Once in a blue moon, I’ll catch someone ordering a salad sans dressing and I’ll try to keep my eyebrows from raising disapprovingly or from having a breakdown.
Let me break it down.
The vitamins that your body requires can be categorized into one of two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin B (from whole-grain products, for instance) and vitamin C (from fruits like strawberries, kiwis and oranges, as examples). This means that for these leetle fellas to be absorbed by your gastrointestinal tract, water must be present in the gut. This is as easy as taking candy from a baby (I never got that expression, if anything I feel a child would cling as if for dear life to that piece of candy, tee hee, but let’s roll with it), as saliva is 99.5% water and many foods contain water (fruits, vegetables, soup, oatmeal, cooked pasta/rice/couscous/quinoa/etc. all contain relatively high amounts of water). So far, pretty effortless, amirite?
On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. Once in your intestines, these vitamins need Mr. Fat to be present in order to be absorbed. Vitamins A, E and K tend to be widely found in fruits and vegetables, which do not naturally contain very much fat.
But what does this all mean?
This all means that if you have a vegetable salad containing leafy greens, a few pieces of fruit, some vegetables and lemon juice or vinegar (all of which contain no fat), fat-soluble vitamins A, E, K will simply go for a joyride through 7 meters of small intestine and 1.5 meters of large intestine (bazinga!), basically unabsorbed and unused. This is why salads should be consumed with some source of healthy fat: nuts, seeds, avocado, vegetable oils, etc. Don’t shun these helpful ingredients whilst building your salad.
That said, the one ubiquitous fat commonly present in salads is oil. Although plant-based oils are healthy for you, they are very high in energy and calories. One mere tablespoon contains 120 calories, which is as many calories as a slice of bread. Thus, it is recommended that oils be used sparingly, especially if you are trying to maintain or lose weight. That is why today, I want to share a fruity, oil-free salad dressing recipe with you. Before we proceed, here’s a pop quiz:
Q: This salad dressing recipe contains no oil or fat, therefore:
a) Screw fat! I’m glad this recipe contains none of it!
b) I should add a cup of olive oil to make sure I absorb my trusty fat-soluble vitamins.
c) Ensure you have a source of fat in your salad to absorb all vitamins contained, such as 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds or 1/4 avocado.
If you answered C, please proceed to making this luscious-tasting recipe:
Red Berry, Orange & Chilli Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup red berries (strawberries and/or raspberries)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 clove of fresh garlic
- Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
- S & P, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or use a hand-held blender to create dressing.
- Drizzle atop your favourite salad (make sure some type of healthy fat has shown up to the party).