As the weather gets warmer and we find ourselves outside more often, I find myself longing to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my kids. Making your own salad dressing can seem daunting, but with just a little inspiration, you will find that it takes just a few minutes and proves much healthier than it’s bottled counterparts. Sometimes we focus so much on eating whole foods, yet forget that what is often poured on top in the form of sauces, gravies and salad dressing can contain a host of preservatives and artificial ingredients that our bodies just don’t need.
Lets talk about oil since that is one of the ingredients that most people use in their home-made salad dressing. Oil is perhaps the biggest culprit in our industrialized food chain. Sometimes I think this widespread misunderstanding can sometimes be fueled by the world wide web, where these days anyone can write an article and most people have a hard time discerning what is truth and what is an “alternative fact” which is true not only in politics, but also seems to be the biggest source of misinformation about food for the average American.
Did you know that two tablespoons of olive oil has more than three times the saturated fat of a 4-ounce chicken breast?
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, and the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is so far off in one tablespoon, it actually negates any potential benefit. To boot, that one tablespoon also contains 120 calories and 14% saturated fat. To get any benefit from oil, you’d have to drink an entire glass full and that, my friends, is plain ridiculous.
Yes, the human body does need healthful fatty acids for brain development, mental stability, and cell regeneration, but the fatty acids must come from naturally occurring sources such as nuts, seeds, or avocados, not refined oils. All that said, I do use a very small amount of oil in my salad dressing recipes. I think moderation is the key term; using a small amount of a cold-pressed oil is not going to make or break your diet.
Vegetable oils, including sunflower, safflower, and yes, olive oil, are typically refined under heat and pressure. This process of partial hydrogenation is what changes the molecular structure of the oil, damages the omega-3 fats, and produces eruct acid and trans-fats during this refining process.
Sometimes we refer to these as the free radicals, and they’re absolutely devastating to our health. There have been countless epidemiological studies over the last 20 years suggesting that coronary heart disease can be prevented, arrested, and even reversed by maintaining total serum cholesterol levels below 150mg/dL.
Translation? People typically don’t often think of oil as a processed food, but it is. The key benefit of homemade salad dressing is that you can eliminate all the artificial ingredients and preservatives that typically accompany the bottled dressing. Use your oil in moderation, and I think you’ll find yourself hooked on making tasty salad dressing at home.
1 seedless cucumber, skin peeled off and chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or dill
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tbsp. honey