds, for their water use. Corn, for the monoculture. Beef, for its greenhouse gases. In each of those cases, there’s some truth in the finger-pointing, but none of them is a clear-cut villain.

There’s one food, though, that has almost nothing going for it. It occupies precious crop acreage, requires fossil fuels to be shipped, refrigerated, around the world, and adds nothing but crunch to the plate.

It’s salad, and here are three main reasons why we need to rethink it.

Salad vegetables are pitifully low in nutrition. The biggest thing wrong with salads is lettuce, and the biggest thing wrong with lettuce is that it’s a leafy-green waste of resources."

 
Dale Hodgins
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My lettuce has always been consumed locally. No sprays ever.

Skip the truck weary, poisoned, GMO, half rotted salad. Add healthy oil and ground nuts. Leave out those stinky bottles of ick that they call dressing. Eat what you grow.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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I was never much of a salad eater until I started growing and wild harvesting my own. Now I pretty much just use wild edibles (oxalis, dandelion, pink evening primrose, etc.) plus the occasional annual or perennial garden greens. I also shred/grate things that most people don't think of as salad greens (kale, cabbage, collards, turnips, beets, and other cruciferous and/or root vegetables, mostly) and use those as a base for my salads. Dressing is usually an oil mixed with a bit of the brine from some of my fermented vegetables in place of vinegar (sometimes the fermented vegetables go in the salad, too. Sparkly ginger carrots and garlicky asparagus are probably my favorite fermented salad toppers). Topped with nuts (almost always pecans, since that's what grows here). This actually does include a lot of micronutrition; virtually every green except lettuce is very nutritionally dense on a per calorie basis. And it's good to eat a mix of raw, cooked, and fermented things, nutritionally speaking. But I can well believe that mass produced salads is one of the more inefficient uses of agriculture; plus purchased salad greens always end up slimy and disgusting before I can get around to eating all of them.
 
Rose Pinder
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Salads used to be sallets, and were a way of eating a mix of incredibly varied (by our standards) local, seasonal greens and accessing deep nutrition (esp minerals). They had medicinal aspects in a food is medicine kind of way (bitter greens being very good for the liver and a complement to the heavy meat and fat in European diets). Instead of condemning salads (although I agree with the problems around food miles, monocropping and pesticides) we could reclaim them!

On another level, salads are simply carriers for other nutrients (fat and salt and acid)

Acetaria, A Discourse on Sallets 1699 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15517/15517-h/15517-h.htm

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I don't each much lettuce, because I find latex in any species of plant to be quite distasteful. I hate pulling milkweeds!!! To me a salad consists of cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, sunroots, peas, spinach, tarragon, cilantro, parsley, beans, onions, garlic, meat, cheese, etc. Lettuce is a very optional ingredient. My dressings pretty much consist of salt, vinegar, and spices.

---

I am able to give one apple a day. For those of you seeking an apple from me, here's what I look for in a post.

I often give apples for posts in which people post photos of: what's growing in their garden, what they are preserving in their kitchens, their livestock, their infrastructure, or their tools.

If I see a post from a new member of the forum that describes their relationship to permaculture and they've made the effort to include photos of their location, and a description of what they want to do with it that almost always gets an apple if I still have one to give.

I often give apples for things that make me say "Aha! wish that I would have thought of that", or "I should be doing that also!", or "Wow, I really admire that.", or "I am so jealous.".

Sometimes, I give apples for things that I think are cleverly insightful or wittily expressed.

As far as I can remember I have not yet given an apple to a post which consists of a link and/or quote to a web site or video.

I rarely give apples to posts that delve deeply into technical issues: things like electricity, or building, or composting toilets. I suppose that's partly cause I pretty much only read posts with topics related to gardening, bees, mushrooms, and wild foraging. It's a busy web site, and I'm primarily a farmer living in a fully built-out and over-regulated county, so I read a sub-set of what's available on the forum.

Your mileage may vary with other pollinators.
 
jimmy gallop
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That is one of my goals of my gardening is to have something green to eat every day of the year .
which is very hard even in my # 7 zone.
love my greens and my root crops
favorite dressing lemon vinegar fermented juices or grease/oil.
 
Su Ba
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Duane, your argument assumes that salad, by definition, is commercially produced lettuce. And for urban people, that may be the case. But on my own homestead, that's totally way off base. My salad dinner plate can consist of an assortment of various leaf lettuces (green and reds), Okinawan spinach, the young leaves of greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, radish, just to name a few), assorted veggies both raw and steamed (radish, chayote, carrot, daikon, beans, corn, peas, broccoli, squash, sweet potato, just to name a few), fermented veggies, edible flowers, snippets of herbs, and chopped fruits (fresh or dehydrated). Variations include chopped hardboiled egg, sautéed bits of meat, macadamia nuts, shredded coconut. All, yes all, the items are either grown on my farm, are foraged, or obtained via trade in my community. I see my own salad dinners as being sustainable, healthy, and nutritious.

It's not the salad that's at fault, it's how we accept the way it's produced and presented for sale. By buying store bought veggies, one is supporting the system, no? At least that's how I see it. By the way, I don't believe for one second that lettuce has zero value in our diet. That's just baseless anti-lettuce propaganda. Just think about it. Every growing plant utilizes nutrients to grow. Those nutrients are incorporated into the plant. Fiber, which our gut needs of course, is part of the plant's structure. Of course some plants contain more or less of various nutrients and fiber as compared to others. But realistically, no plant has zero value.
 
duane hennon
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so no apple is coming for me to add to my salad

I post articles from outside permaculture that I think could be useful to permies
the author (not me) describes the problems with shipping water (lettuce)
in the current system

the answer is of course to stop doing things this way
which presents opportunities to enterprising permies
so rather than take offense at the article, ask "how can I use this information?"
the article could be part of a perfect advertisement for a local permie supplier

So someone growing for market near or in cities
could display this article and then describes how
their produce solves these problems

Local - low food miles
alternative greens more nutrient dense - high food value
lettuce interplanted or part of rotation - efficient land and water use
lettuce grown as part of aquaculture system
etc
 
Dave Burton
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Su Ba wrote:Duane, your argument assumes that


Please remember that at permies.com, this is a safe place for gentle souls to talk. We have discussions not debates on these forums.

duane hennon wrote:
so no apple is coming for me to add to my salad


That is up to the discretion of the permies community members who can award apples. Apples are awarded anonymously by said users.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I think the information is interesting. When I've sold stuff, I have often mentioned empty vegetables."A bunch of polluted water in the shape of something edible". Sales are so easy to make, that I don't really need to go negative. Still, it can be fun to point out the obvious or revel in the financial demise of an industrial farm that goes bust.

My strawberries were awesome last year. I referred to those from a local poison farm as tasteless sacks of water.
 
John Elliott
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After not handing out an apple for months, I am giving Duane his prize for alerting us to how messed up the conventional (and if it's the Washington Post, that is the definition of conventional) wisdom is. Or conventional stupidity. It's wise to make your salad from things you snipped outside the backdoor. It's stupidity to empty it out of a bag that was packed a thousand miles away and trucked to your local supermarket.

No, salad is not very nutrient dense. Why do you think that herbivores spend all day eating? Why do you think the average adult gorilla has to eat 60 pounds of food a day? If you didn't have sunroots and cheese and meat and sunflower seeds and olive oil to toss on your salad (the things that really are nutrient dense), you'd have to eat at least 10 pound of "food" to make it to the next day. A hundred gram serving of raw chicory only has 23 calories (see nutrition data here), so that's like 10 kg to get your daily caloric intake, before even thinking about balanced nutrition.

So the dilemma is that modern industrial agriculture has found a way to use lots and lots of resources (land, fertilizer, and transportation fuel) to get the least possible nutrition. That the Washington Post is even mentioning it is a step in the right direction. I don't expect all the folks in DC to start searching the lawns and greenbelts for oxalis and dandelion, but at least it might make them think the next time they go to Kroger and reach for a bag of mixed greens.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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I just wanted to clarify that I was speaking of nutrient density and not caloric density, which are not equivalent terms--in fact, they tend to be inversely related. Greens are very dense in micronutrients relative to their caloric value (they are nutrient dense), but they are very low in calories relative to their volume (they are not calorically dense).
 
duane hennon
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thanks for the apple and replies
the request for an apple was an attempt to stir things up

the article was a cry in the (food) wilderness for help
isn't that what permaculture is about?
here is an opportunity to offer a viable alternate.
if we want permaculture (and permies) to go mainstream
shouldn't we use the mainstream media to do it?

a well written reply in the comments
addressing the problems would go a long
way in making permaculture more visible
to those unfamiliar with it ( 0, 1, 2, on Paul's eco-scale)
and could bring people to permies

maybe I should have posted under market gardens
as a way of getting more customers

I didn't mean to come off argumentative
but it seems like a low hanging (apple) fruit
waiting to be picked for spreading the word



 
Dale Hodgins
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Jennifer makes a good point about nutrient density. A look around most American streets, will tell you that most people aren't lacking calories. Meals with greater nutrient value and less calories, are just what the doctor ordered for a large segment of society.

 I seldom eat rice and I never eat white bread,  because I'm not interested in consuming a lot of empty calories.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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When I do the math, it takes less fuel to bring a pound of lettuce to my village from California than it does to bring it in from the farms that are only ten miles away from the farmer's market. The reason is economies of scale... Moving a huge heavy truck full to the brim with lettuce is much more fuel efficient than driving a local pickup truck to a local market. It would be very possible for my community to eat local foods, but I suspect that as long as the current monetary, and political system continue to exist that there will be little incentive for them to do so.

Some of the farmers around here air-condition their greenhouses so that they can grow lettuce and other greens during the summer.
 
John Elliott
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
The reason is economies of scale...


I believe the reason they are called economies of scale is because the economists have scales over their eyes when it comes to all of the ancillary costs and externalities required to make an accurate comparison. If you just compare fuel expended for ton-miles of freight moved, maybe the fully loaded semi has a lower cost. But that produce had to be picked, quick chilled, packed and kept refrigerated, while the local farmer just put the heads of cabbage and lettuce in a tote-box in the cool of the morning.

This wouldn't be the only example of economists having scales over their eyes. We are now living with the biggest externality of all, fossil fuel carbon emissions, and the few clear thinkers on that topic are not economists, but climate scientists.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Yup. The externalities are really hard to calculate accurately. For example at my local farmer's market some of the farmers pick during the week and then quick-chill, pack, and refrigerate their vegetables prior to market. They tend to pack into reusable containers though instead of the throw away containers coming out of California. My credentials on the fossil fuel issue is that I bike or walk where I need to go during the week, and I drive the farm truck to market and back on Saturday. If/when the fossil fuels supply stops, then I'll make people pick up vegetables at my farm.

 
Rose Pinder
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duane hennon wrote:

thanks for the apple and replies
the request for an apple was an attempt to stir things up

the article was a cry in the (food) wilderness for help
isn't that what permaculture is about?
here is an opportunity to offer a viable alternate.
if we want permaculture (and permies) to go mainstream
shouldn't we use the mainstream media to do it?

a well written reply in the comments
addressing the problems would go a long
way in making permaculture more visible
to those unfamiliar with it ( 0, 1, 2, on Paul's eco-scale)
and could bring people to permies

maybe I should have posted under market gardens
as a way of getting more customers

I didn't mean to come off argumentative
but it seems like a low hanging (apple) fruit
waiting to be picked for spreading the word


The problem here in this thread is that most people here don't eat the way being described in the article

For me, salad isn't a bad food, so I would prefer to use the issues (food miles, pesticides etc) as a way to learn how to eat good salads, rather than making yet another food as something to be avoided. The article in question demonises lettuce, whereas I would prefer to demonise Monsanto, and then teach people that they can still eat the food they like, but how to do it in healthy ways (grow their own, trade with their neighbour, buy from the farmers market).

Some lettuce is good nutrition, and in the hot summers here salad is a great way to eat cool and moist foods.

I think it's a good topic you have brought up.
 
John Elliott
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Another excellent expose on the modern food system can be found in The Progressive: Harvesting Profits The most eye-catching part for me was:

The near-monopoly control over our sustenance is neither pure economics, nor pure politics. Rather, it represents their symbiosis. Hauter, author of the 2014 book Foodopoly: The Battle over the Future of Food and Farming in America, points to both the profit imperative and corporate-friendly policy. “Since the assault on antitrust law that began under Ronald Reagan and has continued unabated,” she says, “we have seen a merger mania in the agribusiness and food industry that has left us with a small number of bloated firms that control market share and have enormous political power.” The food industry underwent seventy-five mergers in 2014 alone, according to Hauter.


The entire article is a good read, after which you will come away with the conviction that permaculture has a long way to go.
 
Cj Sloane
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I've never been a huge fan of salad.

I have found that lots of restaurants will serve you a hamburger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. If you consider what it takes to produce that bun & what that bun does to your body, the lettuce is an excellent alternative.


The best chain to get such a meal is Elevation Burger which serves organic & grass fed burgers. I don't generally eat burgers out since I raise my own, but their lettuce wrapped bacon cheeseburger with guacamole is a real treat! Skip the fries & bun and you can lose weight on such a meal. I've been eating very low carb since January and have lost 25 lbs.
 
John Master
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Saying a salad is bad for you is like saying milk is bad for you. Whats in it, where and how were the ingredients grown? I can get crappy cafo processed milk and I can get incredible raw grass pastured milk, I can make a crappy iceberg lettuce salad or a fresh garden grown salad and add all sorts of things to it like bacon, nuts, oils, seeds, fruits, veggies. Just have to think a little and care enough to do it.
 
John Polk
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I believe that the article is right on for the hundreds of millions of consumers living in large metropolitan areas. What they eat as a salad is a far cry from what we, the growers, would eat in a salad. In many 'big city salads', the dressing may be more nutritional than the salad itself. Yikes!

Like so many other things in life, variety is a great way to ensure that we are getting all of the necessary nutrients throughout the day's meals. A typical restaurant salad is likely to have some crisp lettuce, and a wedge or two of tomatoes. Hardly what I would consider a 'salad'.

For me, to be a good, nutritional salad, it needs to have many 'colors' in its composition: greens, reds, yellows, purples, etc. Each food group has some benefit to our overall diets. The more groups you include, the greater the chance of having a good balance of nutrients in our systems. Don't hesitate to include some non-conventional ingredients: hard-boiled egg, raisins/currants, nuts, berries, cheeses, etc. Lemon/lime juice is a nice alternative to vinegar. Making an inspirational salad (with fresh ingredients) is easy to do, and much more nutritional than a typical store-bought salad.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Hebrews had figured out that many people were not getting enough bitters in their diets. For that reason, they made 'eating the bitters' a part of the Passover meal. Bitters are important to every meal, as they stimulate many organs to begin excreting compounds which cause a better digestion of all of the other substances in the meal.

Just as we do not want a monoculture in our gardens/food plots, we do not want a monoculture in our diet.

 
duane hennon
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John said:

"I believe that the article is right on for the hundreds of millions of consumers living in large metropolitan areas. What they eat as a salad is a far cry from what we, the growers, would eat in a salad. In many 'big city salads', the dressing may be more nutritional than the salad itself. Yikes!"

I believe John is correct
many do not have the option of better ingredients
many do not know how they could grow their own
many could benefit from info on how and where to start

a rebuttal article entitled "How to Fix the Salad Problem is Cities"
is just waiting to be written
 
duane hennon
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another reason

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/09/custom-produce-cucumbers-connected-to-salmonella-outbreak/#.VfcibRFViko


Custom Produce Recalls Cucumbers Connected to Salmonella Outbreak
BY NEWS DESK | SEPTEMBER 13, 2015

Custom Produce Sales of Parlier, CA, is voluntarily recalling all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label starting Aug. 1, 2015, because they may be contaminated with Salmonella and are covered by an ongoing recall.

Fat Boy cucumbers were produced in Baja California and distributed in the states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.


I think it's disgraceful that instead of growing our own salmonella
we have have to import it from Mexico
 
Dale Hodgins
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I often make soup out of various salad ingredients that my friend and housemate accumulates. These expensive, organic mixes are purchased with good intentions. They get placed in the fridge and forgotten, then a day or two later, something else is bought. Good intentions, without follow through. Every few days, I go on "rot patrol". She spends more than I do on food. Most of the quantity and quality food comes from me. I don't buy any of the fancy processed foods that clog the fridge and freezer. Two cats waste and eat $5-$7 worth of stinky, canned paste, every day. I don't contribute to that either.

Eating salad can be a lot of work. It's easy to eat soup. I have pretty much given up on trying to persuade her to think before making a purchase. The daily stops at the store are recreational and therapeutic. The act of buying something healthy, somehow helps people with bad eating habits, to justify the purchase of high calorie crap from the deli and bakery.
.....
Most meals are made by me. Most snacky foods come ready to eat, and are bought by her.
 
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and work all day. Tiny lumberjack ad:

World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set. Gardening with an excavator.
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