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Beauty Is Wellness: Build a Salad Dressing with Beauty Benefits

Orange-sesame-miso-dressing

Welcome to Beauty Is Wellness, a column about the link between nutrition, lifestyle and beauty based on my health coaching practice of the same name. I’m thrilled to share information about my favorite beauty foods, original recipes for beautiful skin, hair and nails and nutritional tips for beautifying from the inside out in the months to come. If you have specific questions about the beauty and nutrition connection that you’d like to have answered in this column, contact me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.

You’ve just returned from the farmer’s market with a bag full of baby spinach [or fresh kale, watercress, butter lettuce, romaine, dandelion, mache—insert your favorite spring greens here]. You’re about prepare a detoxifying salad, and you want to make sure it’s packed to the brim with beauty benefits. So you add a few more veggies, a handful of beans, or a sprinkling of nuts. You could reach for a bottle of store-bought salad dressing, but who wants to take a plate bursting with freshness and drown it in months-old ingredients? Making your own salad dressing (in five minutes or less!) is a beauty skill worth practicing.

If you think that salad without dressing is always best, think again. One of the most unexpected benefits of salad dressing is its fat content, since a little fat helps your body absorb all of the fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K that are packed into fresh veggies. The trick is, you want to pack your dressing with the right kind of fat (extra virgin olive oil, avocado, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil are all good picks), add dressing in moderation (treat it as a flavor accent) and cut back on the fats, sugars, preservatives and even hidden sources of gluten lurking in many store-bought dressings.

Beyond healthy fats, you can fill your homemade salad dressing with beauty-boosting extras like fresh herbs, nuts and seeds, antioxidant-rich spices, and even probiotics (see my Orange Sesame Miso Dressing below). Use a food processor to whip together dressing ingredients in seconds, or add all your ingredients to a jar and shake well. As a rule of thumb, combine oils and vinegar or citrus as a base, then add your favorite herbs, spices and other flavor-enhancers. With a little delicious trial and error you’ll figure out your own favorite dressing recipe and transform an average salad into a mega beauty meal.

Here are three beautifying dressings to get you started:

Orange Sesame Miso Dressing

This savory-sweet dressing contains skin-friendly probiotics from fermented miso paste, and is packed with beautifying omega-3s thanks to crunchy hemp seeds.

Juice of a half an orange
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 tsp miso paste
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp hemp seeds

Blend the first four ingredients in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a jar, add hemp seeds and shake to combine.

Creamy Tahini Sage Dressing

Fresh herbs are brimming with beauty benefits. Use anti-inflammatory sage in this dressing, or substitute basil or a small amount of thyme. The tahini and grapeseed oil in this recipe are two beauty-friendly fats.

1/2 cup Grapeseed Vegenaise or other dairy-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until creamy.

Vinaigrette with a Twist

The raw apple cider vinegar and lemon in this dressing give your digestion a boost (a plus for clear skin and a flat belly). Feel free to swap the oregano and dill for other favorite fresh or dried herbs.

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried dill
sea salt
black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake to emulsify.

For more beauty nutrition news and recipes, check out beautyiswellness.com.

Text, recipes and images ©2013 Jolene Hart. All rights reserved.

What is your favorite dressing? Tweet us @OrganicSpaMag #beautybenefits

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Beauty Is Wellness: A Spring Detox Dinner

Beauty Is Wellness: Beautifying Spring Soup

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