Upgrade Series: Condiments

Mayonnaise is just pearl jam.”
Arya Pradhan

Here it is, the inaugural post of the Upgrade Series and it’s all about condiments. In America atleast there are core staples we know and love – ketchup, mayo, mustard, and salsa. Here we’ll upgrade all the staples to remove unwanted sugar, seed oils and preservatives and give you great tasting new options you can feel good about.


Mayo can be a beautiful thing, but jarred mayonnaise is filled with garbage your body does not want. Main commercial brands have soybean oil which should not be consumed, sugar, and calcium disodium EDTA (a controversial preservative). So let’s upgrade! Little switches to everyday items can have a big impact on your health.

  • Homemade Mayo (MY TOP PICK)
    Only 6 Ingredients and it tastes phenomenal
  • Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise
    ingredients: avocado oil, organic eggs, organic egg yolks, organic vinegar, sea salt, organic rosemary extract
  • Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayonnaise
    Ingredients: Avocado Oil, Filtered Water, Egg Yolks, Organic Whole Eggs, Organic Distilled White Vinegar, Organic Mustard (Distilled Organic Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Salt, Organic Spices), Salt, Organic Rosemary Extract

It’s not my favorite thing but if you like ketchup, please choose one with low or preferably no sugar. Yes, it’ll taste different but your body will thank you. Sugar is rampant in our commercially prepared foods. Think of it like this: You add 1 tbsp. of ketchup which has 4 grams of sugar on top of your morning hash brows. Then you have sugar in your coffee, sugar in your salad dressing, sugar in your deli meat, sugar in your wine, sugar in your spaghetti sauce, and the list goes on… the average American eats 77 grams of sugar a day. Enough said.

  • Primal Kitchen Ketchup (two options)
    Ingredients: Organic Tomato Concentrate, Organic Balsamic Vinegar (Organic White Wine Vinegar, Organic Grape Must), Less than 2% of Salt, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Garlic Powder, Organic Spices
  • Good Food for Good Organic Spicy Ketchup
    Ingredients: Organic Tomato Paste (Made From Fresh Ripe Tomatoes), Water, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Date Paste, Organic Onion Powder, Sea Salt, Organic Garlic Powder, Organic Spices, Organic Cayenne Pepper.

I adore mustard in all forms. Dijon, ground, spicy brown, and even yellow has it’s place (although it’s a very small place with no windows). Much like ketchup, it’s hard to find one that is free of sugar. WTH right? No worries. I got you. Here’s better options:


Salsa is deeply personal, varies by region and there are 2,001+ recipes and variations. Here is my base recipe that you can adjust however you like. I’m not a fan of jarred salsa but if you are, please read labels! Sugar, oil and preservations are lingering. In my humble opinion, salsa is best made fresh and it’s super quick, so try this recipe and make it your own!

BBQ Sauce

DISCLAIMER: I did not grow up in one of the great BBQ hubs of the US so go easy on me. I grew up on the West Coast and always thought barbecue sauce was disgustingly sweet and completely unnecessary. I know there are barbecue aficionados who would rather die than have undressed meat and I hear you. But you were most likely raised on the real thing, probably an amazing homemade recipe guarded by generations of family. I got sludge-like gloop from the grocery store smeared on gas-grilled chicken or ribs. Even I know that’s not real barbecue. There is but one sauce exception I’ve run across and it’s Espresso BBQ Sauce. This beauty is an adapted recipe from Michael Chiarello and it’s tangy and spicy and does what a good sauce should: enhance (not degrade) what you put it on. Try this at your next BBQ gathering and collect your praise!

Fun Extras

Upgrade your condiment repertoire with these staples that are must-haves in my kitchen!

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