A Salad A Day
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Hygienic Review March 1972
I coined the slogan "a salad a day
keeps acidosis away". It is rare
that a slogan is strictly accurate,
but this one came as near being
fully accurate as slogans do.
It is true, however, only if the
salad is of the right kind. Shrimp salad,
potato salad, egg salad and salad covered
with oil or vinegar will not answer the purpose assigned to salads.
The word salad is from a Latin word meaning salt, and our salad vegetables
are abundant sources of mineral salts in their most readily assimilated form.
There is no substitute for green foods in our diet.
It is important that these be taken, largely if not wholly, in the raw or uncooked
state. In general the green leaves of plants are our richest sources of organic
salts (minerals), are rich sources of vitamins, are sources of small quantities of
the highest grade proteins and are the best sources of chlorophyll, which,
while it will not deodorize your breath and body, is essential in animal
Salads are not so important in the diet of one who lives largely on uncooked
foods and whose diet is made up largely of fruits and vegetables.
One who eats largely of flesh, cereals, legumes and other starchy and high
protein foods has an urgent need for one or two large green salads daily.
A British author says that:
"Two or three hundred years ago our meat-gorging ancestors, if they happened
to be wealthy enough to gorge on meat, went through a fifteen course meal
without the mention of fruit, from duck to chicken, to pork and pheasant, then
fish and meat again, 'till they gasped and often passed out in surfeit or
Some Red Indian tribes, living almost entirely on meat, scorned fruit and
vegetables as woman's food, and the hunters of Asia and Africa, though there
are really only few of them, do not make much fuss over fruit."
Taking a salad with a meal of that kind is somewhat on the order of taking an
antidote with a poison.
Of the number of green foods that are commonly eaten in this country, the
following is not a complete list, but contains a sufficient number to show the
variety of such foods that we use: spinach, kale, chard, turnip greens, beet
greens, cabbage, broccoli, okra, green beans, fresh peas, asparagus, collards,
lettuce, celery, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, mustard greens, etc.
All of these vegetables are palatable in the raw state and may profitably be
added to a salad. There are several varieties of lettuce that may be used, often
two or more kinds at a time.
In some parts of the nation escarole, endive and other green vegetables are
obtainable. The cucumber makes a very delightful addition to a salad and may
be eaten whole.
The variety of different salads that may be made is great and one or more of
these may be had at all seasons of the year. Indeed, it is important to have
some fresh green food every day of the year and not take salads only at
It is well to eat a large salad and not skimp on this part of the meal. The salads
served in most homes, restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, and other eating-places
are commonly too small to adequately meet the needs of the persons eating
them. A big salad should be the rule.
I get complaints from many people that they cannot take so much of what they
Dr. Kellogg pointed out years ago that this so-called "roughage" were better
termed "bulk". The fact is that the small amount of indigestible cellulose in
these foods is not rough. It is, on the contrary, rather soft and filled with water.
On the other hand, if a large salad is run through a juice extractor and all the
water extracted from it, it will be seen at once that the amount of bulk in what
looks like an enormous salad is but a small measure.
The cry that they contain too much "roughage" is not based on fact.
The widespread practice of cutting, chopping, and shredding salad vegetables
and serving them with dressings of one kind or another cannot be too
Dr. Tilden used to advise his readers to make such a salad and then he would
add that the salad should be "dressed with lemon juice, oil and salt to taste".
If cabbage was the only vegetable to be procured, as at certain seasons of the
year it often is in some parts of the country, he advised eating it in the form of
"The slaw may be dressed with salt and lemon or vinegar; or a sweet, sour
dressing may be used; vinegar and lemon juice, sugar, salt, and a little sweet or
Both of these are bad dietetic practices and must be looked upon as
concessions by Tilden to the popular taste.
When vegetables and fruits are sliced, cut small, ground, shredded, or
otherwise broken into small particles, so that the oxygen of the air gets to
them, much food value is lost through oxidation.
The longer they are permitted to stand before eating, after they have been thus
treated, the greater is the loss of food value.
The loss of certain vitamins through oxidation is especially rapid. Such
practices are permissible only when feeding the toothless individual who is
unable to chew whole foods. Then the food should be fed immediately after
preparing, so that a minimum of loss through oxidation is sustained.
The dressings added to salads are not incompatible with the salads per se, but
they do interfere with the digestion of other foods.
Acids used in the dressings interfere with the digestion of both starches and
proteins. Oils added to the salad interfere with the digestion of proteins.
Whether cream is sweet or sour, its addition to the salad will interfere with
Sugar added to the salad dressing inhibits protein digestion. Thus, while
there is no serious reason why oil or cream may not be added to a salad when
it is to be taken with a starch meal, it should not be added to a salad that is to
be taken with a protein meal.
Lemon juice and vinegar should not be added with either meal. There can be
no objection to the addition of lemon juice or oil or both to the salad if a salad
is to be taken alone as we often like to do, or, as often happens, the salad and
a cooked green vegetable is to be eaten as the meal.
By: Herbert M. Shelton
Article: A Salad A Day