Preventive Health Matters

Food & Lifestyle Coaching
Salad Dressings

A Guide to Buying & Making Healthy Dressings

(Recipes Below)

Of all the whole foods to focus on, salad dressings seem like small potatoes. But making your own salad dressing creates healthy habits that spill over into other food areas.  Once you switch to whole food salad dressings, you can taste the artificial or poor quality in processed dressings. Given the chance, your taste buds will instinctively choose the nutrient-rich food over a nutrient-deficient food.

There are several culprits in store-bought salad dressings: 

 1.    Processed oils: Vegetable oils in salad dressing are selected according to the cheapest market price. That's why labels will say something like: soybean, safflower, or canola oil. The actual oil that will be in any particular bottle depends on the market price at the time of production. The cheapest oil is what gets purchased. The processing of these oils poses another health concern, according to food researchers. The polyunsaturated fatty acids contained within are unstable and oxidize during processing, creating free radicals via lipid peroxides (a danger to the heart, brain, cell membranes). These oils are also chemically processed and are said to retain chemical residues.

 2.    Processed sugars: These sugars are stripped of nutrients during processing and provide only empty calories that can flood the bloodstream with glucose -- the main event that triggers insulin spikes, followed by crashes and then cravings. Some research suggests that HFCS (aka corn sugar) prevent leptin from signaling the brain to stop eating.

 3.    Seasonings:  Artificial ingredients, MSG, etc., are used instead wholesome fresh herbs from the kitchen. tracks the names and substances that contain MSG and free-form glutamate. NO claims are made for the accuracy of this information; it is merely provided for reference.


There are some "safe" packaged salad dressings. Ingredients to look for:

1.  Cold-pressed oils are expeller pressed in a temperature controlled environment to reduce heat caused by the friction of a mechanical press. Expeller-pressed oils can be okay as well. Organic is best to avoid genetically modified sources and pesticide residues.

2. Natural sweeteners

3. Natural spices such as ginger, garlic, Celtic sea salt.

4. Natural preservatives such as xanthium gum

Salad Dressing Brands to Review Include: Ingredients vary among brands, read labels.

  1. Annie's Naturals Dressings
  2. Spectrum Organics Dressings
  3. Marzetti Organics:
  4. Salad Girl Dressings
  5. Bragg's Salad Dressings


Homemade Salad Dressings Are Even Better:

            Best Ingredients:

            1. Cold-pressed oil (organic!). Expeller-pressed organic oil.

            2. Raw organic apple cider vinegar (other vinegars can add variety)

            3. Natural sweetener: honey, mashed fruit, fruit juice

            4. Fresh herbs, seasoning, spices. Ginger, garlic and cilantro are tops!

            5. Celtic sea salt

            6. Fresh citrus


Super-Fast Salad Dressing Recipes: Blend these together in seconds.

1. Avocado Dressing: I don't use yogurt and add water to thin it out.

2. Carrot Ginger Recipe: Sub in organic, expeller-pressed ingredients, etc.

3. Tahini Dressing:

4. Basic Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing: Change spices, type of oil, type citrus, add Tamari (natural-brewed soy sauce) or Honey. Whatever is on hand.

5. Raw Caesar Dressing: Please read recipe notes.

6. Strawberry Ginger Dressing: Half the recipe. Can add olive oil to thin.


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