WV Culinary Team: Add FASS tool to your healing toolbox

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Why have an OK-tasting store-bought salad dressing when it’s so easy to make a great-tasting (and healthier) salad dressing? Some great options to try are Avocado Lover’s Salad with Greener Than Green Goddess Dressing (left); Strawberry, Fennel and Arugula Salad with Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette (bottom right); and Roasted Vegetables With Almond Tamari Sauce (top right).

I have quite a few healing tools in my toolbox. My shopping list and my kitchen are two very important ones. If you have a garden, you can add that to the healing toolbox as well.

Summer is the right time to begin to introduce more vegetables and greens into your diet. Preparing a salad or a vegetable dish as a main course can be delicious and satisfying when you make your own dressings and sauces to top them off. Taking time to prepare your own simple foods can improve the flavor and nutrient quality of your meal.

The grocery store shelves are filled with a variety of ready-to-pour salad dressings and sauces. Most of them taste OK. Who wants to settle for OK when you can have GREAT with just a little extra effort?

Education is another tool I place in my toolbox. Take the time to learn what is in your food. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the label of these store-bought jars or bottles?

I asked Mira Dessy to share her thoughts about the ingredients that are in the majority of dressing products on the grocery store shelves. Mira is “The Ingredient Guru” and the curator of the Lean Clean Green Box found online at theingredientguru.memberbox.com.

“When eating a salad, it’s important to be just as mindful about what goes on the salad as what goes in it,” she said. “Read the label and avoid the negative ingredients that tend to be a mainstay of commercial dressings. Canola and soybean are common choices. These two ingredients are highly genetically modified crops. They can be highly contaminated with glyphosate, which has been shown to have a negative effect on the gut. Other ingredients that can affect your gut include emulsifiers such as carrageenan, polysorbate 80, or a lot of food gums such as xanthan gum or guar gum.”

“Flavor enhancers and preservatives are all part of the mix and can cause headaches, rashes or nausea,” she added. “Disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, and monosodium glutamate are among these, as is potassium sorbate or calcium disodium EDTA. These add no nutrition and are in the dressings simply to extend shelf life. While reading the label is certainly one way to be aware of and avoid these types of ingredients, a more nourishing choice would be to simply make your own dressings.”

How do we make a dressing or sauce taste GREAT?

According to Chef Rebecca Katz, author of “The Longevity Kitchen,” FASS is the tool to use. FASS is another tool in my healing toolbox. It’s an acronym that stands for fat, acid, salt and sweet. These are four tastes that many cooks balance by instinct in each dish.

“While we do sense other flavors, these four are at the forefront,” Katz says. “Constantly vying for attention, and if there is an imbalance, boy do we notice! If, on the other hand, you can get them to work in harmony, their synergies are practically orchestral, building on each other to create a crescendo in flavor.

“A pinch of salt, a spritz of lemon juice or a drizzle of maple syrup can balance the flavors in the dish you are preparing. If you need a little more mouth feel, a healthy fat or oil will do the trick!”

Try making your own combinations of dressings and sauces by using the FASS tools by Rebecca Katz.

Making a simple salad dressing or sauce can be as easy as combining fresh lemon or lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and an herb of choice. Avoid all of the unnecessary negative ingredients by trying the basic recipes here and then create your own.

Manchin’s Greenhouse and Gardens contributed the mixed greens, edible flowers and heirloom tomatoes for the salads pictured. They are located at 4614 MacCorkle Ave. in Kanawha City. Visit their website at manchinsgreen house.net or call them at 681-265-3858 to see all they offer daily.

Sally Miller is the owner and operator of Eats of Eden, a Charleston-based nutrition education business that offers an alternative choice for healing the body through nutrition. She attended Carnegie Mellon University and in 2009 graduated from Bauman Holistic Nutrition College, specializing in holistic nutrition education. She has recently become certified as a Gluten Free Practitioner. For more information on classes and consultations, visit her website at www.eatsofeden.com.

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Bays, Bertha - 1 p.m., Montgomery Memorial Park, London.

Brammer, Larry - 1 p.m., Greene-Robertson Funeral Home, Sutton.

Crouch, Patty - 1 p.m., The First Freewill Baptist Church of Chesapeake.

Ferguson, Alice - 6 p.m., First Baptist Church of Kenova.

Harris, Curtis - 11 a.m., St. Matthew Catholic Church, Ravenswood.

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Lanham, Edward - 6 p.m., American Legion, St. Albans.

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Russell, Edra - 1 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Stewart II, Randall - 1 p.m., White Funeral Home, Summersville.