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A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Dressing For Success

    Posted before Dec-31-2007

Having it genesis in the primeval ages, the history of salad dressing and sauces is definitely long and vibrant. It is interesting to note that while soy sauce has been in use among the Chinese for over 5000 years now, oil and vinegar were used by the ancient Babylonians for dressing green salads since 2000 years in the past. Interestingly, even the all time favorite Worcestershire was actually drawn from a sauce and has been in use ever since Caesar's regime. In fact, the ancient Romans had a preference for dressing their green vegetables and salads with salt. On the other hand, salad dressed with oil, vinegar and Oriental spices was very popular among the Egyptians.

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Glancing through the history of salad dressing, one would discover that it basically differed from one culture to another. In North America, people use several frequently used salad dressings. While vinaigrettes form a part of the conventional salad dressing in southern regions of Europe, mayonnaise is more prevalent in the eastern European nations as well as in Russia. Again, crème fraîche forms the base for most salad dressings in Denmark. Although people in China have lately adopted the Western salad from the Western gastronomy, the expression 'salad dressing' essentially denotes mayonnaise or any dressing based on mayonnaise in this ancient Asian civilization. In addition to these, in several cultures, people often use light oils such as corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil, soybean oil and a host of other oils for their salad and green dressings.

If you look at it closely, you will find that dressing or flavoring is an imperative aspect of any salad. Hence, it is needless to say that the dressing is able to make or break the success or acceptance of a salad. It is, however, regrettable that the majority of the commercial salad dressings enclose extreme levels of sugar, salt, preservatives and trans fatty acids (synthetically produced, unnatural fats). What is worse is the fact that such commercial salad dressings also do not possess any live enzyme significance.

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Olive oil

If not the first, olive oil is certainly among the earliest oils that have been made use of by man in preparing food. Olive oil is derived from the perennial olive trees (biological name Olea Europae) some of which are as mature as 100 to 500 years. Olive oil is actually the most important edible vegetable oil in the European nations such as Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal and it also forms a recognized resource of monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs (fatty acids with a single double bond in the fatty acid chain). In addition, olive oils have a rich content of oleic acid (omega-9) and phytonutrients also called plant nutrients. Olive oil also encloses antioxidants that help in preventing it from getting sour owing to prolonged period of storage. In effect, this suggests that olive oil is extraordinarily stable and fit for storage for prolonged periods even at room temperature.
It may be mentioned here that all fresh or pure olive oils are in crude form. In fact, only superior quality, unsullied olives are utilized to prepare virgin oils. Prominent health professionals always suggest the use of virgin olive oils, which are only unrefined oils obtainable in most of the market without much effort, for maintaining a healthy body. When the term 'extra virgin' is used, it denotes the primary pressing of the oil. It is important to note that only the premier superior quality olive oil that is pressed following the extremely austere instructions is perhaps known as extra virgin olive oil.

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Lemons

Biologically called citrus limon, in the beginning lemons were grown as a cross breed with lime and the citron. It is generally believed that lemons were first developed in India or China and have been farmed in these Asian regions for over 2,500 years. It may be noted here that lemons are not only an exceptional resource for vitamin C, but they are also among the most essential antioxidants supplied by the nature. In addition, lemons also enclose the exceptional flavonoid amalgams or compounds that have been identified to possess valuable characteristics that help in avoiding cancerous growths and combating the deadly disease.

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Dijon mustard

Dijon mustard derives its name from the place of it origin - Dijon in France. Dijon mustard is light, grayish-yellow in color and is famous for its fresh, strong essence that varies from insipid to hot. Dijon mustard is not grown naturally, but prepared with brown or black mustard seeds, fresh grape juice, white wine and a variety of seasonings.
Mustard is beneficial for good health as it not only contains very less calories, but also has low cholesterol content. In addition, mustard encloses valuable minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, potassium and vitamin B3 (niacin). Mustard belongs to the crucifer family that also comprises radishes, turnips, watercress and horseradish. All these vegetables are well known for containing varying extents of heat. As a result, mustard functions as a thermogenic or pyretic in our body. In other words, this denotes that mustard possesses the aptitude to assist in motivating metabolism in support of 'burning fat'.

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Healthy salad dressing

The ingredients required for a healthy salad dressing include the following:

  • One part (half cup or 125 ml) of fresh lemon juice.
  • One part (half cup or 125 ml) of 'extra virgin' olive oil.
  • Six cloves of freshly shredded garlic or one large clove of elephant garlic.
  • One tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard.

Put all the items together in a glass screw-top jar and wobble them forcefully. Next, taste the mixture and if you prefer a bitterer flavor add some more lemon juice to the blending. On the other hand, if you prefer the dressing to be oily, simple add a few more drops of the 'extra virgin' olive oil.
You may now make use of this wonderful flavorful dressing to do up your salads, marinate fish, chicken or meat, use it as a secondary sauce for steamed vegetables or meat and/ or as a dip for various raw vegetables.

Having prepared the dressing, make sure to store it in a glass screw-top jar. It is essential to shake up the mixture vigorously before using it each time. You may store the everyday healthy salad dressing in a refrigerator for almost a week without worrying about it becoming putrid. Prior to use, take the salad dressing out of the refrigeration and allow some time for it to liquefy as well as draw out the essence.

You may even try a few variations while preparing this healthy salad dressing for a different flavor and zing. For instance, you may try using flax seed oil as an alternative of olive oil or use balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar in place of lemon juice. When you do this, you will realize how fun it is trying out unusual mishmashes. If you wish to prepare honey mustard dressing, follow the steps required to make the everyday healthy dressing and later on add one additional tablespoon (15 ml) of Dijon mustard and two tablespoons of unpasteurized or unprocessed honey. You will realize that it is always fun testing uncommon permutations.

Always remember that the healthy salad dressing is an important element of all good and nourishing diets. The healthy salad dressing is not only highly remedial, but also valuable for most advantageous health and performance. It functions as a digestive enzyme in our body and assists in protecting our body from various diseases. In addition, the healthy salad dressing also lubricates the joints defending us against arthritis and without doubt makes the soul happy.

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