Salad made simple…

Well it is summer, which means it is time for veggies and fresh summer salads!  I have several salad dressing recipes I’ll most likely share with you here, but since we’re getting into the busy mid-week I’ll share this one that just couldn’t be simpler.

The thing about most of the store-bought, bottled salad dressings is they are often made with inexpensive and unhealthy oils.  Many of them are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and contain preservatives.  You really might be downgrading the nutritional benefit of your salad by pouring on the store-bought dressings.  So let’s just make our own!

SUPER SIMPLE SALAD DRESSINGImage

– 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

-Juice of half to one whole lemon, depending on your flavor preference

-1/4 tsp spicy brown mustard

-1/4 tsp garlic powder

-Black pepper

This would be for an individual sized salad.  If you want to make a big bowl of salad for a family, just make sure to use equal parts extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.  Adding the oil to the lemon juice will allow for better mixing and also using a small whisk to stir in the mustard works great.  If you want even more of a tang you can add a bit of red wine vinegar, but I think this a tasty salad dressing and it is pretty darn simple to make!

I like a good Romain lettuce salad with some diced red pepper, green pepper, red onion, sliced cucumber, and fetta cheese!!  Yay for veggies!

This recipe calls for extra virgin olive oil so let me just take a moment to tell you why we use this particular oil for a heart healthy dressing.

-Extra virgin olive oil is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is a strong contributing factor to all chronic degenerative diseases, and the root cause of the two greatest killers in America: Cancer and Heart Disease. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are the big words we use to describe the part of our immune systems that attack and kill cells with oxidative chemicals. This is a normal body response to a traumatic event, but if the inflammation becomes chronic and goes on too long it can start to damage tissues in our bodies.  For example inflammation in a joint can eat away at cartilage and result in arthritis. Unchecked inflammation in an organ, say the pancreas, can cause diabetes. Unchecked inflammation is now thought to be responsible for cardiovascular disease and cancers.  Based on all this, I’m sure you can see why eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties would be beneficial.

-Extra virgin olive oil supports our blood vessels  by providing antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene and also helps our blood vessels remain strong through the work of polyphenols like hydroxytyrosol.

-The monounsaturated fat content of olive oil has been linked to a reduction of cholesterol and blood pressure.

-Cancer prevention has been one of the most active areas of olive oil research and the jury is no longer out on its health benefits. Research teams have firmly established the risk-reducing effects of olive oil intake with respect to cancers of the breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract and, to a lesser extent, lower digestive tract (colorectal cancers).

So let’s get cookin’ with those healthy oils!

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