Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe – MSG and High Fructose Corn Syrup FREE

Olive Garden Salad dressing

If you have been to the Olive Garden restaurant then you know how yummy their Italian salad dressing is. If not, you need to try it.  The dressing is available in most stores, but have you checked out the ingredients? It’s not too bad, but if you are trying to AVOID high fructose corn syrup or MSG, and you would like it to have better quality oil, then this recipe is for you! It tastes spot on delicious without all the yucky stuff added.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

What is so bad about High Fructose Corn Syrup anyway?

Dr. Mark Hyman stated in an article from the Huffington Post why you should NEVER consume High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

“In America today, we are eating huge doses of sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. It is sweeter and cheaper than regular sugar and is in every processed food and sugar-sweetened drink. Purging it from your diet is the single best thing you can do for your health!”

In this post from Dr. Axe, he gives some interesting information.

9 dangers of eating High Fructose Corn Syrup

1.     Weight gain

2.     Cancer

3.     Fatty liver & liver stress

4.     Increased cholesterol levels

5.     Diabetes

6.     High blood pressure

7.     Heart disease

8.     Leaky gut

9.     Increased mercury intake

What are your options for alternatives?

One of my favorite mentors on health and nutrition is Robyn Openshaw. I have been following her for many, many years and she hasn’t ever steered me wrong. She now has a podcast that I am going HIGHLY recommend you start following! In podcast #10 Robyn goes over the good, the bad and the ugly of sugar. Not only does she talk about how bad the stuff is for us, she gives some great ideas of what to use to sweeten our foods. Love it, and love her!

What is the deal with MSG?

MSG, monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer added to thousands of the foods you and your family regularly eat, especially if you are like most Americans and eat the majority of your food as processed foods or in restaurants. It is highly addictive and makes food taste better.

Most people DON’T know that MSG has been linked to brain damage, tumors, and lesions, nervous system and endocrine problems. You can see many studies (144 at last count) at pubmed.com on how rats have been injected with MSG to make them obese for studying diabetes.

Dr. Mercola in his opening statement from a post on his website said,

”A widespread and silent killer that’s worse for your health than alcohol, nicotine and many drugs is likely lurking in your kitchen cabinets right now.”

He is referring to MSG.

I don’t like to cause alarm and bring FEAR into eating, however, I do feel driven to share some of these things that I have learned with you. In our home, we have been trying to clean up our eating habits for many years. We have done it a little at a time and and most of it seems like second nature now. We read labels, we avoid high fructose corn syrup, we haven’t drank milk for over 7 years, and we avoid things with MSG like the plaque. It is a process that you go through a little at a time, once you become aware of what is good and what isn’t.

Make adjustments a little at a time

I know it may not seem like a big deal, because EVERYONE is eating this stuff. You may also be thinking that you can’t avoid it, but you CAN and you NEED to. Start reading labels and be brave enough to just put it back on the shelf if it has these substances in it. It is NOT worth it! Doesn’t it always go back to eating as many WHOLE FOODS as possible? Easier said than done, I know. Do the best you can, enjoy food, enjoy eating it.

Enough of that stuff. Let’s get back to information on how to make a yummy salad dressing that you won’t have to stress over.

This is what you need

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Italian Dressing Mix I make my own using this awesome recipe, or you can use one Italian Season packets that come in the store. However, make sure there are no nasty ingredients in there.
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil, or avocado oil can be used
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ Tablespoon mayonnaise
Olive Garden Salad Dressing

This is what you do

  • Simply add all the ingredients to a glass jar and shake. I love these plastic lids. These lids come in handy for so many things. You can get them here.
Olive Garden Salad Dressing
  • The dressing will settle and separate, as no emulsifiers have been added (this is a good thing!)
  • Give it a good shake when you are ready to use it.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe – MSG and High Fructose Corn Syrup FREE

Olive Garden Salad dressing

This is a spot on Olive Garden Salad dressing without the MSG and High fructose corn syrup. 

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Total Time5 min
  • Course
    • Dressing


    • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Italian Dressing Mix I make my own using this awesome recipe, or you can use one Italian Season packets that come in the store. However, make sure there are no nasty ingredients in there.
    • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
    • ¾ cup olive oil, or avocado oil can be used
    • ¼ cup water
    • ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ Tablespoon mayonnaise



Simply add all the ingredients to a glass jar and shake.


So there you have it! Wasn’t that simple?

See, eating healthy doesn’t have to be HARD  or complicated. I hope this gives you a resource for a yummy, healthy dressing.

Enjoy preparing, and eating a yummy salad!





Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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26 Day Detox: Food Elimination

The first phase of the detox is food elimination. This is what we will be eating for the next FOUR days. Beautiful isn’t it.  I don’t think I have ever purchased so many veggies. Fitting them in my fridge was interesting. Too bad the garden isn’t producing quite yet.

I forgot to mention on the last post what the benefits of this detox are supposed to be.

  • Mental Clarity
  • Increased Energy
  • Weight Loss
  • Improved Digestion
  • Boosted Immunity
  • Craving Elimination
  • Toxin Removal

From what I know about Robyn Openshaw is that she does her homework. She researches stuff like crazy and shares what she finds out. I wouldn’t just trust 26 of my days doing something so radical with just anyone. This detox program has 4 phases to it.

Food elimination

I am in the middle of my second day of FOOD ELIMINATION.

Here is what we have eaten for two days and will continue to eat for 2 more days.



Food elimination

Oatmeal with a little cinnamon, and a GREEN smoothie is what we have for breakfast. The smoothie is just greens, water, lemon juice and protein powder. It’s not bad and kept me sustained until lunch.


Food elimination

For lunch we have a baked potato with a little green onion and drizzle of olive oil. A salad made with cut up tomatoes, cucumber, and sliced onion. Hippo soup, which is a combination of veggies that are boiled and pureed. We found that it was better eaten mixed in with the salad. Not bad at all.  Oh the potato tasted so good, even without any salt.

It’s interesting how we think we need the cheese, butter, salt and other unnecessary stuff. Ya, it taste good, but we don’t NEED it. I would love something salty and crunchy right now.

Food elimination

Our yummy lunch together. My husband is such a good sport. Wasn’t sure he was going to want to join me on this endeavor, but he is. My kids are doing great so far, even with their long hour jobs, They take their smoothies and everything. Sam did eat something different for lunch today. He is a welder and started feeling a little weak. It didn’t help that they guys went out for lunch at FIREHOUSE. (His favorite). Really, though I think he needs to eat a little more with such a physical taxing job. But was back on schedule for dinner tonight.

Allie even passed up her favorite grilled cheese at Warren’s yesterday when everyone else went out for lunch. It’s fun. We group text each other with our cravings and thoughts. Allie was sending pictures of fries and saying how she was imagining the cold baked potato she was eating was fries. It’s so nice to be doing this together.


The snack is a cup of steamed broccoli. Yum, Yum? Not sure I call that a snack, but it did fill me up. We can also put 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds in water and drink it. I did that as a snack after dinner, and helped with the snaky cravings.


For dinner it was cucumber salad again and green smoothie. I added a little apple cider vinegar on the salad to give it a little twist. Not bad, but I will admit some crunchy croutons would have been nice. I skipped the green smoothie and will have a little Hippo soup with my evening does of hydocortisone. Not supposed to have any food after dinner, but I can’t have this med without food.

It was recommended to prepare and cook the food the night before, to not be so stressful. So I baked the potatoes in my Instant Pot, and cooked the soup in a big kettle. (I needed to make enough for 4 people).  Cut up veggies for the salad and juiced about 14 lemons. I used the Instant Pot again to steam the broccoli. This was enough for two days. Everyone makes their own smoothies.

As far as “healing crisis” symptoms go, every night I have had a pretty intense headache and feel quite tired in the afternoon. Tonight my head almost feels like I have a fever. Head feels hot inside.

The cool thing is……. my husband has already lost 3 lbs. Hope that doesn’t continue at that rate, he doesn’t have that much to lose.  I on the other hand have lost 1 lb. Not bad.

Another great thing about this is that I don’t have to decide what we are having for dinner.

Well, my head is really starting to hurt so I am going to go outside and get some fresh air and another drink of water, maybe even soak my feet in a some Epson salts and a little lavender oil.

Good Night!


26 Day Detox: My REAL Experience

I am embarking on a 26 day detox and I thought I would take you along for the ride. Instead of just giving you the technical details of what I will be eating and NOT eating for 21 days, I am going to be a little vulnerable here and share some REAL stuff.  I am not doing this cleanse just to rid my body of toxins and some weight, I am READY to clean house emotionally as well. Now I have tried several cleanses and elimination diets in the past, and with the things that I experience with my body, I have had to stop or not do them full out. Quite discouraging.

Just a little background, I was diagnosed with ITP (an autoimmune disease where your own immune system kills your platelets), 20 years ago and diagnosed two years ago with Lupus. I have gone the alternative route as much as possible, but am still required to be on medication to back off the immune system and now to lower blood pressure. I have been taking hydrocortisone in high doses for over 18 years, which keeps my platelet count stable but no where near normal. I I still have my spleen, thank goodness, as splenectomy is pretty much a standard procedure for those with the disease. I never felt right about it. Anyway, I have spent many years searching and trying all kinds of alternative modalities and have learned a ton. I still experience low platelets and a several other symptoms that I would LOVE to be free of.

Recently my blood pressure has been quite elevated to the point that I need to be on medication again. DANG! I know a majority of all this is due to emotional stuff, so I continue to process and release emotional stuff. You can read a little bit more about my journey with that here. After trying so many things like herbs, supplements, diet, even medications, I did not start to get well until I started doing emotional and energy work. So doing this detox is not only to rid my body of toxins, which I am sure I am loaded with after taking steroids for so long, I am excited to, hopefully, let go of some emotional issues as well. I am sure it is going to push some buttons, but I am so done with feeling like crap and READY to do something about it.

The detox I am doing is a 26 day detox through the GREEN SMOOTHIE GIRL. She has offered cleanses like this before where you sign up, opt in for on-line support if you want, and do it. I have never felt compelled to do it before, but I am now.  Her name is Robyn Openshaw and she is quite amazing and so full of knowledge. She hasn’t steered me wrong so far. I found her many years ago when I was searching the web on how to sprout seeds. I became fascinated with the smoothie thing, bought a blender and the rest is history.

So here I am, signed up and ready to roll. I am quite nervous about it and have some fears as to how my body will respond, but feel confident and trust that good things will come of it. I even have the o.k. from my nurse practitioner and had some blood work done the day before I started to make sure all is well and to give me a base line of where I am at. I am going to list the symptoms I am experiencing now to give you a little glimpse of where I am at and to help me remember how I USED TO FEEL. So many times when we get better and heal, we forget how we used to feel. There have been many times over the years when I start feeling discouraged and overwhelmed with not feeling good, and my husband will kindly bring to my attention how much worse I USED TO BE. It helps bring things into perspective and gives me hope. 

So, here is the list.

  • low platelets – hover around 30,000 (normal is 150,000-250,000)
  • acid reflux
  • stiff and achy feet in the morning
  • joint stiffness and aches
  • sacroiliac joint pain
  • low back pain
  • mildly swollen hands, face & feet
  • brain fog and sick head feeling
  • depression
  • easily angered
  • belly fat and 15-20 lbs overweight (bigger than I have ever been, except while pregnant)
  • abdominal fullness
  • bruising
  • hypertension (lately averaging around 145/98-160/110) I know crazy Hugh even with medication. It just all of a sudden will get elevated and then go down for a time. Sometimes after doing emotional release work or meditations, it will go down to normal. But the next day will be elevated again. Another strange thing is that when I roll on my right side, it goes down to normal. Strange stuff.
  • sinus congestion
  • fatigue
  • liver spots on face and arms
  • neck and shoulder tension
  • sore stomach in the mornings

It is going to be fun to see how many of these symptoms DISAPPEAR. Hopefully a lot of them.

Two of my kids and even my husband are on board and are going to do it with me. How cool is that? I am excited because we can help support each other. This is not going to be a walk in the park.

I love on one of Robyn’s support emails she quoted,

“Success is on the other side of your comfort zone” –Orrin Woodward

This will definitely be out of my comfort zone, but I am ready for change and SUCCESS!

My hope in sharing this 26 day journey, is to hopefully help someone else out who may be dealing with similar things, and to add a little more commitment on my part. So for 26 days I will be sharing with you this experience. If you have opted in to follow me and are not interested in the journey, I totally understand, and hope you will join me again. I still hope to squeeze in some other interesting posts that may suit you more.

If you have questions or want to chat, comment below or send a more personal note to jannihowell@youmakeitsimple.com

Here we go,