A humorous instructional on surviving the consumption of salads.

By on June 11, 2014 | Comments

“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?

Dakota Jones
Dakota Jones explores the wild places of the world on foot and tells us about it every few weeks. He runs for Salomon and Clif Bar.