I confess. I love a good condiment. Give me a spicy salsa, ketchup or BBQ sauce for my fries, any kind of savory mustard, almost all types of olives, creamy mayo and tangy sour cream….and I’m one happy gal. I also love corn relish, sauerkraut, funny red peppadews and pickles.

Other condiments I love include horseradish, soy sauce and Cholula.

The more I researched these widely-used condiments, the sadder I became. We all know most of these household side acts are loaded with sodium, but I’ve also found the following summarized information from Dr. Mercola to be pretty scary, and thought it important enough to share with those of you still buying and using these common (but deadly) condiments. You can read his article here, complete with full label ingredients.

Ketchup consists mostly of uber-cooked tomatoes, water, and large quantities of sugar, usually in the form of corn syrup. Many contain “natural flavorings,” which are chemicals that sometimes include MSG. One tablespoon of the most common brands of ketchup contains 4 grams of sugar, even the organic varieties—and most people consume more than one serving.

Steak and barbeque sauces contain little real food and a lot of chemical fillers and preservatives, including potassium sorbate, caramel color (which often contains MSG), excess sodium, dyes, texture and flavor enhancers, and genetically engineered ingredients. They typically contain fructose, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup or one of its equivalents.

Mayonnaise contains soybean oil, which is one of the most harmful fats you can consume, regardless of whether it’s partially hydrogenated, organic, or made from newer soybean varieties modified in such a way as to not require hydrogenation. Soybean oil can pave the way for health problems ranging from obesity and heart disease to reproductive problems.

Sour cream is made primarily with milk and cream that contain the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone rBGH, the largest selling animal drug in America. RBGH is banned in the 27 countries of the European Union because of its dangers to human health. The growth factor in rBGH (IGF-1) has been shown in scientific studies to increase your risk for breast cancer.

Ranch and Bleu Cheese dressings are chemical brews that bear little resemblance to food, if you read the ingredient list. These dressings often contain soybean oil, artificial food dyes, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a dangerous excitotoxin that can cause weight gain, depression, headaches, various degrees of brain damage and other problems.

So, I say put down those store-bought squeeze bottles and rise up….c’mon, rise up! You can easily make your own favorite condiments from whole, plant-based and nutrient rich foods. You can also control the levels of flavor and salt by making your own at home!

Don’t fret, I’m here to help because I’ve experimented (and am still experimenting) with many different plant-based condiment recipes. Many are already posted in the Edible Musings Recipe section.

If you’re a ketchup connoisseur, try this recipe. You won’t believe how easy it is, and so delicious.

If you’re a sour cream lover, try this recipe. Then dollop all you want.

If you’re a mayo maven, try this recipe. Your sandwich will smile.

If you’re a ranch dressing devotee, try this recipe. Celery sticks and salads prefer it.

If you’re a BBQ sauce slatherer, try this recipe. Grill your veggies with this humdinger of a sauce!

A note about the other condiments: Because of the sodium content, I use them all pretty sparingly because a little goes a loooong way! Also, I typically add in white vinegar to any mustard sauce I make.

If you’ve come across any other fun and healthy condiment recipe that you love, share it with our Edible Musings community.

Eat for Your Life,

Lauren