Zesty Greek Salad & a low carb update

Today I’m sharing a zesty Greek Salad….doesn’t this look refreshing?

It is! But first an update on my low carb experiment. I find myself still amazed at this new way of eating. Again not much different from my clean eating, just being aware of everything that has a carb in it, and cutting out the grains and fruit for now. Some of the low carb eating plans out there allow 1/2 to 1 cup of berries a day. I needed something sweet, so after suffering for 2 days I began allowing myself about 1/3 cup a day. I was excited to see that they had the Cascadian Farms organic mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries) back at Costco for only $9.99 for a huge bag of frozen berries. Yay!! So they were waiting for me in my freezer. I am so glad I picked them up. I eat them frozen, savoring each one. Funny thing is…after cutting out the sugar, they are SO sweet!! It totally satisfies my sweet tooth.

I’m down another pound from the other day which is exciting! I feel GREAT!! No wonder this is pretty much how they recommend diabetics to eat. I’ve found that I have no ups/downs after meal time with feeling sluggish, and have a constant level of energy all day. Last night curiousity got the best of me, and I wrote down everything I’d eaten for the day. Since I felt I’d eaten quite a bit, I wanted to check my calorie and carb count. I was at about 1,400 calories for the day, and 15 grams of carbs eaten. I was happy to see I wasn’t too high or too low for my calories. And since we’re trying to get in 3-5 walks a week, we’ve already gotten in 2 walks since Tuesday. Both after dinner…one as a family, and last night just as a COUPLE alone! Nice….

The misconceptions I’ve had about low carb eating have been turned upside down! Now that I see what I’ve eaten for the past 6 days, it’s definitely not all about how much protein you can eat, and Atkins recommends 4 – 6 oz at each meal. I’ve had a very well-balanced diet of veggies, protein and fat. It’s definitely not low-fat, but slowly in my research I’ve learned how vital healthy fats are for our body. Not only that, but they keep you full and satisfied longer especially when eaten with protein. It’s a win-win!

I also see how carb dependant I was, even though I was eating whole grains and fruit (I just linked to a very interesting post a few months ago…strange my habits were already starting to change!). I always knew I had a strong desire for sweets, so even when I cut out white sugar…I made up for it with the over-abundance of fruit I ate. Yes fruit is good for us, but it’s obvious to me now that I should be focused more on vegetables and consider fruit a dessert or treat….not an addition to every meal. That’s the part that has been HARD for me…grab and go snacks. If you have any low carb snack ideas please let me know by sharing in the comment section below. I always tend to gravitate toward fruit, and now I’m  having to retrain my whole way of thinking. It’s crazy!!

It’s amazing how many salads I’ve been eating. This week alone I’ve had steak salad, taco salad, fried egg and veggie salad, and chicken salad. These have been SO filling and SO good! When eating last night’s taco salad, hubby couldn’t stop raving about how good it was, and all we left out that we normally have were the tortilla chips. Didn’t miss them. I’ll share our taco salad in the future. I can see how this way of eating is fairly easy long term. Of course you up your carbs as you get closer to your weight loss goal, and then you have to play around to see where they level off for weight maintenance. It’s a balance, and will be individual for everyone.

But I find that I don’t really miss the bread and pasta at all. So those can be occasional foods. I will use my carbs (as I increase them) on my thin & crispy whole wheat pizza crusts, fruit, roasted sweet potatoes (LOVE my sweet potatoes) and regular potatoes, a small portion of dark chocolate or small serving of ice cream. Those are the foods I occasionally miss, but it’s funny when you cut out the sugar completely (even natural sugars), the cravings for them subside. I truly do feel like the final piece of the puzzle has fallen into place for me.

Now back to the Greek Salad I promised you. It’s easy to throw together! I’ve always loved Kalamata olives, discovered feta a couple years ago and now that I LOVE tomatoes…this salad is just a perfect combination of greek flavors. Though it’s somewhat similar in flavor to my quinoa tabouleh, I got the idea for this salad after 2 of my good friends introduced me to gyros at the mall when we were celebrating my oldest daughter’s birthday this past March (how is she 12 already?). I’d heard of them, but I’d never tried one and I definitely didn’t know how to pronounce them (yeer oh). Since I try to avoid white flour, I just ate the filling out of it…and the salad idea was born.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Zesty Greek Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Lunch
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
This quick salad is a mix of favorite greek flavors & easy to throw together.
Ingredients
  • Organic spring mix
  • Feta cheese
  • Tomato, diced
  • Kalamata olives, sliced
  • Vidalia onion, diced small
  • Tzatziki Sauce
Instructions
  1. Pull out desired amount of spring mix.
  2. Top with feta, diced tomatoes, sliced olives.
  3. Dress with homemade tzatziki sauce
Notes
The Tzatziki sauce was very easy to make. I googled many of them, and came up with my own combination. Such a tasty, refreshing dressing! I mixed together ½ cup plain, full-fat yogurt, ½ cup full-fat sour cream, 1½ Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp minced garlic, 1 cucumber (seeded & sliced thinly, then diced), 1 tsp olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Most recipes included 5 to 6 mint leaves, minced. Some didn't include them. I didn't add any since I didn't have them on hand. Adding them would make it more traditional, but it was still very good. As with most dressings and dips, taste is more prominent after it's been in the fridge for awhile or overnight. ENJOY!!

 

 

This recipe linked to Hearth and Soul Hop, Tuesdays at the Table, Delectable Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, What’s on Your Plate, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Friday Potluck, Fresh Food Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Favorites, Finer Things Friday, Food Trip Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Monday Mania, Mangia Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Homemaker Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, & Meatless Mondays.

** I always appreciate when you take a moment and “share” or “recommend” below. Thanks!!

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27 Responses to Zesty Greek Salad & a low carb update

  1. Carolyn says:

    Great recipe and post, I stumbled it! Honestly, I know all about low carb eating, having been forced to take that route because of diabetes. You’re right, there are a lot of misconceptions about what people should eat…it’s not all bacon, eggs and steak.
    Carolyn recently posted..Cinnamon Walnut Braid Low Carb

    • Denise says:

      Carolyn,
      Thanks for stumbling! You always have such great options for other diabetics or people watching their sugar intake in general. I’m starting to experiment with stevia, but since I want to stay as natural as possible…I’m wondering if it’s possible to only use stevia as the sweetener. Seems a lot of recipes combine it with xylitol.

      I’m always glad that there is so much to learn about in our food adventures…and I have so many companions along the way 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    Wow,this sounds like a great recipe! I have been low carb for the past 2 months and finding some of the same benefits as you. It’s really not hard to follow,and I’m eating so much healthier in general.

    • Denise says:

      Hi Amy! Thanks for stopping by. I am amazed at the loss of cravings, but I guess I shouldn’t be. I know when I am strict about no sugar/no white flour there are no real cravings for me.

  3. Linda says:

    Hi…I’m one of those pesky diabetics out here who is struggling with the low carb thing. Would it be too much trouble for you to post a complete run down of what you are doing and what all your discoveries have been re: low carbing? It sure would be helpful to me…I succeed when I have a plan, not when I learn just basic ideas. I know it’s a lot to ask, but there might be others like me for whom it would be so helpful and so appreciated. Thanks.

    • Denise says:

      Hi Linda,
      Nice to meet you! I’ll be happy to share more specifics. What exactly would you like to see? What I’m eating in an average day & that kind of thing? Make sure you check out Carolyn’s blog (first commenter on this post) as she’s a diabetic and has a lot on her site as well. 🙂

  4. Peg4Jesus7 says:

    Love this, Denise!! I’m such a sucker for Greek food 😀 And I totally need to get off the carbs/sugar again, it makes such a huge difference in the way I feel, my tastebuds and weight loss. I keep telling myself that I have to think of myself as allergic to carbs/sugar … ’cause really, I am, when I consider the effects of it on my body.

    My fav low-carb foods:
    Cheese sticks (good dipped in salsa); mixed roasted nuts; plain full-fat yogurt topped with low-carb trail mix: raw nuts, seeds, coconut shreds; canned sardines; lettuce sandwiches (I spread mayo on large Romaine lettuce leaf, then add my meat, cheese, veggies and fold up); taco salad minus the tortilla chips; big colorful salad tossed with Caesar dressing and flaked, canned salmon; cauliflower, either roasted or mashed with butter like potatoes; any leftover steamed veggies drizzled with olive oil and salt/pepper, good for snacking.

    Can’t think of any more at the moment. Sometimes I follow an anti-candida or anti-yeast diet, as they’re very strict about cutting the carbs/sugar … no ketchup, BBQ sauce, stuff like that. I like to go extreme for the first few weeks 🙂

    Thanks, Denise!

    • Denise says:

      I was waiting for you to chime in Peg!! 🙂 I knew you’d have a lot to offer! Well I will be your biggest cheerleader in this endeavor now that I am so passionate about it as well. I’m so glad it finally clicked for me. You know I was loosing weight on my “clean eating” and such, but you were probably thinking of all that sugar/carbs I was consuming (even though natural) when we were blogging together 🙂 LOL!!

      The weight came off…but man, it was A LOT more work than it is this way. I’m definitely a convert. I’m excited to get to my goal, and then start gradually upping the (healthy as in fruit & limited whole grains & the occasional treat) carbs until I find where I can comfortably maintain my weight loss. I miss all the good fruit!! I did start allowing myself under 1/2 cup of frozen organic berries a day since they are low in carbs.

      I have to say though…..certain things like pasta, bread and rice…since I don’t really miss them, will be very rare for me in the future. I’m SO loving not having water retention issues!! 🙂

      You know you are one of the friends I’m refering to in my introduction to gyros right? I know you love the greek flavors! They are tasty!! Thanks for sharing all your low carb snack ideas. If you think of any more, feel free to come back and share.

      Have you ever tried Atkins? Your anti-candida sounds a lot like the 2 week induction phase on Atkins I’m doing. I’ve cut out all fruit (except I did start adding under 1/2 cup of frozen organic berries per day), no sugar in anything (so no condiments with sugar), no milk, limited cheese(up to 4 oz of cheese a day), no yogurt, etc. Anything with sugar has been cut out. I know you’ve done South Beach, and they are similar.

      I’ll definitely be sharing a lot more controlled carb recipes in the future.

      • Peg4Jesus7 says:

        Yep, I did recognize me in the gyro story 😀 lol And I’m thrilled to have you as a cheerleader … I really need one right now too. As for before, I just figured, hey, you were losing weight on clean food so if that was working for you, go for it! But it will be fun to do it together 🙂

        I haven’t tried Atkins, just the South Beach and anti-candida cleanse. You’re right, Atkins induction and anti-candida sound very similar. I like starting out extreme like that to kick the cravings in the butt as quickly as I can!

        When I’m starting out, I limit my fruit to lemons, limes and Granny Smith apples because they’re low-glycemic, and a small amount of blueberries for antioxidants. And read labels like crazy, because sugar is in practically EVERYTHING!

        I too limit dairy in the beginning. But plain yogurt with shredded coconut & nuts/seeds (or stir in coconut oil and peanut butter) makes a great sub for ice cream. Or, whole-milk ricotta cheese drizzled with a little vanilla flavoring (the glycerin kind, not alcohol).

        Also, I forgot to mention hard boiled eggs as a great snack! Or I make egg salad and put it over lettuce, top with tomatoes and a little shredded cheese. Same with tuna salad, and I don’t even miss the “sandwich” part.

        Love omelets with veggies, shredded cheese, turkey bacon, Italian or Greek seasoning ~ you name it!

        I better stop, I’m getting hungry! lol Great post, I’ll be checking back here often 😀

  5. Denise, I am so happy for you! You inspire me to reduce those carbs…I usually eat low carb for lunch, lately I have had my spicy tuna balls for lunch/nibble snack. They are fairly low carb, the only carb they have is a light coating of Panko crumbs. 🙂 I LOVE that Chinese chicken salad of yours… that’s a great low carb snack!
    michelle@the domestic mama and the viillage cook recently posted..chicken almond casserole

    • Denise says:

      Michelle,
      Oh I saw those Spicy Tuna Dippers this morning. They look tasty!! Thanks for reminding me about my chinese chicken salad….I forgot about it. There is honey in the dressing, but maybe I could use a bit of stevia to sweeten it instead.

  6. Sherri says:

    So pretty! I love the how the colors are bursting from the plate. Nice photography. I’m going to try the Tzatziki sauce and salad both. Looks ohhhh sooo good!

    Care to share how you put your recipes into a printable box like that? Is that a program? I like that idea!

  7. Nikki says:

    My go-to snacks are nuts, cheese sticks, and greek yogurt.

    The salad looks beautiful and delicious!
    Nikki recently posted..A Growing List of Thanks

  8. I love those olives!
    Mary Kay @ Just for Cooking recently posted..Philly Cheese Steak Burgers

  9. This is such an interesting post, and your salad looks just scrumptious – so fresh and delicious. Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul blog hop!

  10. I’m gluten intolerant so had already cut out many carbs, but have recently been eliminating others, too. So far no lost weight, but I do feel better. This salad looks great!
    Kris @ Attainable Sustainable recently posted..Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage

  11. cheerful says:

    great post, something to read and learn…thanks for sharing everything on it! and yes, your salad looks really delicious. have a lovely weekend! 🙂
    cheerful recently posted..Pink Fridays 016- Cambodian Wedding

  12. Chaya says:

    I am planning on existing on salads, this summer, whether has main dishes or sides. I am enjoying what I have made, so far, and you have opened the door to another great salad. I just bought feta so I am raring to go.

    Thanks for linking this to My Meatless Mondays. We are featuring it, tomorrow. I hope lots of others will make it, also.
    Chaya recently posted..Poached Salmon

  13. marla says:

    Love greek salads & yours sounds wonderful!
    Cookin’ Canuck & I would love if you linked up to 3 of your vegetarian recipes into this weeks Get Grillin’ round up. The recipes can be anything & don’t need to be grilled. This and any 2 others would be perfect. http://su.pr/3GCtXU

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  17. Lucile Flores says:

    Cheese sticks (good dipped in salsa); mixed roasted nuts; plain full-fat yogurt topped with low-carb trail mix: raw nuts, seeds, coconut shreds; canned sardines; lettuce sandwiches (I spread mayo on large Romaine lettuce leaf, then add my meat, cheese, veggies and fold up); taco salad minus the tortilla chips; big colorful salad tossed with Caesar dressing and flaked, canned salmon; cauliflower, either roasted or mashed with butter like potatoes; any leftover steamed veggies drizzled with olive oil and salt/pepper, good for snacking. You know you are one of the friends I’m refering to in my introduction to gyros right? They look tasty!!
    Lucile Flores recently posted..Acne Tips

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  19. Your salad looks delicious and healthy, I’ve been browsing and trying salads for the past few months. Thank you for sharing this recipe, will try this soon.

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