7 Reasons to Ditch Conventional Salad Dressing
One of the first recommendations I give new clients is to add a big, leafy green salad to their diet every day. And I encourage them to make that salad the main dish at that meal. It’s one of the most important things you can do to help your family THRIVE.
I’ve talked about the benefits of a diet rich in greens here, and if you ask my boys they’ll tell you that one of the things they hear me say most often is “you can’t have too many greens!“.
Greens are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals and should be the basis of your diet, because a diet rich in nutrient-dense greens provides the best protection against disease.
But did you know that pouring conventional salad dressing on top of that nutrient-dense salad actually counteracts all of those benefits by exposing you to a number of harmful ingredients?
And that, while these ingredients pose a significant risk to your health, they are even more harmful to your kids?
Here are 7 reasons to ditch conventional salad dressing:
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – most conventional salad dressings use genetically modified canola and soybean oil as their base. GMOs have been linked to an increased risk of tumors, premature death, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, allergic reactions, and more.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – high fructose corn syrup and/or other highly processed sugars are generally next in the list of ingredients. These sugars have been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, asthma, food allergies and a number of other diseases.
Titanium Dioxide – this substance, which is used by food manufacturers to make salad dressings more colorful and appealing, is also used by the paint industry to make colors brighter.
Artificial Colors – artificial colors are found in almost every conventional salad dressing, and have been linked to ADHD in children, allergic reactions, asthma and cancer. The ingredient “caramel color”, another artificial color often found in dressings, has been registered as a known carcinogen in California since 2011.
Trans Fats – trans fats have been linked to both heart disease and diabetes. In the United States, if a product has less than 0.5 grams per serving, the label can still read 0 grams of trans fat, so it is critical that you look at the list of ingredients as well. Look for the words “partially hydrogenated”, “shortening” or “interesterified” in the ingredients list, and avoid any products that contain them.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – MSG is a common ingredient in dressings due to its ability to enhance flavor, but recent studies show that it has been linked to nerve-cell damage in the brain and can sometimes result in headaches, nausea and chest pain, among other symptoms.
Guar Gum and Xantham Gum – these two ingredients are often included in conventional salad dressings because of their ability to bind, thicken and emulsify ingredients. While there have been limited long-term studies on the risks of these ingredients, they have been linked to digestive distress and allergic reactions, especially in children.
There are some pretty scary ingredients lurking in those bottles, aren’t there?
The good news is that making your own salad dressing is easier than you might think. Most recipes come together in just minutes, and are more flavorful than anything you can find in a store.
The Dijon Vinaigrette below is one of our favorites. It goes with any salad and comes together in just five minutes from items you can easily keep in your pantry. I encourage you to give it a try, even if your kids don’t like Dijon mustard. Because the truth is, mine don’t either. But they love this dressing. And I hope your family does too.
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup flax oil
- 3 tablespoons raw coconut nectar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a bowl, whisk all ingredients well.
- Pour into a glass jar with a sealable lid and store in refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes 1 1/4 cups
Do you make your own salad dressing? I’d love to hear your favorite in the comments below!
Holly, this looks great! Will definitely try this dressing. Can you tell us what is in the wonderful salad in the photo? Thanks for all the great articles!
Thank you, Amy! The salad in the photo contains red leaf lettuce, swiss chard, beets, turnips, carrots, kohlrabi, celery, radishes, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. All of the veggies are raw and I just dice them … super easy and healthy! Thanks again!