When people focus on eating healthier they forget about watching their condiments. It’s as if those tasty little sauces don’t count.
In reality, our favorite taste enhancers can be an unwanted source of sugar, excess salt, trans fats, dyes, chemicals, genetically engineered ingredients and calories. Most condiments are highly processed and have little nutritional value. So don’t let bad condiments wreck an otherwise healthy, well-balanced meal.
If you’ve read the label of a commercial condiment bottle, you’ve likely found an unpronounceable or unrecognizable list of ingredients.
If your goal is to clean up your diet, you don’t have to give up your favorite, flavorful sauces in the process. You can substitute for a cleaner, more natural or organic brand or better yet, you can make your own.
Don’t worry it’s not that difficult. Often do-it-yourself condiments are much tastier than store bought. You can choose higher quality ingredients and adjust to your taste buds. Once you start making your own, you’ll never want to go back to inferior, commercial brands, despite the convenience.
Here’s a list of the top ten condiments you should remove from your shelf for health reasons and replace with healthier versions. There’s even a few recipes below.
Let’s start with the easy replacements first.
Modern soy sauces may contain dangerous levels of chemicals known as chloropropanols, which are produced when soy sauce production is sped up using acid hydrolyation methods. Soy is also typically genetically modified and estrogenic. But it’s easy to replace. Try Coconut Secret’s raw coconut aminos made from aged coconut sap with 10 times the amino acids of soy. It’s a got a great flavor and is available at stores like Whole Foods or at online markets like Amazon.com.
Pancake syrup can be easily replaced with real maple syrup. Maple is a lower glycemic sweetener that tastes great and is all natural, as opposed to pancake syrup, which is made from 3 types of sugar syrup.
Agave nectar is a marketing scam. We have been convinced that agave is a healthier alternative to sugar or honey, but it’s not true. Agave nectar is highly processed, which strips it of its nutritional value. And it contains more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup, so people with high blood sugar should avoid it. Honey is natural and has many nutrients. It can be used to treat seasonal allergies. Honey, coconut nectar and black strap molasses are the healthiest sweeteners out there.
Light salad dressings should always be avoided, as should all light products, because they replace the fat with artificial sugar, real sugar, sugar preservatives and sodium. It’s best to purchase full-fat dressing with a few natural or organic ingredients or make your own salad dressing with oil, vinegar and spices.
The top selling dressing in the U.S. for the last 20 years is ranch dressing, but most commercial brands are loaded with trans fats and calories. A half-cup serving can add 600 calories to your meal. Greek yogurt, mixed with herbs, spices, a touch of vinegar and homemade mayo can make a delicious and healthy alternative to ranch dressing.
Sour cream is typically made from conventional dairy, which contains growth hormones and antibiotics. Dairy growth hormones, which have been banned in many industrial countries, are still allowed in the U.S. despite their link to breast cancer. Conventional sour cream can be easily substituted by grass-fed Greek yogurt, which also packs a probiotic punch.
Ketchup is probably the most popular condiment in America. But it’s also b. Here’s a healthy homemade alternative recipe for ketchup and other favorites like relish, mayo and BBQ sauce.
But remember, drowning your food with condiments is not a good idea whether they are natural or not. Studies show that super palatable condiments make people eat 25 to 50 percent more. So enjoy your healthy condiments in moderation.
Healthy Homemade Ketchup:
Makes: 1 cup (keeps about 1 week in the fridge)
• 1 (15 oz.) BPA-free can of organic, fire-roasted, no salt added diced tomatoes.
• 1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar.
• 1/8 tsp. pink sea salt.
• 1 soaked dried date, or fig.
• 1/8 tsp. paprika.
• Optional: dash of black pepper, or garlic powder.
1. First, drain your tomatoes. Draining will help keep your ketchup thick once it’s blended.
2. Add all the ingredients to a small food processor, or a blender made for small jobs. or add it to your high speed blender, and blend until completely smooth.
3. Store in a glass mason jar for one week in the fridge. Please, do not use plastic containers since they’ll not just stain, but your Kethcup can also soak up chemicals from the plastic during storage.
Healthy Homemade Relish Recipe:
• 4 cups finely chopped cucumbers.
• 2 cups finely chopped onions.
• 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped.
• 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped.
• 1/4 cup pickling or fine sea salt.
• 2 cups cider vinegar.
• 3 cups sugar.
• 1 tablespoon celery seeds.
• 1 tablespoon mustard seeds.
1. Combine the cucumbers, onions, and green and red bell peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and toss. Cover with cold water. Let stand for at least 2 hours. Drain well.
2. Combine the cider vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, and mustard seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Pack into clean hot half-pint canning jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and seal.
4. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not open for at least 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.
Healthy Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe:
• 4 egg yolks at room temperature.
• 1 TBSP lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
• 1 Tsp regular or Dijon mustard (or ½ tsp dried mustard)
• Salt and pepper.
• ⅔ cup olive oil.
• ⅔ cup coconut oil (warm.)
1. Put egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until smooth.
2. Add lemon juice or vinegar, mustard and spices and blend until mixed.
3. SLOWLY add oil while blending or whisking at low speed, starting with olive oil. Start with a drop at a time until it starts to mix and then keep adding slowly until all oil is incorporated.
4. Store in fridge up to 1 week.
Healthy All-American BBQ Sauce:
• 3/4 cup ketchup
• 3/4 cup beer, preferably porter
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
1. Combine all ingredients except the hot sauce in a heavy medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in hot sauce.
If you want to clean up your diet before starting on any healthy regimen, consider our 21DayBody Makeover Program to get a kick start on your health.