Years ago, when my husband found out he was allergic to gluten, my first naive thought was, “Well, he’s not much of a bread eater anyway…” But it quickly dawned on me that gluten wasn’t just in our bread — it was hiding in dressings, sauces, and seasonings under lots of sneaky names, like:
- artificial flavors
- ground spices
- natural flavors
- rice syrup
(For more gluten-including ingredients, click here.)
Not long after, we found out that several in our family had an issue with candida. Refined sugar and for a while, natural sugars, were off limits. This was when we started reading the labels on everything. No matter how pure or healthy it claimed to be, we still flipped it over and scoured the ingredient list. It didn’t take more than a couple of glances to come across ingredients I wasn’t familiar with.
I started digging into what they actually were. And soon I wasn’t only concerned about gluten and sugar, but by all the other ingredients! My list of which ones to avoid started growing almost faster than I could write them down. For instance, have you heard of…?
I’ve always heard the don’t-eat-anything-you-can’t-pronounce adage. While that’s mostly true, carrageenan is a word I can pronounce… but I wouldn’t eat it if it was covered in ice cream. Which, by the way, it usually is. 🙂
Carrageenan is an additive found in a lot of dairy products (and substitute dairy products) like ice cream, sour cream, etc., and other packaged and processed foods that cause tissue inflammation. In fact, scientists use it to cause inflammation.
“Carrageenan, which is a substance that is actually used by scientists to cause inflammatory colitis (holes and inflammation in the intestines) in laboratory rats, is a very common food additive in countless packaged foods that can wreak havoc on your intestines… carrageenan is extremely inflammatory in the gut and as such, will CAUSE a stress response in your body.” –bestselling author Ari Whitten, Metabolism Supercharge
Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1982 identified sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of degraded carrageenan in animals to regard it as posing a carcinogenic risk to humans, carrageenan is still used widely as a thickener, stabilizer, and texturizer in a variety of processed foods prevalent in the Western diet. (source)
Soybean oil is quite common in store-bought dressings and is another no-no on my list. For one, soy contains goitrogens which lead to depressed thyroid function. If you’re someone who struggles with thyroid issues, you’ll want to avoid this like the plague and look into some maca root to help balance it out.
Soybean oil is also a polyunsaturated oil. Research has indicated that excess amounts are linked to:
- heart disease
- depressed learning
- immune system impairment
- severe, potentially fatal food allergies
- digestive disorders
- weight gain
There’s nothing like a limited menu and the realization of what we’re eating to make us appreciate the delicious alternatives to processed foods. As I’ve learned more about food, ingredients, and health, I’ve gained a new appreciation for cooking from scratch.
The label reading was a hidden blessing all along. Now I can feed my family safe dressings, sauces, and seasonings without worrying the ingredients or adverse effects in our bodies. I’m so excited to share these 45 alternative recipes from whole food bloggers around the net.
11 Homemade Dressings
- Sugar-Free Mustard Dressing from Whole Intentions
- Russian Dressing from Little House Living
- Creamy Salad Dressing from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Allergy-Free Ranch Dressing from Whole New Mom
- Creamy Parmesan Dressing from Intoxicated on Life
- Sweet & Tangy Dressing from A Proverbs 31 Wife
- Red Raspberry Salad Dressing from Richly Rooted
- Raisin Vinaigrette from My Cultured Palate
- Sugar-Free French Dressing from Whole Intentions
- Southwest Spicy Ranch Dressing from Intoxicated on Life
- Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing from Intoxicated on Life
17 Homemade Sauces and Condiments
- Homemade Pizza Sauce from Whole Intentions
- Prune Ketchup from My Cultured Palate
- Marinara Sauce from The Ezer Wife
- Homemade BBQ Sauce from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Homemade Sour Cream from Whole Intentions
- Mayonnaise, Lacto-Fermented from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Lacto-Fermented Ketchup from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Caramel Sauce from The Ezer Wife
- Homemade Cream Cheese from Whole Intentions
- Homemade Cultured and Flavored Cream Cheese from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Worcestershire Sauce from Little House Living
- Whole Tomato Ketchup from The Ezer Wife
- Lacto-Fermented Honey-Dill Mustard from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- 3 Fermented Mustard Recipes from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Plum Sauce from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Stunning and Nourishing Cranberry Sauces from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Lacto-Fermented Cranberry-Apple-Orange Relish from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Cranberry Orange Relish from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
8 Homemade Seasoning Mixes
- Herb Seasoning Salt (similar to Herbamare) from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Traditional Chinese Five Spice Powder from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- 2-Minute Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
- Poultry Seasoning Mix from The Humbled Homemaker
- Homemade Sausage Seasoning from Whole Intentions
- Homemade Allspice Alternative from The Humbled Homemaker
- Basic Chili Powder from Whole New Mom
- Homemade Taco Seasoning from Whole Intentions
- Pumpkin Pie Spice from The Humbled Homemaker
- Ranch Dressing Mix from Little House Living
Homemade seasoning mixes make great homemade real food gifts.
Enjoy! What are you favorite homemade seasonings, sauces, and mixes? Feel free to add your favorite recipes in the comments!
- Metabolism Supercharge
- Nourishing Traditions
- Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments
- Carrageenan-Induced Colonic Inflammation Is Reduced in Bcl10 Null Mice and Increased in IL-10-Deficient Mice
- Carrageenan: How a ‘Natural’ Food Additive is Making Us Sick
- Soybean Oil: One of the Most Harmful Ingredients in Processed Foods
- The Hidden Dangers of Soy Allergens
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