The Synergy of the Salad
The word synergy has been abused as buzzword so much that serious people don’t use it.
But the idea that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts is critical.
People are hungry and deficient in nutrients. As consumers of cheap, addictive foods, we’re over-fed and undernourished. It’s easier to eat snacks than prepare a hearty balanced meal with micro- and macronutrients that complement each other and leave you actually feeling full.
Switching to paleo isn’t a panacea if you keep binging snack foods like nuts, or even worse, nut butters.
Almond and coconut butter — my worst “foods of abuse” — fall into the category of “processed paleo.” I can easily put down 400–500 calories without even thinking about it before realizing that I’m disgustingly full. Same thing with cheese — not to mention cheese and crackers.
Snacking is like grazing. Humans are not designed to be constantly digesting food (even short fasts act to “reset” the body). Snacking also feeds our cravings for instant gratification.
The solution: choose a better reward, with a lasting effect. My first meal is often a “Synergy Salad” with 3 or 4 ingredients (olives, feta, nuts, seeds, oysters, tuna, etc.) that I could eat as snacks in isolation, but instead I combine them with nourishing ingredients that I wouldn’t be inclined to eat as snacks like salad greens, olive oil, and vinegar.
The key to making a great salad is to consider greens as one ingredient among many. They are not really a “base” so much as a delivery system for the rest.
If I still feel like snacking after eating the salad, that means I didn’t add enough filling ingredients. I’ve learned not to be afraid of laying the olive oil on thick. The greens slow the absorption into the blood stream, and the fat makes the vitamins in the greens more bio-available (i.e., useful). The result is a synergy that makes me feel full for much longer.