July 2, 2022

"Salad is a first-world luxury..... Lettuce is a vehicle to bring refrigerated water from farm to table."

"If you have an intuitive sense that a food that’s 96 percent water is a waste of resources and a nutritional zero, you’re right.... Salad... uses too many resources for too little food to be a smart choice for either human or planetary health. It graces my table because I like it and because it can help me say no to seconds of lasagna. But that’s a solution to a first-world problem: too much food.... Lettuce lends its health halo to anything that gets put in a bowl with it.... If you buy a salad, and then remove the lettuce, you see what you’re really eating for lunch: sad little brown piles of croutons, dressing, shredded cheese, and chicken strips. Of course there are grain- or bean-rich salads, populated with bona fide nutritious vegetables like kale and broccoli.... But they’re the outliers. Most salads are nutritional and environmental losers."

84 comments:

Mark said...

That's why you grow it in your garden, as it is about the easiest thing to grow and often tastes better if picked right before eating.

Shipping it from overseas is nuts ... ditto for celery

RideSpaceMountain said...

Did you know that most luxuries are 'first-world' luxuries? Shocking, I know.

Wince said...

"Pretty strong meat there from [sniff] Sam Peckinpah!"

Sam Peckinpah's 'Salad Days'

"Will you stop sniffing!"

tim maguire said...

I eat salad for the fiber and am not too concerned about the transportation of water.

Whiskeybum said...

FINALLY - a WaPo article I can agree with! A bit preachy, but correct in its essence. There are a lot of good considerations in deciding what to eat, but first you need to get though all of the latest myths that surround foods.

Carol said...

Especially iceberg lettuce which is worthless. I haven't bought that in years.

But lettuce generally is a hassle to keep if you're not going to use it all at once. But boyni love it on a cold sandwich.

Then there's the salmonella problem. Who knew healthy food could be so toxic?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

“First-world problem: too much food “

Biden is well on the way to fixing that.

Richard Aubrey said...

The ratchet. One more reason to restrict the choices of the lower orders. The bigs, of course, are not to be affected.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

“First-world problem: too much food “

Biden is well on the way to fixing that.

Rollo said...

Some "First World Problems" really are problems for people in the First World. We all have them. They become a problem when people complain about them in public. Thinking that salad is a First World Problem and saying so in the Washington Post is itself a First World Problem.

Humperdink said...

"And the corn is way more food."

According to my nutritionist, corn is the worst "vegetable" you can eat. Loaded with carbs which = sugar.

Yancey Ward said...

I don't like lettuce at all- prefer fresh spinach in its place.

Original Mike said...

"Lettuce is a vehicle to bring refrigerated water from farm to table."

What do you want to bet Ms Haspel drinks bottled water?

Mary Beth said...

They call salad a vehicle for transporting water, I call it a vehicle for transporting "piles of croutons, dressing, shredded cheese, and chicken strips".

Joe Smith said...

Best salad I've had recently; broccoli, grapes, walnuts, blue cheese dressing.

I could tell you where to buy it, but then I'd have to kill you...

JK Brown said...

Lettuce and other leafy greens are early vegetables that grow in the Spring thus alleviating the starvation that came after food stores were depleted and before summer crops started producing. Thus, why such leafy greens have a prominent place in the historical palate They brought vitamins and minerals that were short supply with the final root crops.

That being said, transporting salad greens may not be the best use of resources. But then don't whine about wanting a salad in high summer or cold seasons.

n.n said...

Too many ingredients. Vegetables are for herbivores. Diet in moderation.

joe said...

I'm not terribly familiar with this author but the author seems to want to claim the mantle of some sort of a nutritional expert. Fiber is one of the most important aspects of diet that Americans do a poor job if ingesting. On average we consume about 50% of the fiber we should.
And, fiber helps our body regulate sugar - both intake and internal release in the body. Salad is not a nutritional zero and to suggest otherwise is idiotic.

Lettuces, celery and other mostly water plants tend to provide a lot of fiber at a very low cost (and without making you think you are eating cardboard or sawdust).

TRISTRAM said...

Lettuce is a structural / texture for food. You don't eat salad for the lettuce and more than you eat sandwiches for the bread. I mean, some do. But, like girly club or reuban sandwiches , we order salads by dressing and/or Caesar, House, etc.

Mr. D said...

Diabetics would like a word....

Bob Boyd said...

Do you love lettuce, but feel like a creepy planet molester whenever you eat it?

Well wipe your tears away!

Now you can enjoy the lettuce flavor you crave guilt-free. Introducing the latest innovation in powdered drink mix technology, Lettuce-aid!

Mix up a tall cool glass with a splooge of your favorite dressing today!

Lettuce-aid.
Good for you. Good for the Earth.

Ambrose said...

Ugh. These people will leave no one alone.

gadfly said...

Junk food is cheap! That’s because the building blocks of junk food — refined grains, sugar, oil — are cheap.

No, vegetable oil has increased 250% since 2016; cereals are up 170%; Dairy is up 150% and sugar and meats are up just 120%. Corn shortages will affect corn sucrose prices and raise the commodity price of world-priced sugar cane in the very near future.

And our writer lost the war here: "If your lettuce travels crosstown instead of cross-country, that’s a couple of thousand fossil-fueled miles that don’t have to happen. But it turns out that transport is a very small fraction of the climate impact of food: less than 10 percent, most of the time."

CO2 costs zero, and we don't need to spend money burying God's miracle gas and transportation is an important element in our quest for a full economy. Fossil fuels are far cheaper than so-called renewable energy and will be for years to come until hydrogen-based fuels are successfully developed and deployed.

Bender said...

Remember when the Dems (Michael Dukakis anyway) pushed Belgian endive?

JPS said...

Bender, 10:55:

I remember the SNL debate where Jon Lovitz' Mike Dukakis is subsequently asked to expand on his vision of American farmers growing Belgian endive:

"I see purple mountains of radicchio...I see verdant valleys of arugula. I see escarole from sea to shining –" [Ding!] " – sea."

Lem said...

Put the salad in a frying pan add mushrooms. Add olive oil and soy sauce instead of salad dressing. Stir for a couple minutes and you have a quick delicious anccompaniment to any kind of meat you desire.

gilbar said...

Don't forget the Three Ladles of dressing! When you eat your iceburg lettuce; you NEED to Coat Each Piece in dressing.. That way; your salad has more calories than a Big Mac

Quaestor said...

Imagine that! The phony, wasteful, expensive, and utterly useless District of Columbia failures who deem themselves our betters, now attempt to distract us from their most recent litany of disasters by attacking salad. I'm offering salad at 7 to 1 with a 10-point spread.

If WaPo is so all fired up to get preachy about phony, wasteful, expensive, and utterly useless first-world luxuries, why not start at the top of the list -- "sex reassignment" surgery?

gilbar said...

broccoli, carrots, and cottage cheese
Then, take the ladle, dip it in the dressing, turn it upside down so it all pours out; and Then hold it over your plate; allowing about 3 Drops of dressing to fall in (and flavor) the cottage cheese. Now stir it all up!
Good? HELL NO!
Good For You? So they save
Calories? Not many

Back when i was anorexic, i used to eat that crap Every day for lunch.. YUCK!
What Made it Far Worse, was waiting for fat lady in line in front of me to fill her plate with iceberg lettuce (picking out any cabbage or spinach that might be mixed in,) and THEN,
Ladling THREE ladles of dressing on top of the lettuce. DOUBLE YUCK!!

Curious George said...

I've been eating wedge salads lately. Quarter a head, add some tomato, bacon, and blue cheese dressing. Filling and tasty. Goes great with a burger or steak.

mikee said...

No mention of rickets or scurvy or other common medical problems associated with lack of fresh green stuff in your diet. Odd, that. The Brit Navy of the 1700s - 1800s had to implement a complex system to provide lime juice with the rum given to their jolly tars, so they could fight the French, et al., for months at sea without falling sick from lack of Vitamin C. Putting into port for fruits and vegetables to prevent nutritional illness was often the limiting factor in how long a ship could stay at sea, second only to limitations on water replacement. There is a reason people eat salads, and conspicuous consumption isn't it, for most people.

traditionalguy said...

Taylor salad kits are perfect for two and have 7 varieties of dressing croutons and cheese toppings straight from the Salinas Valley. They are great with steaks , roasts, lamb chops etc. to stick with your low carb diets.

Scott Patton said...

Crunchy iceberg lettuce is a great low calorie substitute for crackers, as in, cheese and crackers.
To be clear, iceberg lettuce and hot pepper cheese is pretty good. Saltines and hot pepper cheese is way better.

Freeman Hunt said...

Meat is 75% water.

Freeman Hunt said...

Potatoes are 79% water.

Joe Smith said...

'I've been eating wedge salads lately. Quarter a head, add some tomato, bacon, and blue cheese dressing. Filling and tasty. Goes great with a burger or steak.'

This is acceptable...

Richard Dolan said...

"Salad is a first world luxury ...."

Yes, indeed, the first world beats all the others. Proving once again that God loves America, first world capital par excellence.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

My go-to salad:

Spinach, walnuts (toasted, otherwise they are bitter) grilled chicken, with homemade sesame-ginger dressing. Often another vegetable or two that happen to be hanging around. Throw some sesame seeds on top if you are having it as part of your Instagram elopement.

effinayright said...

"Mmmmmmmmm....salad on a stick!"

----Homer Simpson

wendybar said...

I remember when somebody was complaining about the price of arugula. He must be REALLY pissed about the price of it now.

Rusty said...

." But they’re the outliers. Most salads are nutritional and environmental losers.""
Those resources could better be utilized making M&Ms.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AND ANYONE WHO SAYS DIET SODA IS FINE HAS NEVER TASTED DIET SODA!

Sorry about that. Yeah, I know, I probably have some uncommon genetic phenotype that makes it so that I taste diet soda the way it actually tastes, which is just like regular soda for about 2 or 3 femtoseconds, followed by an indescribably disgusting taste that never goes away. Ever.

Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanne Jacobs said...

Now I'm supposed to feel guilty about eating lettuce?

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Something like 40 years ago did a deep dive into Edgar Cayce's diet suggestions and remember he said the thing about lettuce is it makes the nutrients in other foods more available to your system - more of a catalyst than having value all by itself.

Joe Smith said...

'AND ANYONE WHO SAYS DIET SODA IS FINE HAS NEVER TASTED DIET SODA!'

The newest version of Coke Zero is not terrible...

Michael K said...

It was Obama who complained that salads in Iowa did not include arugula. This is all a lefty, virtue signaling pantomime for a slow news day.

Blogger Freeman Hunt said...

Meat is 75% water.


People are 90% water.

Michael K said...

Fossil fuels are far cheaper than so-called renewable energy and will be for years to come until hydrogen-based fuels are successfully developed and deployed.

gadfly is starting to sound sane. Why did you choose the Biden team ? You helped put the crazies in charge.

Yancey Ward said...

Joe Biden's brain is 99.9999% water.

n.n said...

Salads are common in third-world diets.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Want to improve "Planetary Health"? Convert the WaPo to manual printing, just like they did in Benjamin Franklin's time. A man with an ink roller, another one handling the paper and a third working the press lever. A fourth man to collect the printed sheets and combine them into a paper bundle.

Also, no online presence. That use electric power, which must be produced by squadrons of unicorns turning a generator. Very bad for the environment.

Richard said...

You don't win friends with salad

GrapeApe said...

Not sure I agree qith everything said (tl;dr), but many fresh vegetables are water intensive. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers. But I do use iceberg lettuce as a substitute for taco shells or flour tortillas for wraps. If the main point is about water use, address avocados and almond milk. Very water intensive.

narciso said...

yes saccharine tastes, ymmv, they really want us eating bugs,

walter said...

"You vill eat zee bugz"

ALP said...

"If you buy a salad, and then remove the lettuce, you see what you’re really eating for lunch: sad little brown piles of croutons, dressing, shredded cheese, and chicken strips."

Oh FFS - 'buy' a salad? That's your mistake. The author clearly doesn't know how to MAKE a proper salad. Lettuce is a vehicle for the more substantial veggies such as radishes, carrots, cabbage, etc.

Bender said...

The bad thing about bags of salad is not that they are 99 percent water.

It is that they are a waste of plastic. They are a waste of the money you labored for to buy them.

By the time you get that bag of salad home from the store, it is already half wilted and slimy. And then it is just an invitation for intestinal distress.

Even if you can get one good use out of it, the rest will not keep.

Iman said...

I don’t know ‘bout y’all, but MY salad’s got a diamond in the back, sunroof top and I’m diggin' the scene
with a gangsta lean, woohooooo

Oh, and gangsta whitewalls… TV antennas in the back

JaimeRoberto said...

I'm going to eat whatever I damn well please, and if the author doesn't like it he can come and toss my salad.

SDaly said...

First they came for meat, then the lettuce, then the almonds, then they outlawed everything but industrial bug meal.

Beasts of England said...

Three of my favorite salads: Caesar, wedge and Niçoise. The latter is Ahi tuna, asparagus, potatoes, hard boiled eggs, Roma tomatoes, anchovies, and Niçoise olives over Bibb lettuce with a Dijon vinaigrette. Cook and chill the first four ingredients; chill the others if you wish. A flawless Summer salad… Woot!!

Quaestor said...

People are 90% water.

So is the living steer. But the butcher sorts out about 15%.

Lem said...

r/dadjokes: a-b-c-d-e-f-g WATER p-q-r-s-t-u-v-w-x-y-z

Link to Joke

Link to explainer

Howard said...

Lettuce turnip and pea.

Lem said...

The surgeons in the gender conforming industry are... Smooth Criminals

Dr Weevil said...

I personally have found Diet Coke unhelpful in losing weight as well as nasty in flavor. When I was diagnosed with diabetes 14+ years ago, I switched from Coke to Diet Coke and gave up dried fruits and a few other other things and lost 10 pounds but no more. Later on, I lost 15-20 more pounds switching from Diet Coke to unsweetened flavored seltzer and going semi-keto (keeping carbs down to a minimum while eating all the fat and protein I want). I found that Diet Coke makes me want to eat just as many (e.g.) potato chips or other tasty carbs with it as if it were Coke, while even a few potato chips seem like a lot with seltzer. I think the sweet (pseudo-sweet?) flavor in itself encourages overeating.

Howard said...

Adam Trask could not be reached for comment.

M said...

The Romans loved salad. It is far from a “modern” luxury. As for shipping, that is a side effect of modern production methods that are the result of central planning and the federal AG subsidizing large producers while stomping on small scale local farms. So anyone who supports large bureaucracy supports this production style. Once again leftist rage against a problem of their own creation.

Paddy O said...

You have lettuce in your salad? Luxury! We have to mow the neighbors lawn and get our water from the dew left in the bag of clippings

dbp said...

Salad goes great with a steak and a baked potato. The cost of salad components covers the cost of growing and transporting various vegetables which go into it and I'm fine with the cost per calorie being less for the salad than for the steak, the potato and the butter for the potato.

In general, every penny I spend on food is a penny I don't spend on something else--which would also consume resources. So you aren't saving the world by eschewing salad. Calm down and eat what you like.

Lurker21 said...

That reminds me of when I went to college. I had always heard salads were healthy and slimming and there was a full help yourself salad bar in the cafeteria. I had a salad with all the fixings, the entrée, the soup and a few deserts. I gained a lot of weight that I haven't been able to take off since.

Leave salad alone. If you're craving something sugary or salty or are tempted to fill up on starches or have a drink or a smoke or try narcotics and you are satisfied with a nice salad, that's good enough.

Meat is 75% water.

People are 90% water.


See, Charlton, Soylent Green is made from water.

stlcdr said...

There was a salad-bar 'fast food' restaurant in town. It closed down. Aw, shucks.

Mark said...

You don't win friends with salad

Whatever happened to I Have Misplaced My Pants? Am I mistaken or has she not been around lately?

effinayright said...

Bender said...

By the time you get that bag of salad home from the store, it is already half wilted and slimy. And then it is just an invitation for intestinal distress.
**********

You need to stop buying your salad at Dollar Stores.

RigelDog said...

Oh jeez here we go again with the moral posturing about the scandal of lettuce. Well you can pry my leaf-water from my cold dead hands! Even in the example of the salad where we imagine removing the lettuce and looking at the "sorry" leavings of chicken, shredded cheese, croutons....THE LETTUCE IS THE POINT!

According to the scolds, if the chicken and cheese is put on slices of bread, it magically loses its pitiful, sorry, head-hanging nature and goes from the Pinocchio of repasts to become a Real Meal! But I don't want it on bread with all those carbs, I want the chicken mixed in with cold crisp delicious leafy water that takes a lot longer to eat than a sandwich. There will also be tomatoes and probably bell pepper.

Yancey Ward said...

"Whatever happened to I Have Misplaced My Pants? Am I mistaken or has she not been around lately?"

Been missing from our Discord, too. I have e-mailed her a couple of times with no reply. Am worried. Same with Dust Bunny Queen.

RigelDog said...

Dr. Weevil said: "When I was diagnosed with diabetes 14+ years ago, I switched from Coke to Diet Coke and gave up dried fruits and a few other other things and lost 10 pounds but no more. Later on, I lost 15-20 more pounds switching from Diet Coke to unsweetened flavored seltzer and going semi-keto (keeping carbs down to a minimum while eating all the fat and protein I want)."

I could have written this almost word for word, except I lost about 30 lbs with low-carb and then plateaued. Cutting out Diet Coke, just to get all those chemicals out of my body, led to an unexpected loss of about another 10 lbs.

Bender said...

Mention his name and, what do you know?

East of Eden pops on the TV.

PM said...

Let's skip to the conclusion: salad is racist.

Gospace said...

I forget whether my father owned a Burger King or worked for corporate when in response to consumer surveys, multiple ones, in different parts of the nation, BK started putting in salad bars. I don’t think they lasted even a year. What consumers say they want in a survey and what they actually want as demonstrated by what they buy are often two entirely different things.

Ruby Tuesday’s have salad bars, with a large variety of ingredients. None near me. But halfway between my house and my sister-in-law’s house is one. It’s where I stop to eat both there and back. A large plate of salad, followed by the burger with a side of fried zucchini, followed by another large plate of salad.

The other consumer survey I know of that demonstrated this disconnect was one by Maytag. Maytag was the last appliance company to offshore it’s over the range microwaves. 90% of consumers said they would spend $20-30 more to buy one made in the USA. They weren’t. Large signs on all the display models for a while- “Proudly Made in the USA”. And all the other companies picked up OTR market share as Maytag lost it.

Something to keep in mind when looking at the abortion surveys on this very blog. How big is the difference between survey answers and how people are going to vote?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I'm not a big salad eater, unless it's fresh. There's a local pizza place near me with decent pizza for a small-town place, but amazing salad. I swear they must grow the vegetables behind the restaurant, they're that fresh. And the portions are large. A garden salad or Caesar salad is large enough for two meals. I end up skipping the pizza. (And the dressing. If I'm gonna eat vegetables, I want to taste vegetables.)

And I don't feel the least bit guilty. The author can sod off.

KellyM said...

I love salads, but I'm not eating kale. I've always thought of it as cattle fodder. Besides, it's nutritional value for humans is rather overstated.

I've found cabbage makes a good substitute for iceberg on a sandwich, but it does amp up the chew factor.

baghdadbob said...

While iceberg is fairly empty, other than fiber, salads made with watercress, spinach, arugula, kale and radicchio are nutrient-dense, albeit a tad bitter. Add a little romaine to moderate the taste.

Adorn your salad with cukes, carrots, celery, tomatoes and avocado, with olive oil and fresh lemon juice as dressing. This is my 4-5x/week power lunch.

Bunkypotatohead said...

That's the stuff my food eats.