Many people make health and fitness the cornerstone of their New Year’s resolution, and I am no different. For the last six months, I have been working out like a fiend, so for 2019, I let myself set the resolution bar low. Really low. “Eat more salad” low.

I thought making a small change in my diet would be achievable. But alas, it appears that salad may ultimately be my foil.

My personal journey with salad began just before Christmas, when my co-worker brought the most delicious-looking lunch, which (apparently) I coveted. The next day, she brought a second Tupperware, just for me. “You seemed like you really wanted my salad.” And what a salad it was! It had 11 different kinds of delicate lettuces, dried fruits, nuts, crunchy veggies, olives, salmon, some kind of seed, a homemade dressing. It was sweet, salty, savory, fat, protein, fiber, all the things my body wanted for fuel. I vowed that I, too, would become a salad person.

I bought a bunch of Tupperware and all the produce I could get my hands on. I planned to prep it all on Sunday for easy weekday lunches.

“Sorry, I can’t go out tonight. I have to do salad prep,” I texted my friends.

In hindsight, this is probably where things started to unravel.

I started by cleaning and chopping things for roasting. “Don’t overcrowd the pan,” warned the recipe. I carefully spread peppers, onions, chicken breasts, beets and asparagus across three different cookie sheets, balancing them on top of wine boxes in my teeny tiny kitchen. Once they were in the oven, I regained my 18 inches of counter space and got to work chopping the raw veggies.

I completely ran out of counter space early on and started rationing things into containers, reorganizing the fridge to accommodate everything. I washed dishes as I went, my cutting boards and knives teetering on top of my microwave. At some point, I glanced at the clock, which startlingly read 11 p.m. It was late, but it didn’t matter. Salad was all that mattered. I bagged all the odds and ends from the veggies I was cutting so I could make homemade broth when I was done. I made lists of seeds to start before the planting season. I would grow my own salads! Somewhere along the line, I went from salad prepper to doomsday prepper.

At nearly 2 a.m., I finally tucked the last little veggies in to the fridge and collapsed in bed. The next day, I was too tired to make my lunch. By week two, my salads consisted of whatever was at greatest risk of going bad. There was no joy left in salad, only anxiety that they weren’t colorful or fresh enough.

Maybe I tried to do too much too fast. Maybe I should have started with a kit or an app or store-bought dressing. Maybe I need to recalibrate my resolution. All I know is, I can’t let salad win.

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