Tag Archives: digestion

Our favorite recipes that are good for digestion

Everyone knows we love tasty recipes that are good for your gut. Over the years we’ve shared a bunch for different occasions. So we thought we’d revisit our favorites as a yummy reminder of all the goodness you can get while still treating yourself right.

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Toasts

Image result for healthy meals

Not all food that’s good for digestion is rabbit food.

These bites are a little more work than the cauliflower, but the flavor is perfect for a holiday brunch on a cold winter morning. There are a lot of ingredients, but most of them are optional or swap-able. Use whatever fresh herbs you like or have in the fridge, and garnish with sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds. Serve with a mimosa and you’ve got yourself a party.

Here are the ingredients. 

Sweet Potato Mash

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 12 oz.), peeled, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 red Thai chile (optional), halved, some seeds removed
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Broccoli

  • 1 large head broccoli, stem removed, cut into large florets
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices ¾”-thick crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons chopped raw pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, divided
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Boil the sweet potatoes to create the mash, roast the broccoli in the meantime, then assemble your toasts and garnish as you like.

Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic

This stir fry is really versatile, so you can use any type of sturdy, leafy green. Kale and chard hold up well when sauteed, and spinach would wilt nicely as well.

Here are the ingredients.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 cups chopped fresh bok choy
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper

Lentil Soup

Giada De Laurentiis of Food Network fame gives us this simple soup that’s loaded with veggies. It also calls for lentils, which are great for your digestive tract.

There are a few steps in the process, each one easier than the next. You saute carrots, celery and onions, then add tomatoes and broth, boil the lentils and at the very end, add some pasta.

With a recipe like this, you can add any veggies you have. Zucchini and squash would make it a fall favorite. And if there’s something you don’t have, just leave it out.

Here are the ingredients.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Get the directions here.

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More common foods to help your tummy

Image result for healthy foodsOne of the most effective ways to improve your digestion is through food. We all know that, but
it can be difficult to make those decisions when life is so busy. But there are so many common foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet that’ll help improve your digestion.

Bustle recently gave us another list less-obvious tummy helpers that you can add to your grocery list. We’ve got some suggestions on how to do just that.

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt can help with digestion, and Greek yogurt is an easy add to your normal menu. Stick to plain, since the flavored tends to have more sugar.

  • Add low-sugar granola or cereal with fresh fruit for breakfast.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream at your next Mexican night. Stir in lemon juice, salt and fresh cilantro to kick up the flavor.
  • Mix in Dijon and yellow mustards and your favorite pepper, then spread it on a sandwich with turkey breast and avocado.

Onions and Garlic

These favorite flavor boosters are also great for your immune system and digestion. If you don’t like the raw flavor – it’s strong! – sauteing these bulbs makes them a sweet addition to just about anything.

  • Slow cook diced onions in a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Put these into meatballs, chili, or a cold bean salad.
  • Add garlic into the sauteed onions at the end until it just cooks through for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Thinly slice red onions and toss with romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, and your favorite dressing.

Black Beans

These nutritious powerhouses are super versatile. (You can even make brownies out of them!) And they’re easy enough to add into a quick meal.

  • Mix a can of black beans with diced bell pepper, avocado, onion and fresh cilantro. Add a dash of salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper or hot sauce for an easy lunch.
  • Make a pot of no-chop chili (beef or turkey, seasonings and salsa – promise it’s easy), and add black beans at the end.
  • If you make eggs in the morning, add black beans and salsa for a southwestern kick.

Bananas

These ready-made snacks are perfect to add to your daily routine, and if you don’t have time to prepare them, bring them along for your mid-morning munchies.

  • Dice up some bananas to add to your oatmeal, and put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top for extra protein and digestive powers.
  • Make a fruit salad, even in the winter. Thaw your favorite frozen berries, add slices of banana, some cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh lemon juice.
  • Whip up two-ingredient banana pancakes and smear on some peanut or almond butter for a super-satisfying breakfast.

Want more? Check out the other surprisingly common foods that can help with your tummy.

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The real struggles of three IBDers

On a normal day, car trouble or a busy grocery store are minor inconveniences. When you add Crohn’s or Colitis to your schedule, your normal day can turn into a bad dream in no time.

To raise awareness of this struggle and show how strong these survivors are, we wanted to share three encouraging stories as we look forward to the bright future of IBDers.

 

Amber Lopez Pelton, Crohn’s SurvivorImage may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor

I’m still wearing purple to raise awareness for IBD💜💜💜 I thought someone fixed the brake lights a while ago, but some nice man honked his horn& told me they were out still out. Being in a bad flare, I had an extra change of clothes& took the girls with me& changed& cleaned myself the best I could while I got the truck serviced. It was very embarrassing but The Automotive place treated us very well& gave us a good price& understood. They got to see a little bit of a taste of what us IBDrs go thru on a daily basis, behind closed doors. It can cause depression as well. It’s an autoimmune disease!! So please, take us seriously, many have passed from this& it can b hereditary.

Let’s fight for a cure everyone!! 

Oh& it can turn into Cancer without proper treatment. So let’s raise awareness& fight for a cure💜💜💜Stay strong my IBD Warriors!!

 

Nicole Lynn Cochran, Ostomy SporterImage may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

I am 28 years old and have suffered from severe ulcerative colitis since I was 19. For years I hid my illness and was embarrassed to talk about the painful and debilitating symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

I had gone through over 30 medications including biologics, high dose steroids and even forms of chemotherapy with no relief. My colon was killing me. Three weeks ago I went under the knife to remove my diseased colon. I have two more surgeries to go to create my jpouch and to reverse my ileostomy.

I wear a bag and I am not embarrassed, and I have no reason to be.

This bag is giving me LIFE and I intend to take full advantage of that.

I have come a long way from the 19 year old girl that was afraid to talk about her illness. I have an ostomy and I am proud of it!

 

Image may contain: one or more people and plantAmber Schieber, Lifetime IBD Warrior

I’ve had Crohns Colitis and IBD since I’m 9 years old, I’m 20 now, my disease is so sever it has moved into my lungs and has caused respiratory diseases. ” Just breathe” is written in my parents handwriting, symbolic to, deep breath, everything is going to be okay, one step at a time.

Everything does get better, don’t give up, fight like a girl.

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Three inspiring stories from IBD fighters

Every day across the country, more than one a half million people live with some form of irritable bowel disease. The struggles of these folks can vary immensely, with the goal of most to find some normality within the disorder.

Recently, we’ve come across a handful of really incredible and inspiring stories, so we thought we’d share a few with you.

Tony, a Crohn’s patient from Pennsylvania

For me, Crohn’s is one piece of a very complicated medical package – I also live with epilepsy, Celiac disease, and a rare, systemic genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I struggle daily with depression. Suffice it to say, I manage A LOT when it comes to my health and overall well-being.

There’s something about living with a disease like Crohn’s that has altered my entire perception of myself and my place in the world. When I was diagnosed, I stared death in the eyes. Crohn’s, forever complicated by my entire medical mash-up, nearly killed me. It ravaged my body before more treatments were developed. At the time, infliximab was the only biologic therapy on the market, and after a 13 year run with it, it was no longer helping me. Surgery was necessary and as a not yet out of the closet gay man, I feared I would never live an authentic life. I feared I would die before I could ever tell another man that I thought he was cute.

There is absolutely nothing easy or carefree about living with Crohn’s. It’s painful. I’m 33 and I still have accidents. I am on a very strict medication regimen, and there is not a decision I made that Crohn’s, and my health in general, does not directly influence. There are no days off for me or the other 1.6 million Americans living with IBD. This disease is harrowing, but I have managed and found joy in life and, after all of it, I wouldn’t change anything.

I’m often asked why I wouldn’t change life with something so debilitating as Crohn’s disease. And, for me, Crohn’s has caused issues with my skin, kidneys, joints, and, as new research suggests, probably doesn’t help my depression. It’s because living with Crohn’s has taught me so much about my own will to survive and my abilities to rise up against all odds.

I’m strong. I’m resilient. I’m capable. I do not know if I would be the strong, witty, and humble person I am today without this disease.

Via CCFA – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America

 

Tyler, an IBD fighter, member of NCCL

My IBD is something I have constantly tried to keep on the “back burner,” to not focus on it and live my life without any limitations. For years this worked just fine until recently, when complications arose just days before the start of the fall semester.After undergoing several tests and surgery, I was faced with the difficult decision of whether I could return to school for the semester or to take off. 

My body and my mind started on opposing sides, as my mind was set on returning to school but my body was not ready to do so. After much contemplation, they came around to agree on a simultaneous decision to take the semester off. Despite it not being the decision I hoped for, placing my health as a priority was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

After all, if we don’t have our health, what do we have?

I think this is an important point that is easily overlooked in the younger generation. We are on the timeline of school, a career, the future, etc. that our health can easily be left on the “back burner” when it shouldn’t be. Everything going on in life can wait. Take the time for your health when needed. Regardless of what IBD puts on hold in your life, you will always bounce back and one up the disease.

Via CCFA Campus Connection

 

Lauren Zirfas, a Crohn’s patient from KansasLauren Zirfas

I was a healthy, happy child until the age of four.  I loved to ride my bike, swim, sing, but most of all I loved to dance.  Then things changed.  I was constantly tired, had severe anxiety, always complained of a tummy ache, my skin was very pale with huge, dark circles under my eyes, I used the bathroom A LOT, and I had quit growing.  During the next few years I had every blood test possible, yet nothing showed up.

When I started school, I was so tired that I could barely make it through the day.  I would come home and go straight to my room to take a nap.  My mom and dad woke me up to go to dance class, eat supper, or wherever we had to be. Once, I fell asleep at the table in my plate, like a baby does; and another time, I fell down the stairs because I was so exhausted.  I couldn’t keep up with my brother, Conner, or my friends at the swimming pool.  After 30 minutes at the pool, I would ask my mom if we could go home.  I even asked my parents if I could quit dance class because I just couldn’t stand two hours of dancing after a whole day at school, and dance was my life!  My mom and dad were very worried because a normal kid doesn’t act like that.  I am the youngest of five, so they should know.

Finally in March of 2015, I was referred to Dr. Hattar.  She had me limit the amount of dairy products that I ate each day and took away cow’s milk, but my symptoms didn’t go away.  On May 4,2015, I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy so Dr. Hattar could look inside of me.  That was the day I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, just two weeks after I turned eight years old.

I began receiving the Remicade Infusion ten days later on May 14, 2015; and have been receiving them every six to eight weeks since.  My family has had to make a few changes at home since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, but it hasn’t been too bad. Now I am able to keep up with my brother and my friends. In the past year, I tried out for Ballet Wichita’s The Nutcracker and danced as a mouse, cheered for my brother’s football team, played basketball and softball, and enjoyed my true love of dancing by training/going to class every week and dancing whenever my feet hit the floor.  I am now growing like a normal, nine year old kid should, thanks to Dr. Hattar.

One day, I hope there is a cure for Crohns Disease so that kids like me don’t have to go to the doctor for an infusion.  That is why I am walking for a cure and I am happy to share my story with everyone.

Via Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America – Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter

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Three simple moves to improve digestion

We all know that exercise helps with a lot of things: circulation, weight management, mood. But exercise also helps with digestion.

According to WebMD, exercise “helps to stimulate the natural contraction of intestinal muscles. Intestinal muscles that contract efficiently help move stools out quickly.” So when you move, your guts move, which helps keep everything regular.

But since it’s not always easy to get moving, we came up with three simple moves you can do just about anywhere that’ll still have a positive impact on your tummy.

Breathe

nadi-shodhana-how-to-practice-alternate-nostril-breathingIt sounds simple, but breathing with intent can make a big difference in your digestive health. Take a few moments to sit up straight, and breathe slowly in and out, all the way to the top of your breath.

“Studies have…shown that breathing exercises that strengthen the diaphragm muscles may prevent reflux,” says gastroenterologist Ian Harnik, MD, to Everyday Health.

You can work your breathing into your regular schedule. If you set an alarm throughout the day to drink water or go for a walk, set aside two or three minutes for deep breathing. Or after you finish your lunch, take five deep breaths before heading back to work.

Spinal Twist

yoga_reclining_spinal_twist-20110214-214137This classic yoga pose is really easy on your joints while being great for your gut. And, you do it while laying down (we love that kind of exercise!).

You put your knees to one side while turning your head the opposite way. That twists and stretches your intestines, which can help get things moving.

Health.com explains:

Lie down, hug your knees and inhale. As you exhale, drop your knees to the left, using your left hand to push them down gently. Then, turn your head and stretch your arm out to the right. Stay for five to ten breaths. Inhale, and return your hands and knees to center. Repeat on the other side.

Take a Walk

550063581f2f5-office-workout-walking-s3One of the best ways to help your food digest is to go for a walk after you eat. Nothing crazy or strenuous, just ten to 20 minutes of moving can keep your meal moving the way it should. A walk after your meal can also help improve your blood sugar.

“Researchers say that a post-meal stroll helps clear glucose from the bloodstream in part because more of it is taken up by the muscles,” says the New York Times.

Good digestion and lower blood sugar sounds like a win-win to us.

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Our favorite recipes that are good for your gut

Yummy recipes can also be good for your digestion.

Food that’s good for your gut can be tasty and fulfilling.

We’ve discovered a lot of great recipes over the years. But our favorites have always been the easiest to make with the simplest ingredients that are good for your gut. We went back into our recipe archives to find the best from our collection for the summer.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roast squash, apples and onions until they’re sweet and tender. Then mix them with chicken stock and curry and blend to get a smooth and chunky, super healthy soup.

This calls for a food mill, but a food processor or blender works just the same. It also calls for homemade chicken stock, but the canned or boxed stuff works just as well.

For the toppings, you can use scallions, cashews, flaked coconut and even diced banana. All of these bump up the nutritional value and the flavor.

Here are the ingredients.

For the Soup:
3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 yellow onions
2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

For the Condiments:
Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally
Flaked sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
Roasted salted cashews, toasted and chopped
Diced banana

Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic

This stir fry is really versatile, so you can use any type of sturdy, leafy green. Kale and chard hold up well when sauteed, and spinach would wilt nicely as well.

Here are the ingredients.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 cups chopped fresh bok choy
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper

Roasted Broccoli

This cruciferous veggie has a pungent smell but even more potent digestive benefits. The high fiber and vitamin C content also works as an immune system helper.

Try Ina Garten’s famous parmesan-roasted broccoli for a wonderful cold-weather dish.

Here are the ingredients.

  • 4-5 pounds of broccoli (about 8 cups of florets)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp of pine nuts, toasted
  • ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped basil (about 12 leaves)
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Pears

You can put pears in just about anything, from sweet treats to savory appetizers. We liked this recipe for prosciutto-wrapped pork with sweet potatoes and pears from Real Simple. You get a double dose of digestive help from the sweet potatoes, and this is a complete meal in one pan.

Here are the ingredients.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut lengthwise into wedges
  • 2 firm red Bartlett pears, cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 piece pork tenderloin (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 Tbsp honey
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Three simple ways to drink more water

Water is vital to digestion so we found some ways to make it easier to drink.

Water is vital to digestion so we found some ways to make it easier to drink.

Water is essential to digestion. Even if you eat enough fiber, without ample water, things won’t properly move through your digestive system.

But if you’re one of those people who finds it hard to sip all day, it can be a challenge to stay hydrated. So we compiled a list of a few simple ways you can get more water throughout your day.

Add some spice

When you cook, add some chili powder to your recipe, or garnish your meal with some red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce. When the heat builds, you’ll have the urge to drink more water.

Plus, spicy foods have other health benefits, such as weight loss, lower blood pressure and even cancer prevention.

Flavor it yourself

Lots of fruits and vegetables flavor water really nicely, and there are lots of great flavor combinations you can make. Tomato and basil; pineapple, mint and ginger; cucumber and strawberry; raspberry and orange. Pick your flavor combination, dice your produce into cubes or slices and drop them in. You can leave them overnight for extra flavor or plop as you go.

Set a reminder

Reminders are a very effective way to keep you on track. Set a time that makes sense for you with a goal for each moment. If you work on a computer, you can set reminders on your email to go off each hour, with a specific amount of water you’ll have to drink. It could be as little as 2 ounces just to keep you on track.

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Yummy summer foods great for digestion

Summertime foods are super fresh.

Summer is a great time to load up on fresh produce.

Summer is a great time of year for fresh fruits and vegetables. And the best part is that so many of them are good for your gut. We compiled a list of our favorite summer foods with some quick and easy ways to prepare them.

Blueberries

A friend of the tummy, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. They aid digestion, keep cholesterol down, and can lower your risk for heart disease. They’re also terrific on their own as a healthy dessert or afternoon snacks.

Here are some ideas to get blueberries on your table this summer.

  • Add some berries to just about any dish, like pasta or potato salad for a sweet and salty combo.
  • When you’re grilling out, mix blueberries with diced peaches or mangos to top your chicken or fish.

Zucchini

Hi in water content and fiber, this delightful green or yellow treat is also very versatile. Since the flavor is mild, these will absorb just about anything you put them with.

Try these out for zucchini goodness.

  • Make zucchini pasta and pair it with turkey meat sauce or grilled chicken. Better yet, throw some blueberries into the mix!
  • Slice them up with onions and saute them in a bit of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and any flavors you like: lemon, garlic, crushed red pepper, basil.

Watermelon

Perhaps the quintessential summertime fruit, this tasty delight is high in water content and loaded with health benefits. Plus, it’s delicious!

And now, a few watermelon-inspired ideas.

  • Cube your melon and add chunks of fresh feta with mint or basil. The salty feta and sweet watermelon are a delicious duo.
  • Blend some chunks of watermelon and pour them into ice cube trays. Then drop them in your water or treat them like a popsicle.
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Cheat sheet: Endoscopic Ultrasound

The digestive tract gets some help with endoscopic ultrasound.

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) combines technologies to get a complete view of the digestive tract.

An endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure where a doctor inserts a flexible scope into a patient’s hollow organ in order to take a look at the digestive tract. An ultrasound uses – get this – sound, to create an internal map. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is just what it sounds like: a combination of endoscopy and ultrasound.

Debra Deidrick, RN and clinical coordinator with Troy Gastroenterology, gave us a quick overview of EUS.

Endoscopic ultrasound “allows the physician to evaluate mucosal and submucosal lesions along with pancreatic lesions and lymph nodes,” says Deidrick. “Both the upper and lower GI tract can be inspected” with EUS.

Since the tracts can be more thoroughly inspected, doctors can look more closely at tumors, cancers, pancreatic disorders, rectal muscles and intestinal nodules, among other things.

Since EUS combines technologies, it gives a broader picture of the internal organs and digestive tract than other procedures.

To prep for an upper EUS, patients must stop eating after midnight the day of their procedure. For a lower EUS, an enema is needed to clear the rectum of any stool.

Some of the risks associated with endoscopic ultrasound are “perforation of the bowel, bleeding and/or infection,” says Deidrick. But with an experienced technician, these symptoms should be minimal and mild.

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All about ginger! Recipes for digestion

Ginger, the knobby and slightly mysterious root, is loaded with digestive benefits. According to

Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for indigestion and upset stomach.

Ginger can help digestion and soothe your upset stomach.

Everyday Health, “Ginger helps digestion by speeding up the process that moves food from the stomach into the upper small intestine.” It’s been used as a remedy for upset stomachs for years. And since it’s not a drug, a lot of doctors recommend it for pregnant women.

Ginger is known for its potent flavor. Slightly spicy, a bit sweet and packed with a refreshing bite, it lends itself to a lot of different recipes.

Here are a few easy ones to get your guts moving. Follow the links to find the instructions.

Ginger Carrot Soup

Ingredients
2 tablespoons sweet cream butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and white pepper
Sour cream
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

This recipe calls for heavy whipping cream, but you could cut back the calories by using a lighter milk. 

Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 cups chopped fresh bok choy
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper

This stir fry is really versatile, so you can use any type of sturdy, leafy green. Kale and chard hold up well when sauteed, and spinach would wilt nicely as well.

Carrot Ginger Dressing

For a lighter way to add some ginger to your menu, this dressing works great on salad but you can also add it to fish or chicken.

Ingredients
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Kosher salt

For an extra kick to this dressing, add some crushed shallots to the jar. Their flavor will permeate the dressing without overpowering it.

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