For healthy hearts, minds, and children.

Salad Dressing: The Silent Killer

Yes, salad dressing. You never suspected a thing did you? But if your switch from plate lunches to salads hasn’t helped you loose weight/lower your blood sugar/lower your triglycerides, it’s because you are pouring deadly trans fat onto those crispy, vitamin-rich greens.

The other secret ingredient in many salad dressings is sugar. Why do you want to pour sugar on vegetables? Yuck.

Paleo dieters take note: Organic does not mean vegetable oil free!

Store bought salad dressings are almost never made of olive oil, even the ones that say “So and So’s organic Olive oil dressing.” Bologna. Turn the bottle around and look at the ingredients, there may be some olive oil, but with olive oil costing ten times as much as the other, cheaper oils, you can bet there’s not very much.

Refining Oils Makes Them Bad For You

Most salad dressings contain “one or more of the following:” canola, corn oil, sunflower oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil, or the catch-all “vegetable oil.” All of these oils are bad for us. Not because corn or sunflower seeds are bad for us (though I wouldn’t advise eating cottonseeds), but because the manufacturing steps required to extract the oil from the seed and refine it so that it looks clean and edible turn the molecules of oil fat (called polyunsaturated fat) into mutant fats that include trans fat and other compounds that are worse for us than trans fat!

Why Butter is Better (And olive oil, and peanut oil….)

PUFAs oxidize in the factory during refining, creating from 2-5% trans and other distorted, toxic fats. (See Chapter 7 of Deep Nutrition) When you cook with them, more trans fats form, thanks to a process called the Free-Radical cascade. All biochemistry professors understand this, however too few health professionals have any clue about the health hazards associated with consumption of refined vegetable oils.

Preventing Vitamin and Nutrient Loss


Even worse, if you eat store bought salad dressing, you may as well be throwing the salad right down the toilet. When your body detects high levels of polyunsaturated fat it stops the normal process of digesting fats in its tracks. This is why you may have heard polyunsaturated fats “lower cholesterol.” They actually prevent your body from absorbing all kinds of fats, including cholesterol, but also fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, as well as other nutrients like lecithin, phospholipids, and choline – all of which your body and especially your brain require to be healthy. If you want those vitamins to enter your body, you must consume them with a very special fat: Saturated fat!! Of all things, saturated fat…the very fat the AHA, the ADA, the AMA, and most doctors on the planet tell us all to avoid. Monounsaturated fat, which olive and peanut oils contain in abundance, also helps aid nutrient digestion.

Make Your Own Dressing: It’s Super Easy!!

If you like salad, made your own salad dressing. All you need is:

a) olive oil
b) balsalmic vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
c) hands

What could be easier than pouring two bottles of fluid over a bowl of salad? OK pouring one bottle would be easier. So if you are serious about salad, combine the two fluids in a container of some sort that you can store in the fridge. Here’s a short video to show you what it looks like.

I like their advice about the choice to use bold flavored oil versus the less-bold flavors, and would suggest that if you want a less-bold flavor profile, use a light olive oil rather than the safflower shown since safflower is one of the PUFA rich oils that you want to avoid because it contains secret trans fat, AKA toxic MegaTrans (See Chapter 9, Deep Nutrition).

If you don’t have the fancy bottles they’ve got, use an old jelly jar.

As the video says, the typical ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1, meaning use 3 times as much olive oil as vinegar, but alot of people play with that. Of course, in addition to adding a pinch or two of salt, you could add a few drops of lemon, and if you’re really motivated, some fresh chopped garlic, will make it even tastier, and better for you. (Salt helps your body emulsify the fats with vitamins, and garlic is full of antioxidants.)

Here’s some more Dr. Cate approved recipes:

Start ’em easy: Basic Vinagrette
1/2 C olive oil
shy 1/4 C red wine vinegar OR rice vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp each oregano, thyme and mustard powder
1/4 tsp each black pepper and garlic powder
dash of cayenne and Salt

Shake, chill and serve.

Easy Dijon Vinagrette-prepare one night ahead
1/2 C olive oil
2 T each plain non-fat yoghurt, lemon juice and red wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp each garlic powder, sage, thyme, basil and oregano

Combine in a blender at medium-high speed. Chill overnight before serving.

Now for the more committed: Not On The First Date Olive Oil Dressing
1/2 C olive oil
shy 1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 medium shallot, minced, or 2 T red onion, minced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp McCormick’s Spicy blend, or other general purpose spice blend
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt

Combine in blender at top speed for about a minute, so that all of the onion or shallot is reduced. The result should be a creamy pink dressing. Chill overnight in refrigerator. The result is a mild, oniony dressing with a slightly sweet edge.

Southwestern Vinagrette
1/2 C olive oil
shy 1/4 C white or rice wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cilantro
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin

Shake, chill and serve. If you generally top your salad with cheese, pair this dressing with a mild cotija or colby. Avoid sharp or bitter cheeses such as bleu and feta.

Basil Sesame Dressing

1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 T rice wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
2 T asiago or the cheese of your choice
1/2 tsp dried basil
2-4 leaves of fresh basil
2 T chopped Italian or regular parsley
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine in blender until thoroughly mixed. Chill and serve with a green salad. It’s a spooky color but tastes great.

Cilantro-Lime Vinagrette
1/2 C olive oil
2 T plain yoghurt
2 T lemon juice
2 T rice vinegar
1/4 C fresh, shreaded cilantro leaves, tightly packed
1/4 tsp each garlic powder, thyme and black pepper
1/8 tsp cumin
a squeeze of fresh lime juice – about a quarter lime

Combine in a blender until fully mixed. Chill and serve. I always see those cilantro leaves wilting in Sueoka store in Koloa. Please, come and get um before they wilt or the store will stop carrying them!!!

Jeanne Martin’s Perfect Buttermilk-Dill Dressing

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

3/4 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp dried onion flakes

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Whisk buttermilk and mayo until smooth. Add everything else, whisk to combine and serve.