DRESSING BASICS

Dressings are an optional way to flavor and tenderize vegetables. While dressings are not necessary, most people starting out on raw and living food diet use them. Typically, a dressing includes a fat, an acid, salt, sugar, seasonings/flavorings and liquid. It is best to stick with one source of fat when making a dressing so that it is easier to digest. The types of fats to choose from include: avocado, high quality, cold-pressed unrefined oils (such as extra virgin olive, flax, hemp or raw sesame), nuts or seeds. Whole foods such as nuts are always preferred over food isolates such as oils. Seasoning and flavorings can include anything from dried herbs to spices to your choice of fresh herbs and vegetables. From both a flavor and a health perspective, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne are great additions
to any dressing. Liquid is usually needed to blend and adjust the consistency of a dressing. Use pure water or any vegetable juice for this purpose. The use of salt, sugar and acid leads us to our next topic: the four basic tastes. The most popular dressings achieve a balance of the four tastes. Sometimes a fifth one, spicy hot, is included. Here are the ingredients we typically use at Hippocrates to achieve balance in our dressings:

SWEET

Stevia (whole leaf, powder or liquid) and naturally sweet vegetables (carrot, red bell pepper, sweet potato). For the sake of optimal digestion and food combining principles, as well as reducing sugar intake, we do not use dried fruit, dates, honey, maple syrup or agave to sweeten food that will be combined with vegetables and other items.

SALTY

Dulse (whole leaf, flakes or powder), kelp powder and any other sea vegetables, Bragg Liquid Aminos, Nama Shoyu, ground dehydrated celery, spinach, chard, kale (the green leafy vegetables also add bitterness) and sun-dried olives. Salt generally enhances flavor. When you see the ingredient labeled “flavor enhancer of your choice” in our recipes we are referring you to this section to choose which ingredients, if any, you prefer.

SOUR

Fresh lemon juice and raw sauerkraut—you will not find any type of vinegar in our recipes. While raw apple cider vinegar has many beneficial uses, it is less than ideal for mixing with food because it interferes with digestion.

BITTER

Dark leafy greens, fresh herbs, unsalted olives and certain oils.

WHAT TO USE WHEN YOU WANT TO THICKEN

Zucchini, yellow squash, powdered spices, ground flax seed, psyllium powder, nut/seed butters, soaked nuts/seeds, avocado or oil.

 

This is an excerpt from Healthful Cuisine by Anna Maria Clement and Chef Kelly Serbonich

 

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