Monday, August 23, 2010

Condiments: Illusory Foods not so Innocent

How Long Should I Hold the Mayo?

Would you sacrifice quality of life to defend your right to dollop hollandaise over asparagus or to asphyxiate crisp, steamed broccoli with molten cheddar cheese sauce? Since ancient times, Chefs created sauces and condiments to display their talents. Once a savvy chef presented me with a point to ponder, “Why would anyone wish to disguise the true taste of perfectly cooked food?”

When Sandi and I converted to the green side, it required condiments on vegetables to make them appetizing. Eventually, we learned to dig the clean, fresh taste and texture of produce in its God-given state. If you’re the boss of your health destiny, then you know at home or away, condiments present a dietary challenge. Everyone’s favorite is mayonnaise composed of a fatty emulsion of oil, raw egg, vinegar, and spices. For me, switching to mustard was a huge health-plus. Commercial condiments explode with sugars, wheat gluten, phantom calories, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and trans fats directly connected to heart disease, diabetes and obesity

Ever-present condiments are illusory foods which innocently appear as insignificant addendums to any meal, but realistically, they’re subtle delivery systems for massive amounts of calories to sneak into the temple. The word "sauce" is French meaning a relish to make food appetizing. Gravy, the grand-daddy artery-clogger of all, is generally derived from greasy pan renderings and supposedly makes foods look, smell, and taste better. Before the advent of refrigerators and preservatives, as a necessity, sauces and condiments were created to cover up the smell of rotting meat. Today we still see this practiced in grocery meat and fish counter ‘Petri dishes’ brimming with colorfully decorated, albeit aging raw fish, chicken and kebobs with alluring monikers. They take this economic risky measure to rid their inventory of ‘old’ meats.
Don’t insult a verdant salad with goopy bottled salad dressings burdened with less-than-ideal ingredients. Select vinegar or lemon juice, and EVOO. I recently praised my plump lunch companion’s choice of salad bar; however, I was astonished watching her decant a cup of blue cheese dressing onto the crisp, nurturing greens. (The ‘broccoli and cheese sauce’ syndrome). To flourish, you don’t need sauces compromising your health, such as Alfredo Sauce, sugary ketchup, BBQ sauce, mysterious sandwich spreads, chicken nugget dipping sauces, or flavored coffee creamers.

Like placing kerosene into a gas tank, you can only dupe the Temple so long. By existing on un-holy, factory foods, you put the pedal to the metal on the aging process and destabilize your birthright of good health. Give serious thought to returning to nature, and then begin to prepare your own ‘scratch’ food. If your home-made foods need condiments, perhaps you should consider a cooking class. As a family learn to enjoy the real flavor and texture of foods in their God-given state.


• Top baked potatoes with plain low-fat yogurt, low-fat sour cream, or salsa

• How about a crowning a baked sweet potato with Smart Balance and a drizzle of real maple syrup, not Aunt Jemima which is pure HFCS.

• Hot sauce can be added to a variety of food providing big flavor.

• Honey is an excellent alternative to sugar

• Soy sauce is associated with Asian cooking but can be used in everything from Mexican fare to traditional French.

• Salsa is an excellent alternative to crappy nacho cheese.

• Hummus is a delighful veggie dip

• Avoid foods named au gratin, Alfredo, gravy, creamed, or sauced

• Make scratch salad dressings. Regular salad dressing is expensive and has about 120 calories per tablespoons.

• Use flavored mustard or yogurt-based dips for chicken strips.

• Try Meijer’s Organic Peanut butter

• Have low-fat cottage cheese with a drizzle of honey, sprinkle of ground flax or chia seeds, and cut-up seasonal fruit.

• And finally, try a Honeymoon Salad: Lettuce alone with no dressing, but I really, really, digress.

1 comment: said...

Americans seem to want to dunk everything in ranch dressing or sour cream. Something bottled, something processed, something well, gross. More children as well as adults would enjoy foods if they would eat them fresh without all the butter and dips. Food is really, really good. And good food shouldn't need something smothering it to make it better. Great article.