Does your salad need a makeover? Warm summer months are a great time to eat cold salads and dips. Unfortunately, salads aren’t always a healthy choice. If you’re putting the effort into assembling a lovely salad, why drench it with inflammatory ingredients? Check out these these damaging ingredients, and assess if your salad is in need of a makeover:
1. MSG (MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE): Too many negative health effects to count. This flavour enhancer sneaks into many packaged food items, and has the ability to induce hunger. Migraines and brain damage have also been linked to MSG consumption.
2. VEGETABLE OILS, AKA “MEGA TRANS”: Soybean, canola and corn are all examples of pro-inflammatory oils–potentially causing more harm than trans fat! Most are genetically modified, causing even more damage.
3. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP AND SUGAR: Both of these are inflammatory and cause a spike in blood sugar and cravings. Elevated blood sugar will cause fat stores to accumulate, particularly around the mid-secction.
4. MALTODEXTRIN: Just another hidden sugar derived from genetically modified corn.
5. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: Fake sweeteners are linked to cancer, Alzheimers, and disrupt hormones which can increase cravings and fat storage. Sucralose and aspartame the popular ones that end up in diet drinks, and many sugar-free products. As always, steer clear of these as much as you can.
Here is an example of a “light” ranch dressing nutrition label:
Doesn’t look very light to me!
Now that I’ve completely destroyed your desire to eat a salad with bottled dressing…
GOOD NEWS! I have a very simple recipe to share with you. In less than five minutes, you can whip up a much healthier salad dressing that doesn’t include ANY of the above ingredients. Since ranch dressing is popular for both kids and adults, this is a great basic recipe that can be modified to suit your tastes.
Basic Ranch Dressing
¾ c. Plain Full Fat Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
1 tsp each: parsley, basil, dill weed
S & P to taste
1 small clove of garlic
2 T parmesan or feta cheese (optional)
4-6 T olive oil
Put yogurt, garlic and spices in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Very slowly, add the oil so that it emulsifies.
Add more yogurt to thicken, or a dairy-free milk to thin out. Vinegar and lemon juice may also be added. It is best to consume within 7 days.
-add fresh herbs instead of dried
-skip the cheese, and use avocado and coconut milk instead of yogurt, for a dairy-free version (1/2 c. avocado, 1/4 c. coconut milk)
-you can skip the olive oil, and use the remaining ingredients to make a dip–handy for cut vegetables.
CONCLUSION: The minutes it takes to make your own salad dressing or dip is 100% worth it! It is important to read labels very carefully–even the “olive oil” salad dressings are usually blends of mostly vegetable oils, with a tiny portion of olive oil. Olive oil is more expensive; therefore these companies will trick you whenever they can. Keep in mind, many restaurants and fast-food establishments are likely using the same poor ingredients. Make your own at home, and keep the quantities moderate when you are not in control of the ingredients.
What is your favourite summer salad?