natural flava!

Here is my how-to- on adding incredible and bold flavour to your deliciously healthy food by avoiding fatty, processed and preservative laden condiments.

I was once a sauce queen myself. well, some (my husband...) may still argue that I am but I now choose to make my own OR buy products that I know what I am getting.

Since we are all friends, let's be real for a minute. Here are a few Q's for ya.....

  • How many bottles of condiments do you have in your fridge right now?
  • How many are half used?
  • How many are actually past their expiry date?
  • Now check the label, how many ingredients are listed on it?
  • Can you pronounce all of ingredient names? Do you know what each of those ingredients are?

I'm going to take a wild guess and say chances are you answered: a lot ... a lot ... some ... more than 10... no. 

Is there any way to justify having 10 salad dressing to choose from that take up space, create waste, and never get used up? I think not.

Avoid the grocery store aisles lined with tempting "flavours" and here are just a few ways of how to successfully make the transition as well as a few super tasty and healthy condiment recipes.

photo via

  1. HERBS + SPICES: This might be one of the easiest ways to add great flavour. Fresh or dried is fine. Not only are they healthy but they are so easy to use. Some of my favourites are basil, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, turmeric, and red chili flakes.... just to name a few!
  2. LIMES + LEMONS: I add the juice of these magical fruits to almost everything. water, salads, dressings, rice dishes, and stir-frys.
  3. TAMARI + BRAGGS AMINO LIQUIDS: I use these two options instead of super salty soy sauce. Tamari is a gluten free option as well.
  4. GARLIC + GINGER: Personally I think garlic makes everything taste better. If you can use it raw that is even better. Garlic is such a powerful food and provides wonderful flavour. I know not everyone loves ginger, but try adding a bit to a homemade salad dressing or rice dish.
  5. HEALTHY OILS: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil + sesame oil are some that I always keep on hand. Good quality brands of EVOO have such a beautiful and light flavour that is great to be enjoyed uncooked on salads. Coconut oil can add a light flavour to various dishes and be cooked at higher temperatures. Sesame oil is nice to add a nice asian flavour.
  6. SEA SALT: I love using himalayan sea salt which is not refined or processed and contains several trace minerals. As with any salt though, use in moderation.
  7. SALSA: There are plenty of great organic/natural brands that are made up of whole food ingredients. Again take notice that there is no added sugar. This is also SO easy to make at home and here is a yummy recipe to try out. Add it to fish or chicken, top off a toast with a bit of goat cheese, dip your veggies .... lots of options. 
  8. NATURAL SWEETENERS: Maple syrup, raw honey, coconut syrup and stevia are some of my favourites. They are so easy to add to smoothies or breakfast dishes to naturally sweeten. Again, use moderation of course.

REPLACE : Common condiments with better alternatives: ketchup I'm talking to you. Take a peek at how much sugar is in your bottle at home right now. You might as well give your children a tablespoon of sugar before they head off to school. There are several much better brands available now that use xylitol (natural sweetener with no chemicals) instead of sugar. It will be a bit more expensive, but I would suggest using less. I also prefer to use greek yogurt as a side instead of sour cream. You can make this suit almost any dish while adding some protein to your meal. try adding some herbs and spices for a little zip.

BUY TRUSTED BRANDS: If you don't feel you have the time to make your own sauces and dressings sometimes it can be helpful to keep a few (..I mean really...a FEW!) on hand. At your grocery store or health food store you should be able to find much more healthier alternatives. Try to find a brand that lists whole food ingredients that you recognize and can pronounce and preferably, doesn't contain preservatives.

Why not try making some of your own sauces too. there are plenty of resources available online that are easy to make.

My NUMBER ONE salad dressing is the following recipe is courtesy of my step-mom. I never get sick of it and always have the ingredients on hand in my kitchen so it is easy to whip up in 5 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • Juice of a lemon (adding some zest is great too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp mustard (I use like to use dijon or a strong tasting stone-ground mustard)
  • Sea salt + pepper to taste
  • METHOD: add all the ingredients to a food processor, blender ...or I prefer a mason jar and combine. I like to double the recipe and keep around for salads throughout the week

I think one of the things that I love the most about eating whole foods is the simplicity of flavours it provides. Excessive dipping and dunking of foods into sauces doesn't allow for you to taste the real flavours. Consider keeping it simple! Try to reduce the amount of extra stuff you add to your meals and opt instead for some of the options above. texture, flavour and colour are some of the best ways to add interest to a meal.

Have fun with it!