Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hot Sauce -- How to Avoid Unhealthy Additives

Recently, I began re-reading the ingredients of my favorite hot sauces.  Depressing.  With the latest information coming out about inflammation, diabetes, candida, etc., this was a sobering exercise.

Hot sauces all seem to have either preservatives and/or vinegar (bad for candida overgrowth and certain diets) and/or sugar (bad for candida overgrowth and also not paleo, keto, or diabetic friendly). Not to mention that many don't use good quality salt.

Years ago I made my own healthy, raw, fresh, 3-ingredient hot sauce.  I noticed that Tabasco only has 3 ingredients: vinegar, cayenne, and salt. So I decided to try lemon, cayenne, and salt as a hot sauce. It was delicious, but took all of 10 minutes to make, because I would try to make a few helpings and mix it in a small pitcher (salad dressing size). I didn't keep up with it, because it required this monumental 10 minute effort and involved a small pitcher!

So I reverted to bottled hot sauce.  Fast forward several years to when I decided to re-read the ingredients.  Yikes! I decided to try making my simple home made version again, but I'd simplify it further.  Rather than a recipe involving mixing and trying to make a small supply, this time I'd try to put it together right on my plate.  If something is simple enough, I won't be deterred from doing it. So I asked myself, how can I make this so easy I just have to do it?  I experimented, and: Success!  I'm pretty sure this recipe is safe for keto, paleo, raw, vegan, and diabetic diets. For those with inflammation, the quality and quantity of salt should be considered.

Of course when I first tried to switch from the bottle to the unprocessed/homemade, at the moment of truth, I found myself thinking, "can't I just grab this hot sauce in the fridge? I am short on time! And anyway, I don't use much!"
And at first, that's what I did.
I gave up and grabbed my bottle of Tapatio from the fridge.
(As to the rationalization of using just a little bit of bottled hot sauce -  I was using about a bottle every month.  All that sauce goes somewhere!  The preservatives, vinegar, or sugar - stuff that my body simply does not need)

Then I asked myself, "how long does it really take to give my brekkie a dash of salt, cayenne and a little squeeze of lemon? The cayenne stays in a condiment tray right on the counter....the lemon is easily accessible on the door of my fridge.... Less than a minute?   Am I worth a minute? Does being short on time mean I devalue my health?  When I thought about it, it seemed ridiculous!


So the ingredients are:
Good quality salt (Himalayan or Real are my first choices)
Cayenne (you can get various heat, some is not so hot at all)
and a little fresh lemon juice.

I usually add salt to taste while cooking (or if a raw dish -- while I'm prepping).

I sprinkle the cayenne on once I have plated the dish.  I use a lot, but I don't use the really hot stuff.  Again this will be to individual taste (remember it is easier to add than subtract)

I keep a lemon in a small cup or bowl in the fridge, easily accessible.  I have my cutting board and knife out from cooking.  I slice a small wedge from the lemon, and squeeze over the cuisine on my plate and put the rest of the lemon back in its spot in the fridge. Obviously I don't hurry when handling a knife, but the whole operation takes about 30 seconds.

I recommend using up the lemon wedge you cut (which is why I recommend cutting a small one), because the lemon flavor loses integrity once the wedge is squeezed, so trying to squeeze it again later is a little funky.

I hope this recipe helps readers avoid some unneeded, unhealthy additives.  Let me know in comments!

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