Those who know me, know I have a saying for almost every occasion. One of my favorites, “Veggies all day, everyday!” Vegetables are one of the main staples in a healthy lifestyle. Packed with vitamins & minerals, these delicious foods nourish your cells and gut. When you are healthy at a cellular level your body is stronger and more effective at fighting off anything that comes your way!
I am not here to promote being a vegetarian. I am actually a fan of lean protein, as long as you pick quality meats. “If the animal is eating crap, so are you” (there I go again, sorry once I start, it’s difficult to stop!) Bottom line, buy organic or grass-fed meats as often as possible.
Ok, back to the veggies! I am a huge fan of salads, but not a fan of most salad dressings the American people are consuming. There is nothing that kills the delicious flavors of a salad or says “I was born in a factory” quite like xanthan gum, a common ingredient in many salad dressings. Now, while this is actually not even close to one of the worst ingredients used in salads, it is one of the many that will kill the natural flavor and goodness of fresh veggies.
My advice: read labels (not the last time you will hear this) or ask your waiter for the list of ingredients. When it comes to labels and ingredients “Less is best” and “If you don’t’ recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either”.
Below are just a few ingredients to steer clear of:
Xantham Gum or Food Starch: Added as a thickener,which tends to have a gummy taste & texture. Try this –Shake or whisk your dressing and it will thicken naturally!
MSG: Used as a flavor enhancer, but is so powerful that it makes everything it touches taste fake. Also known to cause headaches for many. FYI – this is one of those ingredients that can come under many different names. MSG, aka: Yeast Extract, Soy Protein Isolates and many more!
Polysorbate 60: An emulsifier that holds the ingredients together. Again, a good shake will do the trick!
Potasium Sorbate: A preservative. Homemade dressing will keep for months in the fridge, but will not keep as long on the shelves in a warehouse!
Natural & Artificial Flavors: If flavors of any kid are listed, carefully put the item back on the shelf and walk away! This means the taste you’re savoring is not natural in anyway, but rather created in a lab.
Artificial Sweeteners: Typically found in “sugar free” or “low calorie dressings. Stay away! If you are looking for less calories, use less of your homemade dressing!
EDTA: This chemical is used to neutralize bits of metal that comes from the metal pipes and machines in the factories where salad dressing is produced. Wait what? Let me get this straight, we are using a chemical to break down another chemical! Just wrong!
Caramel Color: Found in many dressings and marinades. Guess what — its’ toxic! It contains 4-methylimidazole that is know to cause cancer!
Making your own salad dressing is as easy as it gets! Just have the right ingredients on hand, mix or shake and Voila! Also, you might want to purchase a salad shaker, inexpensive and hopefully will get a ton of use! “Keep it simple. Eat Clean!”
My Favorite Homemade Salad Dressing
¼ cup organic olive oil
¾ white wine vinegar
1tablespoon grainy mustard
Any of my favorite spices (don’t forget about turmeric!)
Dash a salt
Whisk or shake, and dress for success!