life: super powers not included

Vinegar Addiction

Vinegar tastingphoto by marxfoods

When I first started forcing urging The Man to eat healthy, salad dressing was a major issue. He was used to eating the great whites: Caesar, creamy Italian, and ranch. It took years for him to agree to homemade dressing, possibly because he really liked the bottled stuff but more likely because he was rebelling.

(He likes to take a stand against total healthification—yes, I just made up that word—by eating foods he knows are bad for the sole purpose of annoying me. Hence the hot dogs in our fridge. And the mystery meat marketed as pulled pork. Don’t even get me started on that one…)

As you may have learned, I’m a super picky eater so it’s almost impossible to find a bottled dressing I like. Instead, I make my own. Over the past year of making salad dressing for myself and The Man, I’ve realized I’m addicted to vinegar. I even bought a few flavored vinegars last summer while on vacation in Cape Cod. A tiny shop in Chatham sells enough oil and vinegar to keep you busy for hours, and I walked away with amazing basil oil, hot pepper oil and two new vinegars: coconut and fig balsamic. (The shop has a Web site, so go crazy.)

I started to wonder whether all that vinegar’s good for my health. Sure, I’ve heard about crazy celebs taking vinegar shots to lose weight (because, you know, that’s a great long-term weight loss plan) but research on vinegar’s actual health benefits seemed slim. I did more digging but came to the same conclusion: Vinegar may be good, but I think science is a long way from giving a final answer.

Here’s what I found:

Balsamic remnantsphoto by brianbald

Apple cider vinegar may lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. There’s more research on the vinegar-diabetes link than other health effects, but it’s still not an actual treatment for the disease.

Vinegar may lower cholesterol and blood pressure. (At least in mice)

Vinegar may lower blood pressure in humans, but the study that suggests this is kind of a joke. The researchers found an association between eating oil and vinegar dressing on salads and a lower rate of heart disease than people who used other dressings. I think it’s more likely oil and vinegar users have other healthy habits than their creamy peppercorn peers.

It might kill cancer cells thanks to its polyphenols, but studies on this are mixed and not conclusive.

Vinegar might aid weight loss, possibly by making people feel more full and satisfied.

I like to dress my salads in a straight oil-and-vinegar mix—red wine, balsamic, apple cider, it doesn’t really matter—but The Man needs an add-in. So here are two of my favorite homemade dressing recipes. (Adjust the oil-to-vinegar ratio as you like. And feel free to use more or less mustard, depending on your desired consistency. I usually add even more vinegar to my portion to thin it out. The Man gets his thicker because he hates his dressing too acidic). If you want another, my friend Joy recently posted a great hummus dressing on her site.

Balsamic Honey Mustard

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon Inglehoffer Sweet Honey Mustard (you can use your own brand, but I like this one because it’s not overly sweet and it’s much thicker than those in squirt bottles)

Mix the balsamic and honey mustard in a bowl until combined. Add the oil gradually, stirring as you go. I love this over a salad with strawberries, blueberries, or pears.

Red Wine Dijon

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Mix the red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard in a bowl. Add the oil gradually, stirring as you go. This goes well with a salad of crisp veggies like radishes, carrots, asparagus, and tomatoes.

What’s your favorite use for vinegar? What is your favorite kind?

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25 comments

1 Joanna Sutter (Fitness & Spice) { 04.15.10 at 7:15 am }

You rock, girl! You’re so informative and entertaining. I just love your site.

BTW, I’m totally making your balsamic (my fave!) honey mustard recipe. Today.

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Tracey Reply:

Joanna–Thanks so much! And let me know what you think.

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angie Reply:

I can drink vinegar right out of the bottle, and I can eat a whole thing of pickles and i have had a hysterectomy. I was wondering if my body was lacking something!

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2 Tweets that mention Vinegar Addiction — i'm (not) superhuman -- Topsy.com { 04.15.10 at 7:35 am }

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tracey Neithercott. Tracey Neithercott said: Morning! New post: The health benefits of vinegar and dressing recipes. http://bit.ly/aHyFhi [...]

3 FoodFitnessFreshair { 04.15.10 at 9:07 am }

I rarely buy salad dressing, and usually stick with a simple oil & vinegar, S&P combination. I am a huge vinegar fan….I usually put as much, or more, vinegar than olive oil on my salad, whereas I know my mom thinks this is disgusting. Mustard is a nice add-in as well!

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4 Joy Manning { 04.15.10 at 9:16 am }

Thanks for the shout out, Tracey.

You can make a range of healthy, creamy salad dressing at home that you and the Man may both like. I often combine Greek yogurt, buttermilk, salt & pepper, a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some crumbled cheese (blue, feta, goat). Far better tasting and healthier than what you get in a bottle.

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Tracey Reply:

Joy–That creamy dressing is a good idea. I don’t like creamy dressings, but I should definitely make this for The Man. I think he’d really like it! Expect a big thank-you after our next grocery shopping trip.

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5 Kristine { 04.15.10 at 9:53 am }

Got one for ya!
http://www.anklebitingterrier.com/daily/ancient-chinese-secret-dressing/

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Tracey Reply:

Kirstine–That sounds good!

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6 Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly { 04.15.10 at 10:21 am }

So great!! We always make homemade dressing and these will be great to add to our aresenal!! :)

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7 Hilary { 04.15.10 at 12:18 pm }

Your man sounds a bit like mine. Gets a kick out of his unhealthy his meals knowing it grosses me out. He’s good about eating what I cook most nights, though, so he’s getting better about the health food

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Tracey Reply:

Hilary–It’s all about patients when it comes to getting a guy to eat healthy. And bullying.

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8 theemptynutjar { 04.15.10 at 2:14 pm }

I’ve never made my own salad dressing, but your recipes seem nice.
I do love vinegar actually. It can add. Kind of like mustard. And ketchup. Staples of the pantry, no?

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Tracey Reply:

Empty Nut Jar–I agree. Though I’m iffy on ketchup. It grosses me out on certain foods. Ahem, eggs.

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9 Ameena { 04.15.10 at 2:35 pm }

I love making my own salad dressing, it usually involves some olive oil and half a bottle of salsa. Does that count? Probably not. So I’m glad you posted this….apparently I am in need of some good dressing recipes. :)

Once in a while I drop some apple cider vinegar into my food, just because…I’ve become accustomed to the taste now!

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Tracey Reply:

Ameena–I think salsa counts as dressing. I don’t use it because I hate onions and so does The Man. I know, we’re weird freaks of nature who should be locked in cages. I know.

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10 eatmovelove { 04.15.10 at 9:44 pm }

I totally use salsa and spaghetti sauces! It’s ridiculous.
And vinegar for sure – it goes on everything (as with the above) and with other condiments – mustard , ketchup…like I said ridiculous…I make my tongue raw from the acid of the vinegar….:( – and yet I always go back to it?
And YEAH for cream cheese! :)

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11 Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com { 04.15.10 at 10:41 pm }

Tracey you just managed to captivate me in a post about vinegar! I don’t know how you do it- every single day there is something interesting that you post about and I am always glad I came. I like vinegar a lot too and sadly have never tried the flavored varieties! I’d love the coconut and the fig, I bet!

The dressings you posted sound delicious! I was so excited to see that you listed Inglehoffer’s! That’s my favorite honey mustard!

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12 charlotte { 04.15.10 at 10:58 pm }

So I thought I was the only one addicted to vinegar!! I always make all my own salad dressings too (picky eaters unite!). My current fave is white balsamic vinegar with just a splash of random fruit nectar (today’s was apricot) and blended with some EVOO and cracked pepper.

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13 sian-girlgetstrong { 04.16.10 at 9:10 am }

Yummy that recipe looks great…cut pasting and printing right now! I love all kinds of vinegar!

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14 Lauren @ OneDayataTime { 04.16.10 at 12:42 pm }

Thanks for all the vinegar info. I heard about celebs pouring Apple cider vinegar on their food to make them lose weight or help them eat less. Sounded like a gimmick to me, but I do know that vinegar is healthy and I would love to start making my own dressings. I think I might try the red wine dijon- so pure and simple! Love it.

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Tracey Reply:

Lauren–Thanks for your comment. If you try it, lemme know what you think!

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15 Amy { 04.23.10 at 4:01 am }

Thanks for all the vinegar info. I heard about celebs pouring Apple cider vinegar on their food to make them lose weight or help them eat less. Sounded like a gimmick to me, but I do know that vinegar is healthy and I would love to start making my own dressings. I think I might try the red wine dijon- so pure and simple! Love it.

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Tracey Reply:

Amy–Some celebs are even doing apple cider vinegar shots. Mmmm.

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16 Sol Filippo { 01.28.11 at 1:43 pm }

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.

[Reply]

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