January 5, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered how to ‘eat healthy’, you’re not alone. And if you’ve been wondering for a while now, you already know that there are many health trends that come and go as theories of nutrition are proposed, adopted, then disproved.

One theory that most of us remember is the theory that a fat-free diet is the healthiest diet. For more than a decade, the orthodox medical establishment said that we should do everything possible to avoid eating any fats. It took quite a while before we started to hear about “good fats” and “bad fats”, and even now there are lots of people who think that they should be completely fat-free except for a bit of olive oil here and there.

If you still have some reflexive guilt whenever you don’t eat fat-free, think about the fact that many nutrients are fat-soluble and are best absorbed by your body when you take them with some food that contains fat. For example, patients of Dr. Lieberman are told to take their Vitamin D supplements with a meal with some fat in it.

Most cuisines seem to combine nutritious foods with some kind of fat- in western cultures, we’ll use butter or olive oil with cooked foods and salad dressings with salads. It’s sort of ironic that dieters were warned to eat salads with no salad dressing for so long, because dressings not only makes salads taste better, but the fat they provide improves the body’s absorption of nutrients in the salad ingredients.

If you make your own dressings from a few simple ingredients you probably already have, you won’t just be saving money on expensive bottled dressings from the grocery store (although saving money is a nice feature). Bottled dressings have a variety of preservatives, dyes, stabilizers, chemicals that have no nutritional value, and may not be all that good for you. If you have food allergies, you’ll need to read your labels carefully to avoid problematic ingredients.

Making your own dressings allows you to decide which ingredients to use & how much to use. You’ll be customizing for your dietary preferences, so you won’t add anything you don’t like or are allergic to, and you control how much- if any- sugars, yeasts and sodium get added to the mix. You can also tweak the spices and herbs for a variety of flavor options, and use different kinds of vinegars & flavored oils. The basic rule of a vinaigrette dressing is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, but some people go half and half, and you can do what tastes good to you. I’m not a measurer- I just eyeball the quantities, then adjust if needed, so if you’re new to making your own dressings, follow a recipe at first to get the hang of things, then do your own thing.

Here’s a link with a few basic recipes:

A Google search for “home-made salad dressings” will provide you with some more creative ideas that you may enjoy. Remember that if you’re doing yeast eradication, we recommend that you substitute lemon juice for vinegar in your basic vinaigrette, and be careful about what else you add.

The standard oil for dressings is olive oil, but Dr. Lieberman is recommending extra-virgin coconut oil for many of his patients because it is a good source of medium-chain triglycerides. Since coconut is a solid at room temperature, you may want to try keeping the bottle on your refrigerator or another warm spot in your kitchen so that the oil will remain in liquid form. You may find that you really like the flavor that coconut oil adds to your salad dressing.

Salads are a great source of nutrients and fiber, but you don’t want to eat the same exact salad each time. Switch things up with different kinds of greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. and your own home-made dressings.