Tag Archives: vinaigrette

How to Make a Super Salad Into a Whole Meal

diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, diabetes,

You won’t be able to eat this in one sitting if you’re small or sedentary

This huge salad is a full meal. It fills a 10-inch plate (25 cm). Since it contains five vegetables, you should feel virtuous eating it. But don’t use that health halo as an excuse for eating a carton of ice cream for dessert.


8 oz (230 g) raw chicken breast tenderloin (it cooks down to 5 oz)

1/4 cup (60 ml) canned mandarin orange wedges (6-7 wedges) (if you can only find these packed in syrup or light syrup, add 3 g to the digestible carb count below)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) lemon pepper seasoning

4 oz (110 g) hearts of romaine lettuce

1 oz (30 g) baby spinach

2.5 oz (1/4 cucumber or 70 g) cucumber, peeled and sliced into discs

2 oz (60 g) California avocado, peeled and seeded, cut into wedges (1/2 of standard-sized avocado)

3 oz (85 g) fresh tomato (a typical roma or small tomato)

1 oz (30 g) walnuts

6 tbsp (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) vinegar (we used balsamic)

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) salt

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp (1.2 ml) crushed dried rosemary

diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, low-carb, seasoning

Like Deborah on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” my wife often makes lemon chicken


First cook the chicken breast over medium heat in a skillet. If you think the meat will stick to the pan, add a smidgen (1/2 tsp or 2.5 ml) of olive oil to the pan. Don’t overcook or the meat will get tough. It’ll take five or 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, prepare your vinaigrette. In a jar with a lid, place the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary, then shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Not 21 or you’ll ruin it. You’re done.

If you use a commercial vinaigrette instead, use one that has no more than 2 g of carbohydrate per 2 tbsp. You may have trouble finding that since so many of the commercial guys add sugar.

Place the lettuce and spinach on a plate then add the cucumber, avocado, tomato, cooked chicken, walnuts, and mandarin orange wedges on top. Drizzle two or three tbsp of the vinaigrette over it (nutritional analysis assumes three). Enjoy.

Servings: 1

(Actually, you’ll have enough vinaigrette left over for one or two more salads or vegetable servings. Save it in the refrigerator.)

Nutritional Analysis:

57 % fat

12 % carbohydrate

31 % protein

710 calories

25 g carbohydrate

10 g fiber

15 g digestible carb

990 mg sodium

1,570 mg potassium

Prominent features: Rich in protein, vitamin A, B6, C, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, pantothenic acid, selenium, and phosphorus.

low-carb diet, diabetic diet, Paleobetic diet, balsamic vinaigrette,

I like this and use it. The lower left corner says “with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.” In order, the listed ingredients are water, balsamic vinegar, soybean oil and extra virgin olive oil, sugar….  2 tbsp has 3 grams of carb. Which oil would you guess predominates? BTW, balsamic has the most carbs of all the vinegars.

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Salads, Vinaigrettes, and Cruets

Our new cruet

Our new $8 cruet

If you’re trying to lose weight or keep from getting fat, salads are helpful. I recommend them in my Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, Paleobetic Diet, and Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet.

My favorite salad dressings are vinaigrettes. They can be as simple as olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. The problem with most commercial vinaigrettes is the label says “_____ Vinaigrette with olive oil, “but the first listed ingredient is soybean oil (or some other industrial seed oil) and olive oil is somewhere down the line.

Get around that by making your own. Here’s a recipe and a salad to try it on. Also, if you’re watching your carb consumption, the commercial dressings  may sneak in more than you want. Again, avoid that by making your own.

Cruet label

Cruet label

You can make a vinaigrette in a jar with a lid. Add the ingredients then shake to create an emulsion. Or do it in a bowl with a whisk. My wife found us a cruet at the supermarket that I’m hoping will allow mixing, storing, and pouring all from the same attractive container. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t work out; I’m afraid it will leak when I shake it.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: It leaked. This device is for a liquid that you won’t be shaking.

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Meal Plans For “Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes”

For both types 1 and type 2 diabetes, carbohydrate restriction is a great way to help control blood sugars and minimize the toxicity and expense of drug therapy. Here are some low-carb recipes from my book, Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes.

Breakfast:  Brats and Tomatoes

6 oz (170 g) tomato, sliced

2 tbsp (30 ml) AMD vinaigrette (see below) or commercial Italian dressing (regular, not low-fat, with 3 g or fewer carbs per 2 tbsp or 30 ml)

salt and pepper

2 pre-cooked bratwursts (about 2.3 oz or 65 g each)

6 tsp (30 ml) mustard (optional)

Dress the tomato slices with the vinaigrette, plus salt and pepper to taste. Heat 2 pre-cooked bratwursts as instructed on package. Use mustard on the brats if desired. Digestible carb grams: 8.


Try this on salads, fresh vegetables, or as a marinade for chicken, fish, or beef. If using as a marinade, keep the entree/marinade combo in the refrigerator for 4–24 hours. Seasoned vinaigrettes taste even better if you let them sit for several hours after preparation. This recipe was in my first book, The Advanced Mediterranean Diet; hence, “AMD vinaigrette.”


1 clove (3 g) garlic

juice from ½ lemon (23 g or ml)

a third of a cup (78 ml) oil olive

2 tbsp (8 g) fresh parsley

½ tsp (2.5 ml)) salt

½ tsp (2.5 ml) yellow mustard

½ tsp (1.2 ml) paprika

2 tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar


In a bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together. Alternatively, you can put all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Let sit at room temperature for an hour, for flavors to meld. Then refrigerate. It should “keep” for at least 5 days in refrigerator. Shake before using. Servings per batch: 3.

Nutrient Analysis:

Recipe makes 3 servings (2 tbsp or 30 ml per serving). Each serving has 220 calories, 2 g digestible carb, almost no fiber, negligible protein, 24 g fat. 3% of calories are from carbohydrate, 97% from fat.

Lunch:  Easy Tuna Plus Pecans

5-oz can (140 g) of albacore tuna

2 tbsp (30 ml) Miracle Whip Salad Dressing (or real, high-fat mayonnaise)

1 tsp (5 ml) lemon or lime juice

1 oz (28 g) pecan halves

Drain the liquid off the can of tuna then place tuna in a bowl. Add Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and lemon or lime juice. Mix thoroughly and enjoy. Eat 1 oz of pecan halves around mealtime or later as a snack. If you want to simplify this, forget the Miracle Whip and lemon; just use 1 oz (28 g) of commercial tartar sauce that derives at least 80% of calories from fat and has less than 3 g of carb per 2 tbsp or 30 ml. Digestible carb grams: 5.

Dinner:  Ham Salad

2 oz (60 g) cooked ham, cut in to small cubes

1 oz (28 g) celery, sliced and diced

1 oz (28 g) seedless grapes (about 4 grapes), cut into small chunks

1 oz (28 g) walnuts, coarsely crumbled

4 oz (110 g) romaine lettuce

3 tbsp AMD vinaigrette or commercial Italian, French, or ranch dressing having 2 or fewer grams of carb per 2 tbsp or 30 ml)

Lay out a bed of lettuce then sprinkle these on top: ham, celery, grapes, walnuts. Finish construction with AMD vinaigrette or commercial dressing. You’re done. Alternatively, substitute cooked chicken or steak for ham. With chicken, apple may work better than grapes. If having a glass of wine (6 fl oz or 180 ml) with meal, delete the grapes or the carb count will be too high. Digestible carb grams: 10.

(When commercial dressing is used, the digestible carb count is closer to 13 than 10 g.)

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Vinegar to Treat Diabetes?

Vinegar reduces blood sugar elevations after meals containing complex carbohydrates, according to the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University.

Meals containing carbohydrates (and to a lesser extent, proteins) raise blood sugar after meals in people with or without diabetes.  [I’ve written previously about the normal ranges of blood sugars.]  Previous studies established that a single vinegar dose around mealtime lowers postprandial (after meal) blood sugar levels by up to 50%.  Arizona investigators wanted to know the best dose and timing for reducing postprandial blood sugar elevations.

They ran multiple tests on about 40 adults who reported they were generally healthy except nine had type 2 diabetes (not taking insulin). 


Mealtime vinegar ingestion reduced postprandial (two hours after meal)  blood sugars by about 20% compared to placebo.  The test meal was white bagel (variable amounts), 20 g of butter, and 200 g of juice. 

The most effective dose of vinegar was 10 g (about two teaspoons or 10 ml) of 5% acetic acid vinegar (either Heinz apple cider vinegar or Star Fine Foods raspberry vinegar).  This equates to two tablespoons of vinaigrette dressing (two parts oil/1 part vinegar) as might be used on a salad.  The authors also say that “…two teaspoons of vinegar could be consumed palatably in hot tea with lemon at mealtime.”


The study authors suggest that the blood-sugar-lowering effect of vinegar may be related to inhibition of digestive enzymes or to a slower rate of empyting by the stomach.  Remember that most of digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs in the small intestine; the stomach first has to empty food into the small intestine.  Vinegar seems to inhibit digestion of starch but not of simple (monosaccharide) sugars.

They also note another study that found vinegar slowed the rate of stomach emptying by almost 40% in type 1 diabetics with gastoparesis, potentially raising the risk of low blood sugar.

Take-Home Points

The development of cardiovascular disease, like heart attacks and strokes, seems to be tied especially to elevations of blood sugar after meals as compared to before-meal or fasting sugar levels.  This may be related to formation of free radicals  and inflammatory mediators.  So reduction of postprandial blood sugar elevations by vinegar may be particularly helpful in preventing heart disease.  It will be many years before we can prove this by a clinical study, if ever. 

Diabetics, especially type 2’s without gastroparesis, may better tolerate grains, fruits, and legumes—in terms of lower blood sugar spikes—if they eat them in a meal that includes two teaspoons of vinegar. 

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:  Johnston, Carol, et al.  Examination of the antiglycemic properties of vinegar in healthy adults.  Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 56 (2010): 74-79.


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My Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet: Day 42 + Vinaigrette Recipe

Vinegar and oil

Vinegar and oil

Weight: 155 b

Transgressions: 1 Metamucil fiber wafer

Exercise: none


Vinaigrette (Olive Oil & Vinegar Salad Dressing)

Ingredients: 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp parsley (fresh, chopped), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper (freshly ground), 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp paprika, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 garlic clove (minced)


In a bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together.  Alternatively, you can put all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously.  This tastes even better if you let it sit for several hours before using as a salad dressing or drizzling over fresh or cooked vegetables.  Refrigerate any remaining.  Servings per batch: 6.  Serving size: 1 tbsp.  Digestible carbs per tbsp: 1 g.

With the size of the salads I’m eating these days, I’d use 2 tbsp.

This recipe was in The Advanced Mediterranean Diet.  Find many more vinaigrette recipes at Allrecipes.com and RecipeZaar.


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