“Real Food” Condiments: Do They Exist?

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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258 thoughts on ““Real Food” Condiments: Do They Exist?”

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  1. Happy to hear the report on dijion mustard, my favorite condiment. Personally I’ve been grossed out by store mayo and ketchup since grade school so no big lose!

  2. I did not go through all the comments so I am probably repeating, but- We make our own ketchup and mustard in our house- it is soooooo easy. and although we have to have 5 lb bags of mustard seed in the basement (bought from Amazon.com) its nice to know that I control what’s in it. As far as mayo- I do you yogurt to make tuna fish, chicken salad, etc. the trick is to put a little olive oil in it, just to add that little bit of fat it needs to stick. And frankly who needs BBQ when you have homemade ketchup and local honey. ;)

    1. Claire:

      Could you post a link or a recipe of how you make your homemade ketchup and mustard.

      And thank you for the tip on olive oil with greek yogurt.


      1. I just take Pomi tomatoes in a shallow pan, add vinegar (your choice depending on what flavor you like- white is the basic, but you can do cider, etc) and whatever you like for sweetener (honey, raw sugar, etc) then reduce on a low simmer takes about 1/2 hour. Salt to taste.

        As far as the mustard goes we buy yellow powder, black seed and yellow seed- we got this from amazon, they are organic and inexpensive. Basically we grind the seed in a coffee grinder, then add room temperature water and white vinegar (this is really the best for mustard) this will give you the basic mustard. If you use hot water you will get a milder mustard, but if you use cold you will get spicy (yum!) also keep adding liquid the seeds will suck it up. Salt pepper to taste.

        Also my husband said its also easy to make mayo- oil, egg, and lemon juice- whip. But again have to except that it is basically pure fat. At least it has no preservatives! (aside for the lemons)

  3. I have used avocado instead of mayo in lots of different “salads” like egg salad. It’s kind of weird to some people, but it is a good creamy substitute when you can’t do the mayo. It’s also bland enough by itself that the egg and salt are what you are really tasting. :)

  4. Hi! I am looking to find a soy sauce that would be appropriate in the real food world. We have a Whole Foods in my area and I’m thinking that I can find the most appropriate there. Any brand recommendations? Should I still be sticking to a 5 ingredient rule? Is that even possible?

  5. And the vegenaise is non HMO certified-ingredients are-(vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-gmo)
    Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Filtered Water, Brown Rice Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Soy Protein, Sea Salt, Mustard Flour, Lemon Juice Concentrate.

  6. I’m sorry to hear you not used to real mayonase flavour and I can only think that you haven’t been brought up with its tasty rich natural flavour.

    Beeing original from the mediterranean homemade mayo is delicious, and its variant ali-oli (a sort of garlic mayo) can make you kill for it. Some of the most delicious fish rices have it as a side dish to scoop on the rice (i.e. “arroz a banda”) and it’s dificult to stop on it :)

    Ive been doying mayo at home since I was a kid and never heard of any problems there. You do the right quantity, use it, bin the rleft over after the meal, and its as safe as any other food. Of course if you store it for a time you are asking for trouble.

    recipies are by the dozen on the web, i just wanted to speak in favour to a delicious natural dressing in the great mediterranean cuisine.

    tx for your web and your work

  7. Tofu makes a really cream “mayo” you can add what ever spices you like to make it taste better too.

    1 cup silken tofu
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
    Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

  8. We make our own Ketchup at home using:
    6 oz Canned Tomato Paste (I use homemade, but store bought works too)
    1/4 Cup Honey (Once you get used to it, you can cut this down to less)
    1/2 Cup White Vinegar
    3/4 Teaspoon Salt
    1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
    1/8 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

    Mix it all together and serve (I like to let mine med together over night in the fridge)

  9. I have been making my own barbeque sauce for years & the three main ingredients are tomato paste, honey & vinegar … I am not one to follow a recipe so I add whatever is in the house or strikes my fancy that day but making barbeque sauce from scratch is very easy & easily fits into the real food rule … I can my own tomato paste so qualifies as real food & I also have 5 recipes sitting in front of me right now that start with regular tomatoes not paste


      1. Barbecue Sauce

        Makes 3 pint jars (I freeze it but could be canned.)

        20 cups tomatoes: chopped, cored & peeled
        2 cups onions: finely chopped
        3 cloves garlic: finely chopped
        1 T hot pepper flakes (or 1 serrano, finely chopped)
        1 T celery seeds
        1 1/2 cups honey
        1 cup white vinegar
        1/3 cup lemon juice
        2 T salt
        1 1/2 T ground mace (or nutmeg)
        1 T dry mustard
        1 tsp ground ginger
        1 tsp ground cinnamon

        T = Tablespoon & tsp = Teaspoon

        1) In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, hat pepper flakes & celery seeds. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover & boil gently until vegetables soften, about 30 minutes.
        2) Working in batches, press mixture through a large-hole sieve or food mill or coarsely puree in a food processor. Discard any seeds that remain.
        3) Return mixture to a saucepan & boil, stirring occasionally, until cooked down by one-quarter. Add honey, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, mace, mustard, ginger & cinnamon. Return to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat & boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 30 minutes.
        4) Ladle into jars & can OR into jars & freeze.

        This is the barbecue sauce I make when I am freezer cooking … thus not time constrained.


      2. If I have no barbecue sauce in the freezer, I throw the following combination in my crockpot with beef, pork OR chicken.

        Tomato Paste (~1/2 cup)
        1 med Onion (finely chopped)
        1 Jalapeno (finely chopped)
        Garlic (several cloves finely chopped)
        Equal parts Vinegar & Honey (I prefer apple cider vinegar)
        Salt & Pepper to taste

        Obviously, you could also add mustard, nutmeg, celery seed into the mix also … this one is really whatever you prefer & have on hand.

        I then stir it well, add the meat & let it cook on low most of the day … stirring a few times & adding additional tomato paste, vinegar or honey until the consistency is what I like.

        Sorry that this recipe is not as pretty as the one above =(


  10. Just yesterday I went to the health food store looking for mayo. The 1st jar I looked at was the one you have pictured here and going by what you always say”look at the ingredients” I looked and was so mad when I found out the 1st ingredient was canola or soy oil. I hope you never get tired of keeping up your blog. I look forward to your posts everyday:) thank you for all of the hard work you put into it:)

  11. Hi! I love your blog. I just wanted to add that when I make egg salad sandwiches, I use avacado instead of mayo. It’s super tasty. The avocado has to be ripe in order for the egg salad to work (otherwise it won’t form together). I call it “Green Egg Salad.”

    1. I do this too! It tastes different than egg salad with mayo and I love it. If you like avocado, it is worth a try.

  12. Hi! I just found your site yesterday and am excited to have the resources to get us on the right track! As for BBQ sauce, have you ever tried Bone Suckin’ Sauce? I’d love to hear your thoughts. It has won several awards and been featured in multiple magazines and was given an A+ rating by Health Magazine. It is all natural and gluten free, so it works for folks with Celiac Disease. I would love to hear your feedback! https://shop.bonesuckin.com/

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jennifer. I’m not familiar with the product, but, a quick look at the ingredients looks as if there are more than 5 and some that would not be considered “real food”. Jill

  13. Making your own mayo when there is a fear of issues with raw eggs.
    Try Davidsons safest eggs. They are standard eggs but have been pasturized in the shell. They are not exactly the best to eat straight as the pasturization changes the texture, but they are perfect for mayo and still can bring that same familiar fluffyish texure (although not like the processed brands).

    This can take much of the worry out of making mayo.

    If this is not for you, check out local farms (especially ones that allow you to see the egg laying chickens).

    Another choice is always go with Grade A eggs (grade is a measure of freshness typically (AA is the most common due to loss of freshness during transportation). Use the eggs the same day you get them and keep them chilled (it is not odd to transport your fresh eggs in a cooler with ice packs).

    Wash your hands and all utensils as well. After everything is clean bring a pot of water to a full rolling point. using a mess strainer place the eggs in the water for 1-2 minutes. (Note: the egg whites may get slightly cooked but that is not important as the yolk is all you are looking for anyway, which will still be cold).

    This will help kill any surface bacteria without spreading it around from washing. From there separate your eggs

  14. I make a homemade ketchup using dates pureed with some water and no salt added organic tomato paste that you simmer with some water, onion and garlic powder and some cider vinegar. It is delicious and very satifying.

  15. I just found the answer. They also talk about their refined oils undergoing winterizing, deodorizing, bleaching..but say that their unrefined oils do not go through these processes. I’ll stick with those as a first step.

  16. Why do you say the Spectrum has highly refined canola oil? The information on their website says it is expeller-pressed, no hexane extraction, and it’s not from a genetically engineered source.

      1. Canola was developed through old-fasheioned selective breeding, not by physically altering the DNA. Most convential canola is GMO and there is always a chance of contamination in organic, but organic canola oil has not been gentically modified.

    1. Mary, Do you make your own ketchup? That is such a staple with my family and I am looking for a no refined sugar alternative.

      1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

        Hi Rysa. No we do not make our own ketchup. We look for the best organic variety we can find and use it sparingly. ~Amy

  17. I eat an additive-free anti-inflammatory diet. The ingredients for Trader Joe’s Organic Mayonnaise are: Organic expeller pressed soybean oil, organic pasturized whole eggs, water, organic pasturized egg yolks, organic white vinegar, sea salt, organic dry mustard, and organic lemon juice concentrate.
    What you are doing is spot-on. Congratulations. I have been cooking ‘real food’ now for five months. Lost 30 lbs, down 65 points on cholesterol and 200 in tryglycerides. All my auto-immune issues have disappeared and I have no more allergies. Turns out, food really is medicine. I’ll never go back to a western diet.

    1. Terry do you have RA? I also have two auto immune diseases. My real food diet is helping, but not completely. Still going to stick to it and keep eating real foods as much as possible!

  18. All mayo-health food store or conventional-contains soybean oil. Had to give it up due to soy allergy. Safflower oil mayo is OK but I have found that making my own is amazingly tasty, quick to make & is absolutely magic when whisked by hand & it is *suddenly* mayo! Laura Calder’s recipe is the best-you can find it on the Cooking Channel’s website. AND it makes a great base for Caesar Salad dressing!

    1. Thank-you Michelle for posting the Wilderness Family Naturals link. Wow a wealth of learning there. I have been looking for an online source to buy truly old world grains, true wild rice (and not from Calif) plus so much more. This site has so much! Thanks again. :)

  19. I miss condiments too. One thing about going sugar-free and whole food that shocked me is how condiment and sauce dependent we were. We really weren’t tasting the food under all that junk anyway.

    We do use the spectrum low ingredient mayo.

    For ketchup? One thing my sugar-free daughter and I enjoy is mixing a bit of tomato paste with our favourite salsa.

    Otherwise it’s falling in love with new toppings…sauteed onions in a bit of butter, a slice of avocado, etc …Mmm! These things are so good on an amazing organic ground beef burger.

  20. Wonderful suggestions. I personally don’t eat mayo but often make dishes for parties that contains the ingredient. I never thought about what it was made of before. But I will now.

  21. What do you think of Westbrae Natural Unsweetened Ketchup?
    I get it at Natural Grocers here in Colorado, but I imagine it’s for sale in other whole foods type stores.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I looked up the ingredients and it looks like a pretty decent choice. My only question would be about the “natural flavors” ingredient.

  22. Sarah-Ashley Ortiz

    My son was egg free for a while, and during that time we found that a really good (if different tasting) substitute for Mayo in things like tuna salad is a ripe mashed avocado. He loved eating tuna w/ grated carrot or other root veg, some mustard or other spice, & avocado. :)

  23. Great suggestions. I made a delicious homemade Caesar salad dressing this week and had a hard time finding an acceptable organic mayo to use. I’m with you on the raw eggs — not giving those to my kiddos! I used the Spectrum mayo too, but was concerned about the Canola Oil. There’s definitely an opportunity for someone to make a good, wholesome alternative. Thanks for a great post!

  24. You can replace ketchup with ajvar (Serbian relish). It’s made from red bell peppers, with eggplant, garlic and chili pepper and tastes really good with things that most people eat with ketchup.

  25. The thing about Ketchup is that most is eaten with french fries, tater tots, etc. Since we dont eat those we dont go thru much ketchup at all. We do go thru about a gallon of BBQ sauce every 6 months, but I speciafically looked for a brand with no HFCS and I found that Cookies is made with regular sugar. Also I have noticed that it is thick and when I have put it thru a fine mesh strainer that there is a good amount of fiber in it too.

  26. Regarding ketchup, I think the two parts tomato/spices to one part sugar is totally unnecessary. I started making ketchup a while ago, and my husband declared that as far as he was concerned I never needed to buy ketchup again. We had a neighbourhood BBQ yesterday, and I was wondering how the kids would handle the homemade ketchup, but no one seemed to notice, except for the fact that it had to be spooned out of a container because I didn’t have a squirt bottle. The ketchup can be made with homegrown tomatoes if available, but if I’m out, I just use bought tomato paste. My recipe (which I modified from a few that I found online, mostly by cutting the sugar majorly) is:

    1 small can of tomato paste (5.5 oz/154ml)
    2 T white vinegar
    1 T fancy molasses
    1 t garlic powder
    1 t onion powder
    1 t salt
    1 dash allspice
    1/2 cup water

    The original recipe called for 1 1/4 c water, which I found too runny, and it was sweetened with 5 T brown sugar, 1 T corn syrup, and 1 t molasses. We don’t miss the sweetness in the least, and we like the onion/garlic flavour. I’m sure honey or maple syrup would work just as well if you don’t want to use molasses. It’s not free of sugar, but it’s definitely NOT one third sugar.

    Anyway, this recipe suits us, so maybe it will suit other people as well.

    1. Thanks, Irene – I’ve been looking for a good ketchup recipe. I’m going to sub the molasses with raw honey – can’t wait to try it!

    2. Irene, Thanks for this recipe… my 6 yo daughter wants to make homemade ketchup this summer with our tomatoes. This seems to be the easiest recipe I’ve found…. but do you just mix it in the blender/processor or do you need to cook it some how. Extra info would be great! Thanks!

  27. I was surprised by your ketchup comment, so I checked out the bottle in our fridge. We don’t use ketchup often (once a month, if that), but when we do it makes a huge difference in what my daughter will eat, so I am attached to it. :) We buy Trader Joe’s organic ketchup, and a 1 Tbsp serving contains 2 grams of sugar, which means that it has about 0.5 tsp of sugar per Tbsp of ketchup, including both the cane sugar and the (probably minimal, but not nonexistent) sugar in the tomato puree. Still a lot of sugar, but apparently better than standard brands.

  28. We’ve been making homemade mayo for a couple of years now and have had no problem with the uncooked eggs. As long as it’s kept in the fridge it’s fine. Our recipe is 1/2 t dry mustard powder, 1/4 t salt, 2 eggs, 2 T white vinegar, 2 cups safflower oil. Combine everything except the oil in a blender. Set the speed to medium then gradually drizzle in the oil. (We use a paper cup with a small hole poked in the bottom.) You’ll actually hear the difference in the blender sound when it’s set. It’s absolutely delicious!

  29. My husband has his culinary degree and has told me that homemade mayo is safe because of the added vinegar. This will kill the bacteria. His recipe calls for vinegar, but I’ve seem some that call of lemon juice. Lemon juice will do the same thing, but the recipes I saw didn’t use much so I don’t know how safe it is. If you prefer to be safe and use store bought I completely understand.

    I acutally made some sloppy joes the other night with homemade BBQ and it turned out great. I just used some good salsa, some tomato paste and some honey. The kids liked it too so it must have been ok.

  30. For those wondering about Agave – I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that Lisa doesn’t use it because it is basically HFCS in disguise. Agave has the highest percentage of fructose (fructose=bad) out of all the sweetners. I’ve read that at best it can have 57% fructose to glucose (glucose=good, your body uses glucose as its main source of energy), at worst it can be as high as 90% fructose (!!!). As a reference, table sugar is 50/50 fructose and glucose. HFCS is 55/45. Honey is about 48% fructose, 47% glucose and 5% sucrose (sucrose aka table sugar so the body will break it down to fructose and glucose raising the fructose content a bit higher) – though those numbers can vary depending on the variety of honey. But honey (unlike plain table sugar) does have other compounds thought to be beneficial. Whole fruits are about 7/93 but unlike refined sugars they come packed in fiber with many other healthy nutrients. So upshot? Don’t use Agave, it is hyped as a “healthy” sweetner that really isn’t healthy at all.

    1. Also the end product that is made now days is very highly processed as opposed to the way it used to be made.

    2. We eat local honey as our main sweetener in our house. There is a HUGE benefit for local honey that goes unlooked by many. If you have seasonal allergies it can lessen your symptoms significantly! If you have bad seasonal allergies (and our whole family does) you have probably heard about allergy shots. It works along the same idea as the weekly shots without all the other junk. The local (has to be local) honey has the pollens and allergens in it from being made out of nearby plantlife. This slowly builds your tollerence and immunity to the allergen. When you get the shots it is the same thing. They slowly introduce the allergen via shot and it builds up your tollerance and immunity as well. Since using honey my husband has cut out the shots entirely and all of our family has far less symptoms! It’s wonderful AND saves money big time!!! Honey is far cheaper than all that medicine we used to take!!!

      1. I would love to try this! I don’t believe in taking pharmaceuticals, and I severely suffer from allergies. Do you know how much honey you have to consume for it to work?

  31. I made avocado egg salad yesterday. Replacing the vast majority of the mayo in a traditional egg salad with avocado as binder. It worked out really well and tasted AMAZING.

  32. I don’t like mayo, ketchup or ketchup based sauces like BBQ sauce, so this hasn’t been a hard thing for me to avoid. I LOVE honey mustard dressing/dip and have been making my own for years. Sour cream (or plain yogurt but I like it with sour cream better), honey, spicy mustard, salt and pepper. Y-U-M! I just eyeball the amounts and usually only make enough for what I need at that time. Be sure to let it sit for a few minutes before dipping.

    I use sour cream or plain yogurt in recipes that call for mayo…I prefer these substitutes b/c I don’t like mayo but it won’t be the same for mayo-lovers :) I remember my mom saying that she made her own tomato paste one time – only once! – but it was tough to keep it from burning and it used a lot of tomatoes for very little final product.

    I also make a tex-mex dip…sour cream, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and salt. Again, I don’t measure (would you believe that my mom was a home-ec teacher for years?!). This dip definitely needs to sit for awhile in the fridge, otherwise the chili powder is still gritty.

  33. I want to know about agave syrup! I have been thinking about incorporating that into my repertoire. :-) I am getting better at this every week. I made it down 100lbs from my highest weight last week and I attribute the last 30 of it to this blog. I cut my blood pressure meds in half in three months and my insulin is down about 15 units too. Hopefully I can lose more weight and get off meds completely sticking with real/whole foods. Thanks for this site!

  34. So happy to have found your site. It’s SO helpful and full of resources as we make the change to Clean Eating. I bought that mayo, so I’m glad to see you reference it. My son is a ketchup lover, so I’ll be adding that to our list too. :-)

  35. I’ve never liked mayo much to begin with, so cutting it out wasn’t too hard, but it meant I hardly ever ate sandwiches because they were so bland and a bit dry without any sauce at all.

    Then I discovered hummus–specifically garlic hummus. It’s easy enough to make and delicious! It’s become my go to spread of choice for sandwiches, wraps, and dips. I eat more veggies and feel better about it. :)

    1. If you slice cucumbers, grate carrots, and dice peppers and season with garlic sea salt and pepper {I use the epicure kind} you won’t need mayo in your wrap….it is soooo delicious!

  36. Great thing to tell people about — avoiding these condiments will also cut sodium intake by quite a bit! Way to end with some good news, the mustard! I have a post about great benefits of mustard here! http://fresh-you.blogspot.com/2012/01/easy-sandwich-snack.html Also, avocado may be used as a pretty good replacement, “alternative” really, since of course it’s not fluffy or white!, but it’s a great spread for almost any sandwich!! Keep up the good work, Lisa!! I hope you get a chance to sleep :)

  37. We do Simply Heinz for ketchup, since it at least uses real sugar and not HFCS. I make homemade mayo since we keep our own chickens here in town and I know where my eggs come from…that mayo is also the base for our homemade ranch dressing (along with sour cream and some spices).

  38. Wow! This pledge takes a lot of commitment and dedicated time. Congrats! It’s an accomplishment. We did real food for 40 days. I’m thankful for it. But I have strayed off the path more than I’d like to admit. We encountered the same frustrations with condiments. I would love to have a homemade recipe for BBQ sauce though. Any suggestions?

  39. You can replace half of the mayo in a recipe with white bean puree. Just drain and rinse a can of white beans like cannellini and puree in blender with a tbsp or 2 of water (recipe from The Sneaky Chef). Works great in chicken salad.

  40. I make fermented ketchup (recipe from Sally Falon’s wonderful cookbook – Nourishing Traditions) which uses maple syrup for the sweetener. It’s still so much better than store bought ketchup. I also make the fermented mayo, which calls for raw eggs. Not the same as the fluffy stuff, but we like it. My kids eat it too, and they’re just fine. For store bought mayo, try using half spectrum mayo and half flax seed oil mixed together. We love this mix in chicken salad or egg salad.

  41. Have you tried Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise- alternative to regular mayo- the ingredients are Expeller-Pressed Grapeseed Oil, Brown Rice Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Non-GMO Soy Protein, Sea Salt, Mustard Flour, Lemon Juice Concentrate. I know that’s 7 but it seems pretty tame.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I typically don’t use the vegan products, but that sounds similar to the mayo we use just without the egg (and also with some sweetener that’s been added – Brown Rice Syrup).

  42. I am not a ketchup fan but I love roasting sliced tomatoes and putting them on burgers. Gives it a ton of sweetness

  43. I always make tuna and egg salad with dijon mustard, lemon juice and ripe avocado…my kids have always eaten it that way and don’t know the difference!
    For dips, I’ll use avocado again, mixed with soft goat cheese and garlic powder – this is a great veggie or yam “fry” dip!

  44. I’m with you on the convenience. I am the only mayo eater of 5 in our house. I started buying spectrum when I was pregnant (couldn’t eat raw egg) and kept buying it to have on hand for the the occasional tuna melt during lent and BLT in the summer. Thankfully I don’t care for ketchup and my husband can live with out it, so my kids don’t eat it. My kiddos also do just fine with plain veggies. Though greek yogurt, fresh dill and a pinch of sea salt makes a ok sans-mayo dill dip substitute. We also like tzatziki (when cukes are in season) and humus. Also, I’d highly recommend making your own refrigerator pickles. Now when my 5 year old wants pickles at the grocery store, I can tell her no, but we can make some this summer. Does anyone know of a good naturally fermented soy sauce?

    1. San-J tamari is very good and seems to be pretty widely available. I like the black label variety best for flavor. That one isn’t organic, I don’t think, but all of their products are made with GMO-free soy, and most of their products are now wheat-free and gluten-free as well! And if you want organic soy sauce, they have that option too.

  45. Here’s the ketchup we use: Westbrae Natural Unsweetened Ketchup. UNFORTUNATELY it is not organic, but here are the ingredients: water, tomato paste (from red ripe tomatoes), apple cider vinegar, salt, onion, maltodextrin (from corn), spice, natural flavor. It does have 8 ingredients, which is more than 5, but one of them is water. :) The maltrodextrin and “natural” flavors do put me off a little bit because I am not sure what they are… but we started using this when I decided to get rid of added sugars and the sugar in this is less than 1 gram per Tbsp. And like other commenters said, we hardly use ketchup. The first time we tried this ketchup my husband wondered if my kids would notice a difference between this and the old ketchup, but not one word was said about it and they ate it up just like the old ketchup.

    Thanks for this great post, I have been in a quandary too about the mayo! I have been using the Spectrum organic mayos but really do not like the abundance of canola oil and soybean oil. Right now we use it very little, but I have been wanting to make a cruciferous coleslaw which calls for a decent amount of mayo and have been trying to figure out what to do…I will look into the Wilderness Family mayos. Thanks for your wonderful website!!

    1. Maltrodextrin is usually made from rice, corn, or potato starch and produced by cooking down the starch. During the cooking process, which is often referred to as a hydrolysis of starch, natural enzymes and acids help to break down the starch even further. The end result is a simple white powder that contains roughly four calories per gram, and extremely small amounts of fiber, fat, and protein.

      Hope this helps. :)

  46. Well, we’ve been moving towards real food for a while now but I can’t get past Miracle Whip. We live in Arkansas and haven’t found anything that’s close!

    But for BBQ sauce we love tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and backstrap molasses makes all the difference! The molasses gives such great depth of flavor, we prefer it over any store bought brand we’ve tried!!

  47. Hummus also makes a great condiment for sandwiches if you’re looking for another alternative to mayo. I like BLTs (where the lettuce is actually sprouts) with hummus!

  48. I make bbq sauce without ketchup. I fiddle around and make to taste, but the basic recipe is tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar or maple syrup (to taste), yellow mustard or mustard powder, liquid smoke, salt, onion powder, garlic powder. Cook it up in a saucepan on the stove, and you’re going for “slow simmered” not “high heat/burned”.

  49. Like another poster said he does, I make my barbecue sauce from tomato sauce with only a dash of sweetener, if any. It is delicious and unlike any storebought sauce!

  50. I’ve been experimenting with condiments a lot lately. (My favorite so far is homemade “Cholula,” which is incredibly easy and cheap.) This is my sugar-free ketchup. The combination of fire-roasted tomatoes and orange helps to mimic the particular sweet & sour taste of store-bought ketchup.

    1 inch chunk of ginger, sliced thinly
    2 star anise
    1 14 oz can fire-roasted, diced, organic tomatoes (Muir Glen)
    1 heaping tablespoon organic tomato paste
    zest and juice of a medium orange
    1/3 c cider vinegar
    3 large or 5 small dates, pitted and roughly chopped
    3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
    1 t salt
    ¼ t cinnamon
    scant 1/8 t ground cloves

    Put the ginger and star anise in a cheesecloth bag (or tea ball or disposable loose tea bag) and tie closed with twine.

    Add the spice bag and all of the remaining ingredients to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to the lowest setting possible, and simmer for 45 minutes. (Add water ¼ c at a time if the mixture begins to dry out.)

    Remove from the heat. Discard the spice bag. Puree in a blender until totally smooth. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time to get to the consistency you prefer.

  51. I’ve made a dressing out of avocado, olive oil, a little vinegar, etc whirred up in the mini-food processor.
    Pesto is my favorite real food condiment. I make it with basil from my garden every summer and freeze in ice cube trays.
    I love salsa, and it’s easy to make your own. You can also find it made without sugar or other gunk.

  52. I’ve found success in using avocados as a substitute for mayo in recipes such as egg salad, pasta salad and tuna salad. It is always a hit and it adds a pretty light green colour. I highly suggest! I usually add a bit of plain Greek yogurt as well.

  53. In France they used butter on most of their sandwiches and I thought it was DELICIOUS. Also, smashed avocado is a great condiment for lots of stuff. I even used it to make egg salad once and it was pretty tasty :)

    1. I love to make a simple homemade guacamole to mix with tuna or salmon: avocado, lemon or lime juice (according to preference or what you have on hand), a bit of pressed garlic, salt, oregano, and cayenne. It gets addictive.

  54. For ketchup I make my own and I’m not much of a fan of ketchup at all, but I did find this recipe and I love it and my little siblings can’t even tell the difference between store bought or this homemade version, http://bit.ly/J4Xi5R
    Oh and I take the honey down to at least 1/2 what it calls for.

  55. As someone else mentioned above, Westbrae makes an unsweetened ketchup. Looking it up, I see it has “natural flavors,” but if you use it in small enough amounts it might be worth the tradeoff. Or you could just make your own using tomato paste, vinegar, salt, and spices. There was a recipe in “The New Laurel’s Kitchen” which I used to use, back when I ate much ketchup at all. It tends to get thick over time, but for short-term use it whips up easily and tastes pretty good, once you get the balance of spices right for you.

    As for mayonnaise, I’m partial to The Ojai Cook’s Lemonaise, when only mayonnaise will do. Plain yogurt also works well IF you turn it into a dressing: Adding a bit of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill or other herbs is all it takes, and is quite tasty. I think the lemon juice makes the difference.

    1. To clarify, I mean that the yogurt dressing works very well for things like chicken salad and tuna salad. I haven’t tried it with eggs.

  56. While I was at my mom’s house the other day I wanted ketchup for some fries, I usually eat them without ketchup, so all I did was reach for her bottle and didn’t read it at first but after tasting it I knew something was different…. she had bought ketchup with no sugar added, I didn’t have time to sit there and read the label and to be honest I didn’t pay attention to the brand. It tasted different then what I was use to but really good! This year I am going to try to make ketchup from the tomatoes in my garden without any added sugar of any kind. I don’t use ketchup often so there really is no point for me to buy it.

  57. This is a little off topic from this post but I would like to know what “real food” options are there for children’s multi-vitamins? I have purchased my son the Hero Nutritionals Organic gummies which is the brand that I’ve found with the least sugary content. Does anyone have any recommendations/suggestions?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      None of us take vitamins so unfortunately I don’t have any advice….I am adding this to my list to write about!

  58. I haven’t done this pledge yet, but I’m getting more inclined to try.

    I have a question about the 5 ingredient rule (I couldn’t find the info on the link provided)

    Is it just a rule of thumb, like – look at the ingredients and if there are more than 5 there maybe bad things in them.

    Or are we supposed to avoid everything with more than 5 ingredients even if every improvident is a whole food.

  59. Hunts ketchup does not use HFCS and only has like 3 or 4 ingredients but I’ve never paid attention before to what alternative sweetner they use instead? Does anyone know…right now I have Heinz in the fridge…and not organic! YIKES!!

  60. Hi I have been following your blog for a few weeks now, and was wondering what type of oil should I make our homemade chicken nuggets in? I have been using Extra Virgin Olive oil in the pan, cause I thought that is what was the best. Just want to make sure. Also sometimes we fry up some of our fresh/caught fish/walleye, so I want to make sure we are using the best oil out there. I know oil is not good for you, but for whats out there I want to make sure I am using the right one. And I was curious where you get your little freeze pop containers from as well. The ones that you show in the meals you make for your kids lunches.
    Thank you so much for all the wonderful info.

    1. Coconut oil is a GREAT option for frying foods in. I use Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil which I purchase on Amazon.com because their prices are great.

    2. NEVER cook Extra Virgin Olive oil over 200 degrees! Heating Extra Virgin Olive oil destroys its nutrients, turns the oil rancid and releases dangerous free radicals in its smoke. Use EVOO, Sesame oil and even Canola oil at end of cooking or as dressing, DONT cook with these. Only cook with Extra Virgin Coconut oil (preferred), Grapeseed Oil, avocado oil, or high-oleic Safflower oil.

    3. 100 Days of Real Food

      I think I may have answered this on facebook. I think ghee (a.k.a. clarified butter) would be the best choice. It can withstand higher temps without burning (unlike regular butter). Also lard, coconut oil and peanut oil are good at higher temperatures as well. And here is the link to my kitchen essentials page, which has the freezie pop holders as well as our other lunch supplies: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/my-kitchen-essentials/#kids

  61. Luckily for me, I hate ketchup and mayo. My hubby loves mayo though. We have both been using avocados on our sandwiches lately and we both love it. Now I know this is not a actual substitute for mayo, but my hubby said it gives his sandwiches/burgers a good flavor and takes away the dryness that you get without condiments. I love this blog and as a mom of a toddler I have really been trying to turn our food habits around. Thanks for all the great info.

  62. I can’t get behind the Greek-yogurt-as-a-condiment thing either. I know some people swear it makes a delicious ranch dressing and dip but just doesn’t do it for me. I do, however, like a combo of whole milk yogurt and sour cream as a dressing base and for things like potato salad, egg salad, etc. Really a pretty close 1:1 ration of yogurt and sour cream is necessary. When running low on sour cream, I’ve tried just yogurt before and it’s missing something that way. Here’s a recipe for potato salad with no mayo:


    1. I recently discovered labneh at a farmers market. A middle eastern concoction that was made up of milk, yogurt and sea salt. It is SO good and makes an awesome substitution for mayo and I love it in egg salad. I experimented with making my own by straining a container of organic whole milk yogurt overnight and addng sea salt. Turned out ok but the stuff I bought was amazing.

  63. I’ve made homemade ketchup – LOTS of effort and tomatoes for very little yield. But it tastes fantastic, and you can control the amount of sugar in it. Some of these sugar-free recipes look great – I’ve never tried starting with tomato sauce/paste before. We use very little ketchup/mustard/bbq sauce. Although I admit to being a Hellman’s girl. Have never made it myself, but would like to try.

  64. Whole Foods sells a ketchup that is unsweetened. And also comes in a glass bottle, so no BPA worries. I don’t eat a ton of ketchup anyway, but it is an option.

  65. Avocado gives a great creamy consistency in place of mayo. I like to use that for tuna salad or smoothed on bread for a sandwich.

  66. Since both are “approved”, honey-mustard is a good substitute for ketchup on chicken and burgers. Plus, my kids love to mix the two and getting them involved in making the meal always helps them eat it!

  67. Tomato paste instead of ketchup for home made BBQ sauce….works well. Still use some brown sugar & honey if it’s on hand.

  68. I just wanted to say how inspired I’ve been by reading these bogs and posts. I have have always been proud of ky kids diet, we live on a farm grow our beef, hogs and chickens and eat lots of fresh veg and fruits. But honestly I’ve never worried about ranch dip or ketchup thinking they might be eating it but they are chowing down on the broccoli too. I’ll be more careful in the future.

  69. I try not to use condiments at all except mustard once in awhile. I’ve made my own BBQ sauce and it has a little sugar in it but no ketchup. I avoid soy sauce (I’m not sure I’ve seen an organic one) but have used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (which are non-GMO)once in awhile if I need soy sauce for a recipe. While I can go without condiments, it’s a harder sell for my college aged and teen kids so I buy organic versions for them. They have cut down, though, so we are at least making baby steps. Also, if I make meals that don’t lend themselves to needing condiments, that helps, too.

  70. Thanks Lisa for being SO real! I love that you are aware of everything you give your family but also understand that life happens and you do the best you can with what ya got. I just love that. That is what we try to do and get looks a lot of the times so thanks for showing it’s not just me :)

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Maria – People definitely think we are a little crazy as well, but it’s always nice to “meet” readers who get it :) Thanks for your comment!

  71. My sriracha has sugar as the second ingredient, but says 1g sugar in 1 tsp sauce. Since you use so little it’s probably okay… if you are ok w/ a little added sugar. Other than chilis, sugar and spices, it has 2 kinds of preservatives in it. So it might be looking for a more natural Sriracha. My husband was laughing that everything is made overseas, yet our Sriracha is made in USA. LOL.

    We use VERY little ketchup, BBQ sauce and Mayo. I have them, but they are almost never used. If i run out i usually don’t notice. Once we had friends over for a cookout and i had no ketchup. Everyone was shocked but i just thought, we never use it! We always put grilled onions & mushrooms and mustard or avocados on our burgers. I guess you just get used to it.

    Same thing w/ Ranch dressing. If you have young kids over ppl are shocked when they are expected to eat veggies w/out dipping them in Ranch. Sometimes i keep a natural yogurt version that i mix w/ half greek yogurt. But my kids are happy to dip in things like olive oil w/ herbs, balsamic vinegar, greek yogurt & salsa. I guess it’s just what you get used to!

  72. Ooh, and relish! You can make your own relish easily. Again, just google for a recipe. I substituted honey for sugar in several batches, back when we had the farm, and they sold before everything else, even the “regular” relishes. Just a warning, it isn’t green like we’re used to from the store LOL… I admit, when I sell the regular relish I drop in a bit of green food dye (it’s listed in the ingredients) because some people just need that color. We have gotten used to the pale stuff, though, and I tend to throw in a wee bit of pimento and minced red pepper for color, too.

    1. Since we don’t like sweet relish around here, all we have to do is chop up/food processor dill pickles to get dill relish! Love it!

  73. Mustard is also really easy to make yourself. Just google “home made mustard” or “mustard recipe” and you’ll see. You can make it yourself, refine the taste to how YOU like it, and bottle it. It keeps forever in the fridge, just like the store bought (well… I’d use it within a year). I sometimes buy the Annie’s Organic brown mustard, but we make our own hot and spicy ones, and sweet ones. :)

  74. When I made homemade BBQ sauce, I used tomato paste and added maple syrup and a little molasses in place of the brown sugar (I don’t know if molasses is allowed. I use it maybe twice a year, so I didn’t freak about it) The sauce was great! I used this recipe as a starting point and adjusted (and didn’t really do much actual measuring): http://www.food.com/recipe/oven-barbecued-st-louis-style-ribs-104881
    So good to dump this sauce over ribs in the crockpot!

  75. We use condiments pretty infrequently. I probably buy about one container of ketchup, mayo, and BBQ sauce each a year and they mostly get used in the summer grilling months. But we use a lot of Sririacha! I was wondering what your thoughts are on this Asian condiment that is gaining popularity.

    1. I’ve been wondering about Sriracha too – I LOVE it, but when I was looking at the label it had sugar listed :(

      “It is a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt” (from Wikipedia)

      I’m thinking about still using it though, because it’s such a good hot sauce, and is spicy enough that I only use maybe 1/4 tsp at a time…

  76. You can easily make your own mustard even! Soak mustard seeds in vinegar overnight – any one will do, just depends on your preference – then blend in food processor until smooth. Yummy!

  77. What is your take on the Wilderness Family Naturals Mayo? I’ve come across it on other food blogs who highly recommend it. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but have been thinking about it. Here is the link:


    So what are the ingredients in this Organic Mayo?
    • Certified Organic, (Raw) Centrifuged Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Certified Organic, (Raw) Unrefined Sesame Seed Oil
    • Certified Organic, (Raw) Centrifuged Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
    • Certified Organic, Eggs
    • Certified Organic, Vinegar
    • Certified Organic, Spices (Ground Mustard, Garlic, Onion & Paprika)
    • Certified Organic, Evaporated Cane Juice
    • Sea Salt

    1. Chana- I have this mayo in my frig right now! We like it. It is a little sweet -similiar to Miracle Whip- which I usually hate, but in my desperation to have mayo, I’ve learned to adapt to the flavor. My husband has loved it from day one and he puts mayo on everything! My teenage son didn’t even notice that I had changed brands. It is expensive, but because I like the products that come from Wilderness Family, and because I know exactly what all the ingredients are, it is worth it to me.

    2. 100 Days of Real Food

      Chana – Sounds like a pretty good choice! And at least the sweetener is at the bottom of the list.

  78. Here’s a sugar free ketchup recipe I saw posted the other day.. It sounds really delicious. I personally hate ketchup and never eat it.

    1. I am excited to try this one! I am sure the cinnamon gives it that extra sweetness that it needs. We use cinnamon in our spaghetti sauce as well. Thanks for sharing!

  79. I love bbq, but to avoid the sweeteners used in most sauces I’ve started using spice blends (dry rubs), on food that I want that bbq flavor. Also, if anyone is looking for a store bought bbq sauce that’s fairly “clean”, I recommend Bone Suckin Sauce. It uses honey as a sweetener (8grams sugar in 2 TBSP). Not ideal, but like you said, sometimes convenience wins.

  80. Tomato paste is REALLY sweet naturally. I’ve thinned it out a little to give my kids for a ketchup substitute, especially when they aren’t dipping and don’t know the difference. As for mayo though, I’m no purist. Even though I avoid excess mayo, I’ll be a Duke’s girl till the day I die. :) I tried making homemade mayo when we lived overseas and it was a pain in the rumpus. With that said, if you are using pastured eggs, there is almost no chance of health risk from raw eggs which will turn out a much better product, especially if you use a food processor. Check this article near the end. http://www.realfooduniversity.com/truth-isfree-range-eggs-healthier-store-bought-eggs/

    1. Do you know a good place to get pasteurized eggs or pasteurized egg whites? I do not feel comfortable eating raw eggs either, even though there is only a very small chance of getting sick because so few eggs are contaminated. I would just hate for it to happen from something I prepared so I think it’s more responsible to use pasteurized!

      1. 100 Days of Real Food

        I think the best source for eggs is the farmers’ market because they come from pastured chickens. I don’t know if you are in Charlotte or not, but we buy our eggs from the Matthews Farmers’ market. The yolks are a very dark orange.

    1. From lablewatch.com (very cool site)


      INGREDIENTS: Tomato Concentrate Made From Vine Ripened Tomatoes, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Less than 2% of Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavors.

      1. I think that ingredient list is out dated because I have the bottle I bought last week in front of me and here’s the list of ingredients. INGREDIENTS: Tomato Concentrate Made From Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Sugar , Distilled Vinegar, Salt , Less than 2% of Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavors.

  81. I make my bbq sauce with muir glen canned tomato sauce instead of ketchup. Its actually a lot cheaper that way! It gets honey as a sweetener.