3

votes

Can't give up condiments. Does it matter?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 11, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Whatever we do, my wife and I, who have been Paleo for the past month (with just 2-3 meal cheats so far), can't give up assorted set of condiments. Now, I know that someone of them have the bad stuff in them - soybean, sugar and MSG, but is it condonable if they are being used in limited quantities.

Note: we do not use ketchup and mustard etc. Our condiments are mostly for stir-fryng such as soybean sauce, oyster and fish sauce etc.

Any alternatives condiments we should try out? Note that we are in India so stuff like tamari is not available here.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 03, 2011
at 04:08 PM

There are many recipes, some with video demonstrations, for making your own paleo condiments. I haven't wanted them enough to make them yet, but they look easy and you can eat them guilt-free. At least try them before deciding you have to have the conventional ones.

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on May 13, 2011
at 04:36 PM

What are you using to stir fry? Vegetable oils have a lower smoke point and so turn into trans-fats, with the exception of extra virgin coconut oil (which is Paleo). Animal fats, including ghee and butter have a higher smoke point, and usually work even for most with lactose intolerance/dairy issues because they are casein-free.

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on May 13, 2011
at 03:54 PM

I don't know how Paleo it is but I've used this instead of soy-sauce and it tastes great in recipes. It's gluten-free, soy-free, and 0-carb. http://www.coconutsecret.com/aminos2.html

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 13, 2011
at 09:09 AM

Not available anywhere near India unfortunately

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on May 12, 2011
at 03:41 PM

I totally agree with both your statement that it's only a problem if you want it to be but also with Shari's up above, that "anyone can give up anything...etc." You have to choose to do what you can live with...not someone else's idea of perfection. "Own your choices".."There's no one policing you but yourself"...two very wise statements that help me as well. Thank you!

65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:35 PM

"Anyone can give up anything. Convincing yourself it doesn't matter is kind of lame. Own your choices." I wholeheartedly agree with this.

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Thans Dave, thats what we keep telling ourselves. That the condiment is just a drop in the ocean. And finding chinese condiments without MSG? Ha! Will keep a closer lookout though Dr K, we're Indians and we get a nearly daily dose of turmeric someway or the other :)

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Thans Dave, thats what we keep telling ourselves. That the condiment is just a drop in the ocean. And finding chinese condiments without MSG? Ha! Will keep a closer lookout though Dr K, we're Indians and we get a nearly daily dose of turmeric someway or the other :)

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:38 PM

Yes, we know that they have all these ingredients but what we keep telling ourselves is that they add just less than 1% to the end product. Oh, but the taste...:) You can see why its so difficult to give up

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Sigh, would love to go the DIY way but will be difficult to do so unless some time can be wrangled on the weekends. Thanks for the link, looks like an interesting first project

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:58 PM

many good fish sauces can also have little sugar, not much but about 1%.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:34 PM

Condiments happen to be loaded with bad ingredients. If you're going to keep using them use mustard.......it's got the turmeric and usually garbage free

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 11, 2011
at 01:26 PM

Just do your best and be okay with that. Smallish amounts of soy and sugar may not be a problem, but I would watch out for the MSG. Try to find alternatives, as suggested below - but don't make your self crazy.

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11 Answers

12
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on May 11, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Anyone can give up anything. Convincing yourself it doesn't matter is kind of lame. Own your choices. You don't want to give up the condiments you love. Personally I think that's fine. All you can do is all you can do. I never think it is wise to push yourself so hard that you are unhappy with your food. If you are not in a place to give up your beloved condiments then you are not. I can't say it doesn't matter. It matters to me but so what? The only thing that matters is does it matter to you.

So maybe you don't have the bandwidth to deal with finding new condiments that are compliant or the time to start making your own. That's o.k. You don't have it today but maybe tomorrow or next week or 6 months from now you will. You know you aren't giving 100% and that knowledge tends to gnaw at us over time. So see what happens.

There are at least a few acceptable fish sauce offering on the market so start reading labels. That's an easy one to fix.

Maybe start reading condiment labels in general and see if there isn't something new on the market that you've not tried and give it a go? Make it part of the adventure to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit and look for new things to love so you might be able to let go of some of the things you currently love that don't quite fit with your new food plan. Or try playing around with your own creations made from acceptable ingredients. I make my own and freeze them in ice cube trays then they go into a baggy in the freezer. It's not hard but it does take a bit more time than opening a bottle.

65660697ed243c7980725fd014eb00e0

(494)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:35 PM

"Anyone can give up anything. Convincing yourself it doesn't matter is kind of lame. Own your choices." I wholeheartedly agree with this.

2
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on May 11, 2011
at 07:03 PM

There are some great recipes out there for fermented mayo (lasts 8wks and is great!!) also ketchup, mustards, relish, etc. I think its a slow process to get to the point where you are 100% or even 80% for some.

Take your time, make the adjustments slowly and at your pace. Change what you can change, don't worry about the other little things, just keep them of little emphasis. Use your 20% cheat here if thats where you want to.

For those with food allergies its more important, but perhaps in your situation you feel a bit of guilt knowing that its not a legal product. Any changes you make will be for the better! Good luck!!

2
1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 11, 2011
at 06:42 PM

I'm of the opinion that it's only a problem if you want it to be. I would look up recipes on how to make your own sauces if you're that worried about it. If you get that much enjoyment out of them, then indulge. There's no one policing you but yourself.

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on May 12, 2011
at 03:41 PM

I totally agree with both your statement that it's only a problem if you want it to be but also with Shari's up above, that "anyone can give up anything...etc." You have to choose to do what you can live with...not someone else's idea of perfection. "Own your choices".."There's no one policing you but yourself"...two very wise statements that help me as well. Thank you!

2
Medium avatar

(12379)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:40 PM

I find a good replacement for oyster sauce in recipes is a mix of wheat free tamari, japanese fish flakes, chinese five spice and some raw honey. It definitely gets the sweet, salty, fishy flavour that the oyster sauce provides without the extra crap.

At our house we use wheat free tamari or Braggs liquid, as they are both readily available where we live, I would love to try Coconut aminos, but can't buy them here yet, and don't feel like paying through the nose for shipping.

I think the main thing that you will need to do is shop a round a bit and read all the labels - then choose your best option.

Good luck!!!

2
D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

on May 11, 2011
at 12:48 PM

Of course I would imagine any change would benefit, however I really had to do the 30 day challenge with no slips (100%). I had too many health issues to contend with, and I'm convinced that it is actually easier for me now (60 days later) to eliminate the foods that I know are responsible for years of pain and suffering in my life. I wouldn't play around, mostly because I can't! Don't let that discourage you - perhaps you and your wife can tolerate these small "cheats" - your bodies will probably let you know!

1
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on May 13, 2011
at 03:49 PM

I would avoid all artificial ingredients - MSG,colors, preservatives, etc. The condiments should be gluten-free.

Some celiac forums including a close person I know have had problems with gluten cross contamination in both home-cooked and restaurant Indian food (even with gluten-free menus) because the imported Indian spices have been corrupted using wheat flour as thickener/anti-caking agent (also cheaper). Some spice companies are not listing it. I witnessed in India a spice and flour factory that grinds spices on the same machines as grains (including wheat)! South and East India which are more rice-eating are somewhat better because spices are more likely to have rice cross-contamination then wheat (eaten more in the North and West).

A doctor in India notoriously told me that turmeric used in all Indian cooking (and some Middle Eastern) was corrupted with wheat flour. Those cooking for very sensitive individuals wash/rinse the spices then lay them in the sun to dry or grind the spices personally themselves. I personally find it easier to use the websites below to obtain gluten-free spices, and Whole Foods sells some organic spices that are gluten-free.

Another good reason to be Paleo is avoiding grains and legumes which are frequently cross-contaminated with gluten! If you are gluten-sensitive Paleo/Primal watch out what you eat as cheat meals. I have seen properly labeled Indian legumes such as dals, chick peas, gram, rice, beans garbanzos, etc. cross-contaminated with wheat at Whole Foods. However, the equivalent at the Indian grocery store has no proper label so I assume all products are cross-contaminated UNLESS they label otherwise.

http://www.coeliac.ie/webboards/viewtopic.php?t=4686&sid=f0a71bdedf9a1fa6c0dd19cd1404212c

http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/71678-what-are-the-easiest-countries-to-live-gluten-free/

I use a grinder to ground up fresh ginger, garlic, and/or green chili and add a little sea salt so that the paste can stay fresh up to a week in the fridge. Then I can use it in various recipes.

Spicely Spices has a lot of Ethnic Spices like Indian, Asian & European. They are FDA inspected, Kosher-Certified, Vegan-Certified, Gluten-Free Certified. They are 100% gluten-free, Non-GMO,and have NO irradiation, artificial sweeteners, sugar, artificial color, MSG, cornstarch, corn syrup, potato flour, citric acid, hydrogenated oils.

Seasoning Blends http://www.spicely.com/store?page=shop.browse&category_id=8

Organic Spices http://www.spicely.com/store?page=shop.browse&category_id=6

Natural Spices http://www.spicely.com/store?page=shop.browse&category_id=16

Check Thai Kitchen and Eden for Gluten-Free condiments but watch the added sugar - read labels carefully. I don't use the condiments with added sweetener. These have no added sweetener/preservatives: Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce, Green Curry Paste, Red Curry Paste, etc.

http://www.edenfoods.com/store/product_finder.php?char=eden_is_ng Eden Organic or Selected makes some Gluten-Free Asian sauces.

http://www.edenfoods.com/store/advanced_search_result.php?categories_id=27&inc_subcat=1&eden_is_ng=Y

Check the label (maybe they aren't all considered Paleo) but some 0 carb options are: brown rice vinegar, toasted sesame/hot pepper sesame oil, and ume plum vinegar.

Eden also carries Daikon Radish shredded (good source of potassium) and dried sliced/whole mushrooms, and various tomatoes with seasonings in jar or canned.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 12, 2011
at 01:01 PM

I would at least avoid MSG, which I think is basically poisonous. Aside from insulin spikes and weight gain, it has also been linked to neurological problems including headaches and seizures. MSG is in a lot of condiments, and for me even one tiny micro-gram is too much.

I cook mostly French and Euro style food, with occasional Asian/Chinese/Thai, and the only condiment I use is soy sauce (and mustard, if that counts, though the stuff I buy is nothing more than crushed mustard seeds and vinegar) and only infrequently, and I don't feel that I am suffering at all in terms of convenience or flavor. Your basic saute-plus-pan-sauce is completely Paleo-friendly (meat seasoned with salt+pepper sauteed in fat, add butter/shallots/mushrooms/herbs to the pan, deglaze with wine/stock) and requires no condiments.

The Chinese and Indian recipes that I follow usually start with oil, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, then the ingredients, and then water, wine, or bone broth to make a sauce.

In other words, I think it is just as quick and delicious to cook this style of food without any condiments at all. The only technique you need is the "fond" -- getting the pan covered with browned, not burned, bits of what you are cooking (which are really crystals), and then dissolving that in a liquid to make a sauce. This is the "original condiment", and the stuff that comes out of bottles is just a chemical-laden shortcut for this.

1
2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on May 11, 2011
at 12:18 PM

A soy substitute? Here's one that sounds good. (no wheat or soy) http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/soy-sauce-substitute/Detail.aspx

Can't you make your own fish sauce and freeze it?

You can always use tomato paste in place of ketchup. and make your own naturally fermented mayonnaise, which will keep in the fridge. Good base for dressings and such.

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Sigh, would love to go the DIY way but will be difficult to do so unless some time can be wrangled on the weekends. Thanks for the link, looks like an interesting first project

1
7b494127ac67e85e572c5222aaee9b4d

(668)

on May 11, 2011
at 11:06 AM

Standard Soy Sauce:

Wheat Soy

= Bad

Oyster Sauce:

Sugar Cornstarch MSG

= Bad

Once in a blue moon a little bit of these sauces probably won't hurt you, but if you're using them on a daily basis it's definitely going to be a hindrance.

You're in India - I guess you have plenty of spices to season your food with?

On the other hand, Fish sauce:

Buy brands that have only anchovies and salt as ingredients

That's not unhealthy!

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 11, 2011
at 04:38 PM

Yes, we know that they have all these ingredients but what we keep telling ourselves is that they add just less than 1% to the end product. Oh, but the taste...:) You can see why its so difficult to give up

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on May 11, 2011
at 02:58 PM

many good fish sauces can also have little sugar, not much but about 1%.

0
8b982d4beccca9fcb85affe8d4bd4ff2

(1585)

on May 15, 2011
at 07:30 PM

I am addicted to curry! But nothing int he curry I use is naughty so let the curry flow! Maybe you look to other healthy alternatives? Branch out and try something new, don't stagnate!

0
967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49

(688)

on May 12, 2011
at 03:27 AM

Instead of soy sauce what about coconut aminos?

Ce238498df04185f7f45d15f4b8ea501

(35)

on May 13, 2011
at 09:09 AM

Not available anywhere near India unfortunately

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on May 13, 2011
at 03:54 PM

I don't know how Paleo it is but I've used this instead of soy-sauce and it tastes great in recipes. It's gluten-free, soy-free, and 0-carb. http://www.coconutsecret.com/aminos2.html

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