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Monday, July 16, 2012

My Homemade Healthy Salad Dressing

My salads always consist of 2 cups of dark leafy greens (I prefer spring mix with herbs, baby romaine or baby spinach leaves), 1/2 cup of another raw vegetable (red bell pepper strips, chopped baby carrots, chopped hearts of palm, etc.), 4-6 oz. of lean protein like grilled garlic-herb chicken breast or shrimp & 2 TBSP. of sunflower seeds. You can replace the meat with 1/2 c. of beans if you are a vegetarian or vegan. If you are slim & metabolize carbohydrates well, cooked whole grains can be thrown in a salad, such as brown rice, pearl barley, quinoa, etc. Some people enjoy adding fruit to their salads (like Mandarin orange wedges)- I'm not one of them, but that's just a matter of personal preference. I don't need the additional carbs for one thing (I don't have a fast enough metabolism to process them well). But whole grains or fresh fruit will contribute additional fiber to your salad, thus reducing bloating & constipation issues. If you're a very physically active person during the day, you may need those additional carbohydrates to fuel your afternoon, too.

The following recipe contains the serving size of dressing for one salad. I love it because it's healthy, has no artificial sweetener in it, no trans fats, no cottonseed oil or anything else nasty. Since it's made fresh every day, I'm not worrying about eating preservatives in mass quantities or wondering when the heck I actually opened the dressing bottle! This dressing is also terrific to take to work for your daily lunchtime salad. It's extremely quick to mix up in the a.m. before you leave. Just pack it in a small Lock & Lock or other airtight container, place in your lunch & shake it up a little before putting it atop your salad. Most of the ingredients can be purchased at www.vitacost.com, if they're not available in your local area.

My Homemade Healthy Salad Dressing:
1 tsp. raw Manuka honey, blue agave nectar, coconut nectar or raw unbleached sugar (Sucanat) for sweetness
1 tsp. mustard (use your favorite flavor- I like German sweet-hot style)
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil (good for the heart & adds necessary fat to fuel the brain)
1 tsp. Bragg's Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (adds tang & cleanses your whole body on the inside)
1 tsp. minced garlic (jarred minced garlic is perfectly fine; it's good for the heart & bloodstream to eat garlic daily)
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger (ginger is excellent for the immune system & sinuses)
A squeeze of lemon, orange or lime juice if you like some additional Vitamin C, acidity & tang
A spinkle of non-iodized sea salt & freshly-ground black pepper
Spring, distilled or purified tap water to thin the dressing out to your desired consistency
Optional- A TBSP. or so of fresh chopped herbs like flat-leaf parsley, cilantro or dill weed, if available (dill weed actually keeps really well in the freezer- when you buy it fresh, don't be afraid to store it frozen; it thaws out VERY quickly)

Just whisk it all together & serve immediately, or pack away & shake it up when needed. Enjoy!

Here's to be a healthy organized minimalist,
Liz

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