It’s so good to see you back again! We have been working on eating foods that only have 5 ingredients or less. For example, carrots have one ingredient………canned carrots often have several ingredients. It is important to read the ingredient labels of the food you buy so that you really know what you are eating. Without reading labels, you are likely eating ingredients that add weight, cause allergies, and potentially cause illness.
This isn’t a weight loss blog so my take on “Taking the garbage out of your salad” isn’t the typical removal of high calorie foods so you can lose weight. My intention here is actually a simple lesson on how you can take processed food out of your diet. This lesson can be applied to all sorts of recipes and all of your favorite dishes once you figure out how to clean up your ingredients.
I chose salad for this lesson because salad is a food that most people think of as healthy. When I started researching food I discovered just how many of our salad fixings were full of ingredients that are less than desirable for a real food lifestyle.
Buy whole ingredients and make sure to wash them thoroughly. I like to avoid pesticides as much as I can so I try to buy organic as often as possible. Unfortunately, organic is not always available so if there is a skin that can be peeled off, I feel better about buying conventional. I try to use the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen list as a reference.
Read your labels. Make sure you are buying cheese and not a “cheese-product.” Cheese does not have oils, whey proteins, calcium phosphate, sodium citrate, artificial colors………..you get the picture. The white stuff you see on shredded cheese is likely wood pulp. While it is generally recognized as being safe, it is not something I want to eat on a regular basis. Therefore, I shred my own.
Adding meat to your salad is a good way to make it more a meal. Make sure you are using deli meats that are nitrite/nitrate free. Fish that is not factory farm raised and organic chicken and beef. Meats that are not pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones and are fed a GMO free diet is preferred.
If you have dieted to lose weight, you likely have heard to cut the croutons. That makes sense, but if I’m eating a salad full of vegetables…….a few croutons can be made healthy if you make them yourself. My friend at the Cheery Baker shows how you can make Homemade Garlic Croutons easily. Just make sure you use a good quality bread with 5 ingredients or less to start with. Take a look at your crouton label. You will see a whole list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
Salad dressing had to be the toughest change for me to make. I was convinced that salad dressing had to come out of a bottle at the store, but I couldn’t find a good one. I searched and searched and couldn’t find a dressing I really liked. Just because it’s organic, doesn’t mean it fits in with my 5 ingredient or less rule. I found all sorts of questionable oils, preservatives, and stabilizers. I finally decided that I would just have to start making my own dressings. My favorite quick dressing is a little oil, a squirt of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I have really been enjoying my kitchen chemistry. In trying to come up with a ranch type dressing, I created an excellent dill dressing. If you would like a few dressings to try, my friend Nicky at Little Family Adventure has a Maple Shallot Vinaigrette that is just awesome. It is one of my current favorites. Gaye at CalmHealthySexy has a couple of Delicious Dressings that can be used as marinades too.
I hope this helps you to see how we can break down any meal into its individual ingredients and clean them up. Food is delicious in its purest forms. Wait till you taste it. My family kept saying, “Wow! This is really good.” We were talking about foods that we thought we had been eating our whole life. I am so thankful that we have had our eyes opened to real food.
So, tell me what your favorite homemade salad dressings are. Is this helpful to you? I still find that lots of folks don’t quite understand what I’m talking about when I say “real food”. Do you find that to be true also?Salads can look the same and taste the same so why would you not want the healthier one?
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