Barbecue season is almost here. While grilling is one of the healthier ways to prepare food – much better than frying food in unhealthy oils – most of us tend to make our grilled foods unhealthy by adding condiments.
Condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, sour cream, ranch and blue cheese dressing, and steak sauce are added passively, almost unconsciously, because they make our food taste better. We usually don’t even realize we’re doing it. In other words, we give our condiments a free ride.
Many of the most popular condiments are some of the worst substances that we can put in our bodies. But they don’t have to be unhealthy. We simply have to make better choices or make them ourselves.
Our bodies are designed to process naturally occurring foods and ingredients. Our bodies were not designed to process man-made food products that make up the main ingredients in most condiments.
Our cells don’t recognize these substances, so our bodies don’t know what to do with them. That’s why a small bag of French fries from a fast food joint sits in our bodies for 212 days.
Think about that for a second. If you eat fries from McDonalds on Memorial Day weekend, they may not leave your body until around Christmas.
Let’s look at mayonnaise, which is typically loaded with soybean oil, a highly processed oil filled with trans fats from the hydrogenating process. The majority of soybeans grown in our country are genetically modified.
We may not consider mayonnaise to be a sweet product, but most commercial varieties also include high fructose corn syrup and other types of fructose that add a toxic load to your liver.
We can do better.
The basic ingredients for all-natural mayonnaise are olive oil, organic egg yolks, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and a little sea salt. These are ingredients that our cells will recognize and process in a few hours, not seven months.
Another great example is ketchup. Most commercially prepared ketchup is essentially an IV of high fructose corn syrup. The primary ingredient is a genetically modified corn syrup that directly attacks the liver.
Due to immense public pressure, Heinz actually removed high fructose corn syrup from its ketchup in 2010. Because the reformulated product didn’t go over so well, they added it back in two years later. That’s just shameful.
We can’t trust food manufacturers to make smart decisions, so we need to do it ourselves.
Homemade ketchup can be a much healthier option, and there are plenty of organic, natural ketchup brands on the market. We just need to look a little harder to find them.
The ingredients are pretty simple – organic tomatoes, a little sea salt and natural flavorings. Search for recipes online and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of them.
We also need to know which condiments include MSG, a flavor enhancer found in thousands of foods that’s one of the worst food additives created by man. MSG causes cellular damage and death and has been linked to brain damage, learning disabilities, obesity, eye damage, headaches, fatigue, depression and other conditions.
Health literacy is the key to longevity, and we need to be more literate about the ingredients in our foods. We need to read the labels, walk away from the products that aren’t good for us, and either look for healthier options or make our own condiments.
As you hit the barbecue circuit this summer, don’t feel like you have to eliminate condiments. Just use real foods instead of man-made inventions so you can enjoy condiments without toxifying your body.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.