“Real Food” Condiments: Do They Exist?

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I get a lot of questions about condiments. And surprisingly enough, condiments were one of the things I missed the most during our “100 Days of Real Food” pledge. They are like the little things you don’t pay much attention to until they’re suddenly gone. So in an effort to answer everyone’s questions in one spot, including what’s real and what’s not and what we use now that our pledge is over, here’s the deal….


  • First of all, just about all store-bought mayo’s are made with refined oils (like canola oil) even if it says something catchy on the front like “made with olive oil.” Just read the ingredients and you’ll see what I am talking about. And regardless of the oils that are used there are no easy-to-find brands (to my knowledge) that contain 5 or less ingredients, which was one of our real food pledge rules.
  • Secondly, you can certainly make homemade mayonnaise yourself, but I am going to tell you right now that it won’t be the same fluffy white stuff you buy from the store. I’ve decided that homemade mayo and store-bought mayo are just two completely different products and – right or wrong – I like and prefer the white fluffy stuff.

What’s the solution?

  • You can try to make homemade mayo using unrefined oils and pastured eggs, but most recipes call for raw eggs. I am still on the fence about giving uncooked eggs to my kids so after a few different “cooked egg” mayonnaise failures I honestly just gave up on it. So during our 100-day pledge we basically abstained from mayonnaise all together…gasp!
  • Some people successfully substitute plain Greek yogurt for mayo in recipes like egg salad and chicken salad, but I am just being honest here…I’ve tried it and I am not sold on the idea.
  • Now that our strict 100-day pledge is over we just buy a minimally processed (meaning: small number of ingredients) organic mayonnaise from the store. Yes, it’s the organic Spectrum brand that says “made with olive oil” even though I know it also contains highly refined canola oil, but occasionally convenience wins around here. With that being said we use the store-bought stuff in great moderation (probably only once a month in dishes like egg salad).


  • There is no such thing as “ketchup” without added sweeteners…that’s unfortunately (fortunately?) just what ketchup is.
  • There seem to be all sorts of ketchup options these days – both organic and conventional – that are sweetened with everything from high-fructose corn syrup to sugar to agave nectar. First of all, we don’t use agave (more on that another day), but secondly just because the added sweetener appears to be less refined than white sugar please remember that “added sugar is added sugar” and all should be consumed in moderation. And just because we like to use honey and maple syrup (since they are minimally processed and contain trace nutrients) that unfortunately doesn’t give us the green light to turn up the bottle. Bottom line: Sugar is sugar and too much of it is a bad thing.

What’s the solution?

  • Clearly you can simply reduce your consumption of ketchup. I know some parents say their kids love to dip anything and everything in ketchup so if that’s the case I would recommend introducing some new and different “real food” dips like hummus, homemade ranch, or even organic low-sodium soy sauce. Just remember even though this condiment may seem innocent ketchup is basically 2 parts tomato/spices and 1 part sugar. That means for every tablespoon of ketchup you eat you are consuming one teaspoon of sugar (yikes!).
  • During our 100-day pledge we tried making homemade ketchup with honey (because honey was one of our “allowed” sweeteners), but frankly the end result wasn’t all that great. So now we just buy store-bought organic ketchup made with sugar, and just like I mentioned above with the mayo, we use it in great moderation (probably about once or twice a month).

Barbeque Sauce

  • I hate to break it to you, but just like ketchup pretty much all tomato based BBQ sauces contain added sweeteners. And even if you make your own homemade BBQ sauce, which I highly recommend over the store-bought stuff, most call for ketchup as an ingredient.

What’s the solution?

  • I may sound like a broken record, but due to the added sweetener issue (see ketchup explanation above) it’s best to simply reduce your overall consumption of BBQ sauce.
  • We didn’t have BBQ sauce at all during our 100-day pledge, but I think if I tried hard enough I could probably come up with a pretty decent honey version that doesn’t contain refined sugar. I was never so creative during our pledge though so once we had BBQ sauce again after not having it for so long – I am not gonna lie – it was awesome.


  • After all that bad news here is the good news…there are actually quite a few “real food” store-bought mustards out there! Several organic yellow and Dijon mustard brands simply contain vinegar, mustard seed, and spices, which is all pretty innocent stuff.


Please feel free to share your “real food” condiment tips and recipes in the comments below!

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230 comments to “Real Food” Condiments: Do They Exist?

  • Tahnee

    Have you tried Vegenaise/NO SOY brand? It’s vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, soy free and NON_GMO and made with expeller-pressed high-oleic safflower oil, filtered water, brown rice syrup, apple cider, pea protein, sea salt, mustard flour, lemon juice concentrate. You get it in the refrigerated section of health food or healthy section grocery stores. It is really pretty good. Similar to Best Foods/Hellmans. They have a few different formulations such as Grapeseed and regular mayo (contains soy and canola I think.) Give it a try!! :)

  • Erin

    Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for homemade ketchup. More than 5 ingredients- a bunch of different veggies, some herbs and spices and a small amount of brown sugar. Totally worth the effort and the recipe makes plenty. Great for gifting!

  • […] found called for raw egg, which I am on the fence about eating. So as a result, we now just buy the best option I can find and use it sparingly. Answer: […]

  • Becca

    HI Lisa,
    I was at Costco the other day and I came across a mayo called Just Mayo by Hampton Creek Foods. They are based out of San Fran. The mayo does not contain raw eggs. The taste is surprisingly good.
    I was wondering if you have heard of it?

    Just Mayo:

    Serving Size 1 Tablespoon (14g)
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 90 Calories from Fat 90
    % Daily Value
    Total Fat 10g 15%
    Saturated Fat 1g 5%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Cholesterol 0mg 0%
    Sodium 80mg 3%
    Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
    Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
    Sugars 0g
    Protein 0g
    Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
    Calcium 0% Iron 0%
    INGREDIENTS: Non-GMO Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Filtered Water, Lemon Juice, White Vinegar, 2% or less of the following: Organic Sugar, Salt, Pea Protein, Spices, Modified Food Starch, Beta-Carotene.

  • […] on yet another quest to replace mayonnaise in a classic recipe. As I’ve explained before, store bought mayo isn’t exactly real food (and making mayo from scratch isn’t exactly my cup of tea). […]

  • Christina

    You might be interested in a method of making mayonnaise in only 10 seconds. I was amazed! http://www.weedemandreap.com/10-second-amazing-homemade-mayonnaise/

  • Becca

    I found a mayo recipe from Nom Nom Paleo cookbook. I gave it a try and it was very yummy. One egg yolk, lemon juice, avocado oil, and salt. Super quick to make. The texture is smooth and creamy. SInce there are no preservatives it will last a week in the fridge. I will never buy store bought mayo again.

  • Courtney

    I was wondering about soy sauce, which some of your recipes call for. Wheat is one of the main ingredients, unless you buy the gluten-free type that is made with rice. Neither version lists the wheat/rice as 100% whole grain. Are these acceptable real foods?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Courtney. Lisa typically buys SanJ Organic Tamari soy sauce. Here are the ingredients: Water, Soybeans, Salt, Alcohol. ~Amy

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