The Ultimate "Work from Home" Lunch
About five years ago, I stopped eating meat on a regular basis. A couple of times a year I might taste something, but for the most part I don’t. I eat some eggs and dairy, but try to keep them in check and listen to my body. I was playing around with diet for a while and educating myself on the food system, but it was Howard Lyman’s Mad Cowboy that pushed me over the edge on cutting out meat. Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food meant a lot too. When I stopped eating meat, it wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it might be. And there wasn't an immediate, drastic change in how I felt. But over time, I felt increasingly and noticeably better. My weight doesn't fluctuate as much as it used to, I feel less tired and lethargic after big meals, and overall I have more energy. Everyone’s different and I think the key is to try to pay attention to how you feel after meal time throughout the day.
One thing I’ve been able to do is focus more on what I do eat, and less on what I don’t—when I removed meat from my diet, I created a lot of room for more vegetables, legumes, and fermented foods which I’m always mindful of making sure I have a good mix of. Keeps my energy way up and my digestive system very happy. I also eat half of a pizza somewhat regularly for dinner. I grew up on Long Island and it’s comforting to me. I love pizza. I also usually have uncomfortable stomach cramps afterwards. I think it’s important to share the whole picture—a lot of people I know have an unhealthy relationship with food to some degree. It’s a journey, and an increasingly hard one to navigate since the commodification of food in this country dictates most of our diets.
When the pandemic hit NYC, I was initially relying on a lot of shelf stable foods and going to the markets less. I could immediately feel the toll those more processed foods were having on the way I felt in the evenings, after a full day of them. Generally, I try to stick to natural ingredients that have existed for generations and avoid the more processed stuff. Since we launched Green Top Grocery, I’m back in some good habits, and I wanted to share what I consider to be the ultimate “work-from-home” lunch. It’s loaded with fresh produce, it’s delicious, and it’s a quick prep and clean up. It also has an addictive quality, and it’s become a nice routine (which I’ve been craving) in this new world we’re living in. My partner, who is overall a pretty healthy and active person, is a lover of processed foods. She insisted I add that as reluctant as she was to join in these lunches, she feels drastically different than when she was subsisting off processed foods in the afternoons.
When I place my employee order for the week, I order three boxes of mixed greens—there’s two of us in our apartment and that gets us through the week (six giant salads). Those greens are a good price and are packed with a really delicious mix, all from Satur Farms out on Long Island. Then, I usually add in a couple spoon-fulls of different prepared salads that we sell by the pint. Right now, I’m really digging this cucumber salad, the broccoli & carrots, and the potato salad. For the broccoli & carrots, toss them in the microwave for 20 seconds to get them to a nice ambient temperature before adding to your salad. I also usually buy some dried beans and prep those in the beginning of the week, always soaking them before I cook them to make all the stored nutrients in them available. I pull those from the fridge, and toss them with a sliced raw pepper or onion and some olive oil before adding them into the salad. Then, I throw in some feta, kosher salt, black pepper, oregano, and a few spoons of our vegan white sauce, and toss the whole thing
This salad is really just a framework, you can sub in whatever you like/whatever you have leftover in the fridge. If I’m out of the white sauce, I make a simple vinaigrette or I salvage some of the remaining liquid from my pickled onions. If I'm running low on ingredients, even one or two of the additions listed above makes for a delicious salad. I think Green Top’s taste is always so unique because our salads are composed of a bunch of smaller salads that work alone, but are surprisingly nice when incorporated together—it takes lunch salads to the next level and really gives you a connection to the changing seasons in the Northeast. I’ve worked mainly from home for a long time and I find this habit to be a game changer when you have a long work day, and need energy and clarity.
Hope you dig it,