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Thank you in advance for your suggestions. I was just diagnosed with ms and or nmo disease and one of my biggest concerns is how to alter my love for salads. I've been loving my salads for years now and unfortunately animal protein combined with either feta or blue cheese have been the back bone of every salad. I'm looking for any and all suggestions on how to keep the salads going with better flavor and texture all while keeping me energized and not sluggish like I do after my pre ms salads. For the past four to five years I've been fantasizing about going vegan or almost going vegan, I just never thought it would take MS to make this happen. Again, thank you in advance for any suggestions and thank you for accepting me into your group.
Hello Frank, and welcome!

Like you, I love serving up fantastic looking plates of salàd and used to top them with cubes of marinaded feta, roughly crumbled blue cheese, curls of freshly shaved Parmesan etc etc.

In the first few months after adopting the OMS regime, life can seem more about things you can't eat than about things you can eat :( . . . . but the good news is that you can continue to enjoy fantastic salads:

- Take nuts seriously. Buy good quality, keep them in fridge (good flavour comes in large part from essential oils & these quickly go rancid at room temperature), dry toast on a low oven to bring out flavour and use as salad topping
- larger seeds - like pumpkin (petitas?) can be put to similar use.
- for nut-based cheese alternatives, search for the recent forum discussion on 'Cheese . . . I miss cheese'. It contains useful links. For an almond 'feta' you can make yourself, have a look at http://www.maplespice.com/2011/04/baked ... l-oil.html
- roasted chickpeas flavoured with spices, or with lemon zest and fresh herbs, make a fantastic crunchy salad topping that easily rivals (unhealthy) cheese croutons - see http://www.theleangreenbean.com/how-to-roast-chickpeas/
- if circumstance & inclination allow, shellfish - quickly tossed in a large pan with a bit of softened fresh ginger & a handful of fresh herbs, make for a superb salad component.
- assuming you continue to allow EVOO in your diet, don't neglect the dressing. My standby is EVOO, a dash of cold pressed walnut oil, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, dried oregano, freshly ground black pepper and a few flakes of sea salt. For more substantial dressings, perhaps to accompany robust cooked ingredients like roasted squash, use the 'mayonnaise method' and combine, for example, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons date or pomegranate molasses - or maple syrup - with softened or raw shallot (as you prefer). Whisking constantly, add 60 ml / 1/4 cup of EVOO. You'll have a rich creamy dressing fit for a feast!
- consider getting into home-smoking. With a large pan, piece of foil, a steamer insert and a small bag of wood chips, you can turn even the humblest of root vegetables into an intriguing culinary experience to transform your salads. For inspiration, check out Amanda Cohen, who runs the New York vegetable restaurant 'Dirt Candy'.

Happy cooking!
The Gut Microbiome is KEY to optimal health.
The OMS site & forum are brilliant! Thanks, everyone! :D
Thank you for your response. I really appreciate it.
people desperate for cheese should check out Miyoko Schiner's books and website, all about vegan cheese. Some of the stuff is complicated to make, but my favourite is also the easiest: Walnut Parmesan. You need walnuts (though you can try with other nuts, like pine nuts for instance, but walnuts are better for you), nutritional yeast and salt. Shell about a dozen walnuts (you can leave the inner skin on) and throw them in a blender (one strong enough to grind walnuts), a heaped tablespoon of nutritional yeast and a teaspoon of salt...switch on the blender, but not too long, you don't want a paste (though it may make an interesting spread, come to think of it), just a coarse powder. That's it...sprinkle it one your pasta or on your salad, or....
The amount of salt and nutritional yeast is a matter of taste...cheeses like parmesan are quite salty, so if you want to come close to the real thing you might want a bit more salt. The nutritional yeast is what gives the whole thing the cheesy taste (you could sprinkle just pure nutritional yeast on your salad for a cheesy flavour)...not all nutritional yeasts have equally strong flavours and you might want to use more for more cheesiness taste. The walnuts take care of the "fatty" sensation you otherwise would get from cheese.
You cannot really go wrong with this one, I would even hesitate to call this "cooking".
bon appetit,

Cheeses Christ! The almond feta is great and I can't wait to try the walnut Parmesan. A million thx!
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