Salads

“Yeah, eggs are healthy. They have, like, nutrients and shit.” -Me, half an hour ago

At about the time that these words left my mouth, I realized that I have really gone downhill. In terms of quality of character and general maturity and intelligence levels, my ability to masquerade as an adult has deteriorated rapidly since leaving the real world two-and-a-half years ago and striking out on my own. Before I left college I was a dumbass, but college students are allowed to be dumb. They’re kind of supposed to be dumb. (Isn’t that the point of going to school?) Since then, however, I have actually digressed from what vestigial maturity I had, and I now say things like, “eggs have nutrients and shit.”

This isn’t what I imagined for myself. Though this is neither the time nor place to go into detail (although it was awesome), I can say with certainty that I always assumed I’d maintain a level of intellectual competence worthy of fine company. Yes, ‘fine company’ with whom I imagined I’d discuss the hard topics of the day from the comfort of a tailored suit while drinking fine wines on a yacht. I always imagined that despite whatever barbarous physical activity in which I passed my days (which, once again, was going to kick ass), my capacity to form complete sentences and argue only those points on which I was qualified would never diminish but, if anything, improve. How wrong I turned out to be. My life is a mess and I’m now a disgrace. How pathetic.

And then again, I thought, Maybe I’m not a disgrace. Perhaps eggs are healthy; perhaps they do have “nutrients and shit.” I mean, that’s the whole point right? To convey the idea that eggs are ‘healthy’ in the sense that they impart positive energy to our bodies in the form of nutrients and other similar types of shit? As I contemplated this topic I realized that my original assumption was not wrong at all. Instead of losing my ability to convey meaning in an eloquent manner, I have simply segued my original training in the aesthetics of conversation into a more colloquial and expressive–even evocative–style. Though in the above autoquote I failed to elaborate on exactly what other shit besides nutrients is in eggs that makes us healthy, I nevertheless imparted the basic concept that eggs have all kinds of healthy shit in them.

Indeed, if I had taken the steps to detail individually all of the good shit in eggs, surely the technical nature of such detailing would quickly have lost the attentions of my audience. In that situation, I would not only have failed to impart the specifics, but I wouldn’t even have been able to keep my listeners long enough to make them remember the only part that matters: that eggs are healthy. Eggs don’t get less healthy if you don’t know why they’re healthy. They are always just healthy, because they always have those nutrients and shit that keep us going. So… I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m so brilliant that without even knowing it I’ve become simultaneously smarter and better at communicating knowledge to the masses. It’s not quite on the level of awesome as what I used to imagine I’d do when I grew up, but it’s a respectable second.

Where does this leave us? Well, if I’m asking rhetorical questions then you know that we have come to a good place in this article. The time has come to use this newfound skill for a purpose greater than mere generalizations. Now that I know what I’m capable of, I must use my capabilities for good. And that’s why I’m going to teach you how to make a salad.

How to Make a Salad
“One leaf does not a salad make.” -Me, just now

Look, if you’re making a salad, then you already have an idea of how you should be living. And if there’s one principle I’ve found that applies to everyone, it’s that you can always be better. Put another way, you’re never good enough. But if you’re able to stuff down into the deep, forgotten recesses of your mind the existential terror of an infinite void of futility surrounding everyone, then you’re the kind of person who will always try to be good enough. And that is where salads come in.

This isn’t exactly a surprise to anyone, but salads are really good for you. They have all kinds of nutrients and shit that will make you all kinds of healthy. If you eat salads, you’ll recover faster and feel better; you’ll have more energy and run faster more often; you’ll be more attractive to the opposite sex, pay less in taxes, learn languages easier, and be universally loved by pets everywhere. If you eat salads, your life will improve immeasurably. The problem is… salads suck. Nobody wants to eat a bunch of crunchy leaves all the time. Sure, it’s no big deal occasionally, but if you’re really after all those shitty nutrients everyone keeps talking about, you need to be eating salads on the daily. Luckily, I have devised a flexible salad plan in which you don’t have to sacrifice all toothsome pleasure for health as long as you do a few specific things.

First you take a bag of spinach and dump the whole thing into your biggest mixing bowl. Next, chop up some vegetables. If you’re wondering which vegetables to focus on, the answer is all of them. Every vegetable at the store is not only good in a salad but basically required. Try carrots, celery, cucumber, and mushrooms. Beets, kale, eggplant, and onion. Zucchini and brussels sprouts, bok choy and swiss chard, tomatoes and squash, and pumpkin and ginger root. Throw all these in on top of the spinach and mix it up. You’re doing a great job.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this is just like a classic salad and that, though healthy, it sucks. Sure, this salad has nutrients and shit, but like all the salads you’re used to, it will leave you hungry and craving real food that will bring you comfort and flavor and happiness. But don’t worry–this is where it gets good.

All you have to do now is throw literally anything else in there that you’ve ever liked eating. Like nuts? Sprinkle them on top. Fan of quinoa? Cook up a batch and toss it in. I often throw all kinds of things in my salads at this point that you might never expect, from smoked salmon to whole steaks to yogurt or even a chopped-up Clif Bar. It’s all at your own discretion; your tastes equal your salad. Mash a burrito into your salad. Julienne some pizza. Dust in a layer of Smarties. You’re the salad maker here and you can make whatever salad you want. Your limit is your imagination. So dream on, dreamers.

At the end of the day, a good salad is less a salad and more a soft and organic layer beneath the food you’re actually interested in eating. If you have the motivation, you could even try mixing the two foods together. But don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with. You can ease into that later when you’re in fine company and don’t want to look like the person you really are. In the meantime, here’s a shorthand version of the above that you totally wouldn’t understand unless you had read the last seven hundred words.

Salad Makins’:

  1. Spinach;
  2. Ton of goddamn vegetables; and
  3. Seriously anything else.

And that’s the big secret! Now get out there and eat yourself some nutrients and shit!

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

Alright. So, who eats salads? And who likes eating salads? And who knows what specific nutrients are in eggs that make them healthy and “shit?” Also, if you’re headed up to Silverton, Colorado, where Dakota is stationed while training for the Hardrock 100, maybe bring him some spinach?

There are 39 comments

  1. @Baristing

    Salads are awesome because you can eat like a glutton – in terms of volume – and still convince other adults in your presence that you've made a wise, health promoting decision, never mind the serpentine unhinged jaw. Because while many foods have nutrients and shit, salads are the shit. This is science.

  2. @ruffini

    Happy to hear I am not the only one doing this creative salad shit. If you add sufficient amounts of spaghetti the border becomes fuzzy … pasta or salad? Same with bread: salad or sandwich?

    The use of Smarties has so far eluded me, though. No more. Fun read!

  3. @DirtandSun

    My wife ensures that I eat salads and/or smoothies with leaves and twigs and shit. Hence, I have become awesome. Unfortunately, she neglects to put a lot of seeds in, so I add those myself when I'm motivated to get off my ass.

  4. senelly

    Having tried (without much success) to make a salad in Silverton, it is my observation that most live food there moves on its own.

  5. ClownRunner

    My Mom always tells the story of a time during my childhood when she made a salad from our backyard garden and served it to guests at a dinner party and a snake slithered out of the salad. Consider yourself forewarned…

  6. MOGBlogger

    Funniest (and maybe truest?) thing I've read all week. Because I'm also not a fan of "green shit" like you've described above, I've graduated to green smoothies — you can liquify a TON of greens and disguise the taste with tastier things, like fruit, and drink it down licketysplit and be done with it.

  7. Raiderxc

    This is so funny. I get irunfar in my email everyday, and typically I read it when I am home for lunch. Today, I sat down at my computer with a bowl full of spinach, lettuce, peppers of four different colors, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and some tomato vinagerette dressing — literally all the shit I could find in the fridge. And this article pops up.

  8. andymxyz

    You forgot the dressing. How could you mess up such a simple thing?

    And don't even tell me that you meant dressing to be included in step 3. Dressing would be step 4 and you now it.

    Now go eat your dry salad.

  9. CoreyS

    Send in the SAR team. I fear the rarified air of the Silverton high country may have finally gotten to poor Dakota’s brain.

  10. sdjackielai

    You sir have talent. I heard you also are a runner of some acclaim. Keep the writing going, really enjoyed it.

  11. markymoro

    I'd make me a big damn salad, except for the reminder that I am surrounded by an infinite void of futility. Thanks, Dakota – now I'm terrified AND hungry.

  12. @SageCanaday

    B12 and iron..key reason why I eat eggs (and for really good, baked goods and omelettes of course). Sometimes the dressing can make or break a salad IMHO…avocados are also key!

  13. Amiee

    I loooove salads! Best salad ever:

    1. Bed of spinach
    2. Layer of scrambled eggs (for nutrients and shit)
    3. Stir-fried vegetable scraps/misc leftovers
    4. Ketchup

  14. Andy

    Prolonged exposure to rarified air above 10,000 ft can cause, well, word salad, defined by Wikipedia as a "confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases — most often used to describe a symptom of a mental disorder." Oh, yeah, and coprolalia and sh … well, you know …

  15. robindoeseverything

    I… actually adore salads so much that I never put dressing on them, because dressing would get in the way of my ability to taste the deliciousness of the spinach. (Spinach has been my favorite food pretty much since I was born… it was one of the many reasons I started getting bullied about five years before anyone else did.) Ironically, I was a super picky eater as a kid, but my parents were more than happy to accommodate my particular brand of picky-eater-ness, so most nights my dinner would be nothing but a big bowl of steamed spinach with garlic! (Maybe the spinach cravings and the anemia are connected… or maybe I just run way too much. <_<)

  16. francois_g

    Mr Jones, i think you're not supposed to smoke the salads before heading to your computer. Do we need to call the USADA on you now?

  17. bethdooleyj

    and remember what the great STEVE G JONES always said: "SALADS ARE A GREAT EXCUSE TO EAT SALAD DRESSING"!! Love my bouy!!

  18. mikehinterberg

    Eggs are great for providing all the essential amino acids in one source, esp. helpful for vegetarians.
    Salads are great precisely because they're a mix of nutrient sources — often food paired together gives a healthier combination (no surprise that beans and rice or beans and corn have been eaten together for centuries), which is why I'm very leery of lame "rankings" of individual food items being healthier than each other. Similarly, the right protein combinations (e.g. nuts and legumes, quinoa, etc.) can provide all the essential amino acids as well, and other combinations of nutrients are helpful with each other in absorption of nutrients (e.g. Iron with Vitamin C). Ideally, your salad is looking like a bunch of green stuff, a healthy protein combination, and some brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables…And finally, fat is particularly useful for this due to the fat-solubility of many key nutrients — so listen to these calls above to slather some (healthy) fat-based dressing on!

    And more eating, less overthinking, I suppose.
    Carry on, wayward son!

  19. GIORGIORUNNER

    Dammit Dakota, I'm trying to finish my thesis on some shitty subject in a student library, and you made me laugh so hard my whole computer now is covered in apple and coffee. Getting really weird looks over here.
    Philosophy a 'vague' subject? Try writing something about eggs and salad :)

    Great post, thanks.

  20. nomeatbarefeet

    Brilliant. I particularly love your admonition of the audience attempts to following along with you: "You're doing a great job." Salad on Dakota. Salad on.

  21. oftenrandom

    This is why pop stars, actors, celebrities, etc. fail to recognize their limits; they surround themselves with people who blow smoke up their ass. Do not be fooled, Mr. Jones, this article is just shit without the healthy. I hope, for your sake, that you were rushing for a deadline and were drunk when you wrote this.

  22. @koffeeklatch

    Eggs do have nutrients….. and some shit on them. I raise chickens and trust me, there's nutrients and a little shit on those eggs when you get em from the chicken. Your original comment was completely accurate. ;-)

  23. old_greg

    Dakota, your approach to salads is like the 'zombo.com' approach to the internet. If you've never been to zombo.com, go check it out while you make your next salad.

  24. Max

    Bacon. Bacon is in fact a vegetable. bacon goes in salads and only vegetables go in salads, therefore bacon is a vegetable.

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