Substitution: Hot Sauce

hot sauce vs ketchupWHAT’S SO WRONG WITH KETCHUP?

On the one hand, good old fashioned ketchup is full of lycopene, the antioxidant from tomatoes that only becomes bio-available after cooking. But on the other hand, the third ingredient in organic Heinz ketchup (after organic tomato paste and organic white vinegar) is organic sugar. This adds up to 5g sugar per tablespoon, which is a lot when you consider my daughter easily eats 3 TBSP every time she sits down. Every tablespoon of ketchup has the same amount of sugar as Lindt chocolate ball, and honestly, wouldn’t you prefer to eat your sugar as a chocolate ball? 3 tablespoons of ketchup has more sugar than an ENTIRE BAR of Lindt 90% cacao chocolate – all 10 squares! Please, don’t waste sugar by eating it as a condiment.

Most non-organic commercial ketchup is made with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Obviously you are going to avoid that wherever possible.

I have tried to replace the contents of the ketchup container with a brand from the health food store that uses raw honey as its sweetener, and got no complaints from my family. Though naturally they would have complained if they knew.

One of these days I will make this fermented ketchup recipe from Nourishing Traditions, even though it’s still pretty sweet (though sweetened with maple syrup). I have also seen it made with stevia, but never tried it myself. Obviously any homemade version would have to be smuggled back into a familiar Heinz bottle.

Changing other people’s habits is a work in progress, but I can still do something about my own. So here’s what I have done to avoid ketchup:


It’s that simple. Every time I want to use ketchup, I use hot sauce instead. It doesn’t have any sugar or carbohydrates. If you are already starting off your day with The Crazy Hot Drink, then your body is probably craving spicier foods than you are used to. So give it a try. I started on Harissa, a Middle-Eastern condiment made from roasted red peppers ground with spices, sea salt and olive oil (do NOT use condiments made with soy/corn/canola oil). Then I moved on to plain old Tabasco Sauce, as it is readily available in most restaurants.


Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is mild (!) enough that I can really dump it on my eggs and if I add too much, it won’t ruin the meal. It is made of cayenne peppers, which can miraculously increase blood flow to the sickest parts of the body that need it. Frank’s does not make an organic version, which is a bummer. But it has a bright, hot flavor and you will love it! Thanks to my littlest sister for the recommendation.

But don’t worry, you can totally ferment your own hot sauce out of your own organic peppers and high quality sea salt. Check out this project!


Like cayenne powder, hot sauce is made of dried hot red peppers, so they have similar benefits as they both contain capsaicin. First of all, the spicy flavor stimulates your stomach acids and digestive juices, and also increases the mucous layer of the stomach. So this makes your digestion more efficient, but does not stimulate the appetite. In fact, the appetite can be repressed with capsaicin (which is why it is such a big part of the Master Cleanse). Secondly, the body’s response to the shocking jolt of spice is to release “natural pain killers”, or endorphins – which make you feel good like a tiny rush of opiates. And thirdly, capsaicin is thermogenic so it revs up the metabolism, and your body moves fat and glucose into the blood for your muscles to use.  It can also offer protection against some food borne pathogens – so if you are about to eat something dodgy, definitely cover it in hot sauce. Capsaicin also warms you up, clears your sinuses and reverses prostate cancer in mice.

So go ahead, put hot sauce on everything. It’s a great habit.

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One thought on “Substitution: Hot Sauce

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