Do you eat a Big Ass Salad? It is part of something Mark Sisson advocates, so I see some posts here and there about what people put on their BAS with details on the numerous ingredients in their giant salads.
I used to eat a BAS (especially pre-paleo), happily munching along. It was mostly to give me the feeling of eating lots of "real" food because I was of course, trying to eat low-fat and loved chicken breast on it. Nowadays, I'm not scared of fat, but I still eat giant salads. Out of habit, I suppose.
And then I read something by someone well respected on this site (Archevore) that "Some is better than none, but neither big salads nor fruit to excess will save your life. You're not a gorilla, you're an omnivore"
Now whenever I'm eating, I feel like some greedy/gluttonous fat King Kong when I want to eat a field of greens. It makes me feeling like I'm eating for entertainment rather than to just supply my body with nutrients.
So, big salads or just the basic necessities?
I love a big salad, and not because Mark Sisson told me to! Making and eating a salad is a pretty sensory experience for me. I love the creativity that takes place; there are endless combinations and it's like hitting the jackpot of flavor sensations when it's done just right. The colors are gorgeous, and I enjoy the different textures. Plus, I feel really good when I'm getting lots of green in my diet.
Let me put it this way--I have always loved BA salads for their own selves, but they are also an important player in my never-binge-again regimen.
If I sense myself getting "itchy" for large volumes of food, which was of course a daily occurrence when binge eating, I simply eat a pre-emptively large-volume meal: a whole grapefruit, a 4-6 cup leafy salad with celery and cukes and possibly grape tomatoes, cooked vegetables and fatty meat.
After that feast, my binge impulses can fire all they want and my gut just says "No" and there is no neo-binge.
Since the grapefruit and salad have such low true density, the stuffed feeling passes within an hour but by then my brain has caught up to my gut and sends a "never mind" signal.
Some of us just have to do what we have to do--it's either sit and crunch popcorn/chips/crackers or sit and crunch yummy salad. Happily for me, I actually enjoy the salad as much or more than I would have enjoyed the bad stuff--and there's no hangover of symptoms/reactions that night or the next morning.
I'm a gorilla and I just love a big, badass salad. I eat one almost every day. Mixed greens, cherry toms, avocado, boiled egg, carrots, peppers, cukes ...
I love them because they are a great way to eat a BIG lunch, they are easy if you prepare all your stuff at the beginning of the week, and I like to listen to 30 minute podcasts for my lunch break and salads take me FOREVER to eat, so that works out well. I think if you like the process of eating them, and you like to eat a big meal w/o going over board on calories, they are a great fit.
I do one big container, and layer the bottom with all the "extras"- julienne carrots and cukes, thin-cut bell peppers, halved cherry tom's, etc. On top of the "extras" goes all the mixed greens so they don't get wilted. In a separate little container I like to put "crunchies"- nuts, seeds, dried fruit. In another medium sized container that seals well I put usually salmon/sardines/tuna/shrimp/crab/chicken/ground beef/lamb and let it sit in the dressing (which varies depending on the week- can be salsa w/olive oil, italian, sesame, etc) all day so it really infuses it (plus, one less container). If I want an avocado, I bring it whole with a swiss army knife so it doesn't go brown and nasty, just cut it up fresh when I'm ready to eat. Invert everything into the large container, shake violently, eat. Delicious.
There is nothing wrong with loving your food. If a big ass salad makes you happy and feels slightly indulgent or satisfying to you in any way mentally or emotionally I think that's a great thing. Now if you are forcing yourself to eat gobs of salad because you think you should or you must then I think those comments you referenced might apply. Otherwise I think it's more than fine for your healthy, whole foods diet to give you pleasure.
I love Big Ass Salads. I'll also wilt certain salad greens as a side dish: today I sauteed a grass fed NY strip in a little bit of coconut oil. I put the steak on a plate, deglazed the pan with a splash of traditionally brewed mirin (a sweet Japanese rice wine), turned the burner off, and then threw in a big bunch of baby arugula and tossed to wilt.
I love BASs, which is evidenced when you look at my receipts from pay-by-the-ounce salad bars. I pack as much into them as possible, avoiding silly additions like soy bacon bits and chow mein noodles, and when I get to the scale they usually weigh in at about 2.5 pounds. I don't consider a salad food unless there is protein on it, though. If in another context I get a salad that's just vegetables, it's "neutral filler," something to tide me over for an hour or two until I can get more substantial food, no matter how big-assed it is.