I can't even remember the last time I purchased ready-made, store-bought salad dressing. They simply don't compare to homemade dressings both in taste and, certainly, in quality.
Once you get the hang of making your own dressings and vinaigrettes at home, you realize how easy it really is. It's much more cost-effective as well. Making a batch of dressing is a great way to save some time and have fresh dressing on hand for the entire week.
Unfortunately, so many commercial salad dressings contain the RBD oils we tell you to avoid, which is why we share these Udo's Oil dressing recipes with you and encourage you to make your own. You can also check out our Carrot-Ginger Dressing, Asian Miso Dressing, and our Turmeric-Tahini Dressing. And we have more to come!
But first, let's take a closer look at the process of making RBD oils.
WHAT IS AN RBD OIL?
Apart from virgin oils, most crude oils from common crops such as soybean, corn, safflower, rapeseed (and its GMO version, canola), sunflower and palm are not safe to consume in their crude form and cannot be used in their various applications of consumable goods until they are refined.(1)
Once these oils are mechanically and chemically extracted from their source, manufacturers have to further process the crude oil to remove impurities and to create odourless, tasteless oils that are shelf stable. Oils subjected to this processing are called RBD oils: refined, bleached, deodorized.
The refining phase is the first step. Heat or steam is used to heat the oil to very high temperatures to create an oil that is consistent in taste, color, and stability. This step neutralizes the fatty acids, removes the phospholipids, and filters the oil. Degumming is included in this stage.
Next comes the bleaching process which removes components in the oil that speeds up its oxidation rate. The bleaching stage requires diatomaceous earth or natural bleaching clay and minimizes pigments such as carotenes, chlorophylls and heavy metals.
The third step is called deodorization, a high-vacuum, high temperature distillation process using steam. Steaming vaporizes and removes unwanted components from the oil, including vitamins, fatty acids, protein fragments, and sometimes heavy metals.
In addition to these three steps, there is a fourth optional step which is often used called winterization. This creates RBDW oils that have been chilled to filter out waxes (simple lipids), producing a totally clear oil, free of any residues. RBDW oils are commonly used in commercial salad dressings.
ARE RBD OILS BAD FOR HEALTH?
In one word, yes.
The RBD process creates what we call "zombie" oils, stripped of many of their natural characteristics and health benefits to sell tasteless, odourless oils for shelf stability, shelf appeal, convenience and bottom-line profitability. We think of them as the "Wonder Bread" of oils.
The most problematic oils for manufacturers to work with are the ones with a high polyunsaturated (mostly omega-6) fat content such as corn, soybean, sunflower, canola (rapeseed) and safflower. These oils have a higher oxidation rate compared to monounsaturated or saturated fats. Because of this, they are subjected to the most processing "abuse" for stabilization.
Exposing these oils to the high temperatures used during the RBD process rapidly degrades omega-6 and, even more so, omega-3. These high temperatures also produce harmful compounds such as pro-oxidant free fatty acids (FFA), trans-fatty acids (or trans fats), free radicals, and esters such as 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPDE) and glycidyl (GE).(1,2)
In addition, RBD processing strips these oils of many of their naturally-occurring healthy components including vitamins, phospholipids, tocopherols, diglycerides, phytosterols, polyphenols and antioxidants.(1)
The use of these common RBD oils for cooking, prepared foods, and some beverages is also the cause of the unhealthy balance of omega-6 to omega-3. We get too many damaged omega-6 and not enough undamaged omega-3.
HOW TO EAT MORE HEALTHY OMEGAS
Getting your omegas right is a two step-process. Taking these two steps below will fix most of the issues related to not getting the good fats we need.
STEP 1: Eliminate (or greatly reduce) the bad oils from your diet.
Many unsuspecting consumers believe they're making healthy choices by eating salads using these RBD-oil commercial dressings. It's understandable, but don't be fooled. We need omegas for health, but this is not the way to get them.
In fact, highly processed RBD and RBDW oils are hiding in a surprising number of everyday food and beverage products such as chips, crackers, cookies, snack bars, baby formula and more - another good reason to avoid processed foods and eat more organic whole foods.
But the worst are the vegetable cooking oils used to cook and fry foods. Whether frying at home or eating out at a restaurant, these RBD cooking oils are the frying oils of choice, largely because of their affordability and availability. Exposing these oils to high temperatures yet again, after all the damage endured during processing, just adds insult to fatty acid injury!
STEP 2: Consume more fresh, undamaged omegas, with a focus on more omega-3.
Eat more whole foods that contain omega-3 and omega-6, or consume a carefully made oil, like Udo's Oil Blend, where the health benefits of the omegas you need have been preserved in the pressing, packaging and storing of the oils, and the importance of the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio has been considered (higher in omega-3 than omega-6).
Want to learn more about the important roles omega fats play in health and learn more about our 100% plant-based, certified organic Udo’s Oil 3·6·9 Blend? We put together some helpful information for you here.
We've got tons of great fresh dressing recipes in our back pocket so feel free to check back here frequently, as we will continue to share them with you. Here's our My Big Fat Greek Dressing recipe using our award-winning Udo's Oil Blend, full of the best - or biggest! - fats.
Drizzle it over a traditional greek salad of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, Kalamata olives, and feta; a bed of mixed greens; a macro bowl; or your favorite salad combination.
MY BIG FAT GREEK DRESSING
Makes about 1 cup of dressing
¼ cup Udo's Oil 3·6·9 Blend
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 medium garlic clove, crushed with a press
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, or to taste
- Mix all ingredients, except the olive oil and Udo's Oil, in a small bowl with a whisk or fork.
- Slowly pour the oils into the dressing mixture while whisking to emulsify.
- Drizzle over salad and store left over dressing in a well-sealed glass container in the fridge for up to one week.
Said Gharby. Refining Vegetable Oils: Chemical and Physical Refining. ScientificWorldJournal. 022 Jan 11;2022:662701. DOI:10.1155/2022/6627013.U.S.
Food and Drug Administration. 3-Monochloropropane-1,2-diol (MCPD) Esters and Glycidyl Esters. Retrieved June 24, 2022 from the FDA web site. Site: https://www.fda.gov/food/chemical-contaminants-food/3-monochloropropane-12-diol-mcpd-esters-and-glycidyl-esters. (link is external).