Ruminations About Salad Dressing

Most store-bought salad dressings contain highly processed oils, preservatives, and flavor enhancers that can actually harm our health. Is that what you want on a plate full of nutritious, colorful vegetables? I prefer a simpler and delicious solution: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and vinegar.

Olive oil promotes health.

Olive oil is healthy for several reasons. It is high in the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid. Olive oil also contains health-promoting antioxidants and polyphenols. Research suggests that due to its oleic acid content, olive oil can reduce the risk of heart disease. It can help lower blood pressure, help control insulin levels, and improve cholesterol levels. Over the years, numerous studies have uncovered the health benefits of this wonderful oil. Just 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day have been linked to health benefits. 

Olive oil damages easily.

Olive oil oxidizes easily and can even become rancid.  Its freshness, how it is stored, and how it is processed are all important to consider. As to freshness, the California Olive Oil Council advises purchasing EVOO within 12-18 months of its harvest date and consuming it within 6 months of opening a bottle. Olive oil is easily damaged by light, heat, and air. So choose oil packaged in a dark, glass bottle, and store it at room temperature.  The name of the oil reflects how it is processed.

Choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) if you can.

“Virgin” olive oil has been removed from the olive by pressing or other means that do not lead to alterations in the oil. Olive oil makers make extra virgin olive oil by grinding olives into a paste and then pressing them to extract the oil. “Extra Virgin Olive Oil,” according to the USDA carries the additional distinction of having “excellent flavor and odor.” Virgin oil does not rise to this level and also has higher acidity. Refined oils are further processed and have less olive aroma, flavor, color and nutrients. Refined oils “lack the important antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that make extra-virgin oil so special.” Be aware that extra virgin olive oils have various and sometimes strong tastes. Find one that appeals to your palate.

What brand of olive oil should I choose?

Inferior olive oil claiming to be EVOO is big business, so you want to make sure that you are getting the real thing. Thankfully, Consumer Lab Reports has done research for us. They tested olive oils for fatty acid content, purity, acidity, rancidity, as well as content of polyphenols and oleic acid. The following came out on top in terms of flavor and price

Kirkland Signature (Costco) Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Trader Joe’s Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
365 (Whole Foods) Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Support Local Business

For the highest quality olive oils, find a local oil and vinegar shop. You can trust local owners who take pride in selecting high quality, fresh oils. The businesses in communities that I frequent are Primo Oils and Vinegars in Louisville, KY and Rocky Mountain Olive Oil in Fort Collins, CO. I have learned a lot during store visits and by visiting their websites, and love the new flavors that I have discovered. Using these oils and vinegars really brings salads to the next level.  

Of course, it all comes down to a matter of taste. I love salads with EVOO, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a sprinkle of Celtic sea salt. Here is a simple vinaigrette recipe:

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsps Basalmic Vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
Whisk ingredients together and drizzle 1-2 Tbsps over salad

Make 2021 the year of the salad!
Nourish Yourself,
Nancy

Embracing Your Natural Hair Color

A 50+ year old woman’s story of going grey

I live in Fort Collins, Colorado where plenty of 50+year-olds happily sport their natural hair color. When I see these women, I think “Wow, she is really pretty. I like her hair.” As I write this I am almost 54 years old and have been dying my hair for more than 20 years. It started out as just a rinse to cover a few grays and restore a rich, dark brown color. This progressed to visiting my stylist every 5 weeks to erase the ever-increasing amount of gray and white.

I recently became a certified nutrition therapist (C.N.T.P.) from the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver. As a C.N.T.P., one way we help clients feel better is by reducing their toxic load. Toxins come into the body through what we eat and drink, through the air we breathe, and also through our skin – including our scalp. Every day, we encounter toxins in our food, personal care products, air, and water. Our livers work 24/7 to process the toxins so that our bodies can excrete them. The body stores toxins that it cannot eliminate in fat. Dousing my scalp and covering my hair every 5 weeks with “who knows what” began to seem an easily avoidable source of toxins. Also, I don’t know about you, but I hate sitting in the salon chair for the amount of time it takes to color my hair.

Head start. Many of you have started the process of growing your hair whether you like it or not because of orders to stay at home during the pandemic,.Maybe you have gotten a good look at your true hair color for the first time in decades. Resist the temptation to race to the salon to color your hair when the stay at home order lifts. Take advantage of the month-long head start and stay on the path toward natural. Here are some ideas and advice o help you along the way:

 *I went blond.     

Yes, there were chemicals involved, but the end of coloring my hair was near. The contrast between the blond and grey growing in was less than the contrast between my natural dark hair and grey. Plus, it was fun to try something new along the way.

*A new, shorter haircut.   

A shorter cut would help it grow out faster, so I let go of one of my most prized possessions, my ponytail. I selected a haircut that was long on top and short in the back. The compliments received about the new hairstyle helped me stay the course for the color change.

*Time and money saved.  

I am happy not sitting in the salon chair for that additional and expensive hour. Each year, I will save 10 hours of my time and around $800 (and that’s without changing my car insurance). In a 5 year span, that’s somewhere around $3200 and 50 hours that I can spend doing something else that I really like.

*Patience  

Know that it will take a while. It took about a year for my hair to completely grow out. Wait for it. It will be worth it.

*I am happier with being me.  

The best me is the real me. Our age has brought us a lot of richness, and we should not cover it up.

I can truly say that I am happy with the change. I believe you will be, too.