|Lovely photo, thank you Lisa
I have a longtime client who has maintained a 20-pound weight loss for almost ten years. She’s savvy when it comes to food ingredients, she orders wild salmon from Vital Choice and knows to BYOC (bring your own chicken) so she doesn’t have to eat the antibioticy option at the salad bar at work. She was in my office for a check-in recently and we reviewed her daily routine. “Speaking of that salad, how are you dressing it?” I asked. “I use Newman’s,” she answered. I raised my eyebrows and told her “you can do better than that.” “I know most dressing is bad but even Paul Newman’s”?
I mean no disrespect to the deceased and truly admire the charitable work Newman’s Own has done. Yet their dressings have up to two teaspoons of sugar (1 teaspoon= 4 grams) per two tablespoon serving. This isn’t meant to single out any one brand, this holds for all salad dressings. I’m sure some of you will say that one to two teaspoons of sugar isn’t that big of a deal. The issue is that sugar doesn’t have to be there. Furthermore, this is really an example of a food that could be two to three real ingredients and instead has 20 scary ones (to be clear, Newman’s steers clear of the scary ingredients). Sugar, HFCS or artificial sweeteners aren’t the only issues; salad dressings are preservative playgrounds.
Here are some of the ingredients you’ll find in salad dressing. I can always tell a troublesome ingredient because spell check doesn’t recognize it.
- Natamycin: acts as a preservative or antifungal
- Calcium Disodium EDTA: preservative; prevents air from spoiling food products, known to cause skin reactions and GI upset. It us currently under investigation by the FDA for mutagenic or reproductive effects.
- Carmel color: food coloring known to be a carcinogen and immunosuppressive
- Autolyzed yeast extract: texture, taste
- Sulfur dioxide: preservative
- Sodium Benzoate: preservative, one of the ones research links to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children
- Soybean Oil- much of the soybean oil used in dressings is genetically modified
- Xantham gum: used to add volume and viscosity; it’s not necessarily harmful carbohydrate used in a lot of gluten-free products, but do we need to be adding carbohydrate to our salad dressings?
I’m just not sure why anyone would want to ruin a perfectly healthy meal pouring junk on top.
How much dressing do people typically use?
The serving size listed on bottles is two tablespoons. Most people report using one to two tablespoons but are these people really measuring? A pour could end up being double that amount especially with the gargantuan salads many places serve. Also, some people think they are doing themselves a favor by ordering the dressing on the side then using the “dipping” technique. While this does allow you to control how much dressing you use on your salad, be careful not to dip the entire amount they give you on the side as it often exceeds what they would have otherwise put on the salad to begin with!
When I embark on a mission to get clients to DIY with food, I know I’m going to have to engage in the time debate. When it comes to dressing, I’m going to win with debate. Go into your kitchen or work cafeteria, pour some olive oil and squeeze a lemon wedge or two. If you say that took more than a minute you’re lying or live in a much larger house than I do.
Easy Lemon Vinaigrette
1 small jar (I use leftover Zoe tuna jars)
1 lemon (lemons produce three to four Tbs. juice)
Olive Oil (double the amount of lemon juice)
Salt (optional) and Pepper
Salt (optional) and Pepper
Squeeze lemon juice in jar, add oil and shake. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. That’s it.
You can add lemon zest, Dijon mustard, parsley or basil or a minced clove of garlic. I also love experimenting with vinegars (fig, apple cider, balsamic). The point is that’s it’s easy, tastes better and saves you from ingesting sugar and preservatives.
At restaurants you can ask for olive oil and lemon on the side or olive oil and vinegar. To quote Kelly Clarkson, whose salad dressing habits I know nothing about, “oh sweetheart put the bottle down.”
Do you own bottled salad dressing? Would you consider ditching it? How is your salad dressed?