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Savory Substitutes

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Savory Substitutes

Substitute Fats, Sugars and Salts with Herbs and Spices for a More Mindful Bite

Food companies tend to pile on the salt, sugar and fat to keep you coming back for more- they want you addicted! And it works- those rushes of dopamine and pleasure are what keep us coming back to the things we eat with a guilty conscience.


But our food already has its own symphony of flavor and we don’t need all of that extra noise. Unfortunately, we can’t always hear it because salt, sugar and fat bring such a racket! Try to tone it down a bit and see what happens- you will start to enjoy a much wider variety of tastes and appreciate the instruments of nourishment. Your health will thank you!


Here’s a list of some Top Contenders


Here are some flavor-boosters that replace the fillers with nutrients and taste great!

Vinegar - curbs calorie intake throughout the day (up to 16%), and the acetic acid helps control blood pressure, blood sugar levels and curbs fat accumulation.


Black Pepper - Stimulates the nervous system which stimulates digestion and metabolism. it also promotes the absorption of certain anti-inflammatories by up to 2000 times, like the active component of Tumeric.


Garlic - Garlic’s benefits are endless, but for starters, besides having a wide array of flavor profiles depending on the cooking method, it fights bacteria (also anti-viral) and boosts immunity. **Put it in after cooking as well- heat can denature some of the immunity boosting properties.


Onion - Minimum calories, maximum flavor! This can be sued fresh, dried, caramelized…It adds so much flavor and without the guilt.


Citrus Zest - AZ state University researchers found that fat oxidation in the boy can be directly related to the amount of Vitamin C in the bloodstream, and that one TBSP of citrus zest/week can reduce the risk of certain types of skin cancer by 30%.


Cinnamon - Boosts metabolism of glucose and cholesterol, and one tsp of cinnamon has more antioxidant properties than a cup of blueberries. Try adding it to your shake, cereal or coffee for a boost.


Ginger - Anti-inflammatory properties. Dried powdered ginger is event better, believe it or not. Try it with chicken, salad dressings, soups, etc.


Parsley - Has Vitamins C and A, Calcium and TONS of bioflavanoids (antioxidants)!


Rosemary - Adding this herb to red meats (if you must) also helps protect against cancer-causing HCA’s in red meats (prevents their formation).


Cilantro - Has a chemical that kills salmonella.


Oregano - Just to give you an idea- Oregano (when used fish as a rub, for example) has 40 X the antioxidant property as an apple.


Basil - Has vitamins A, C and K


Mint - has a considerable amount of vitamin A with smaller amounts of C and B vitamins and iron.


Try this Recipe - Tons of Herbs!



Fattoush Salad with Za’atar


Za’atar is based on sumac, a spice that comes from the berries of a wild bush,that grows in the Mediterranean

Za’atar has powerful antioxidant action that help to decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer. They may also aid in the prevention of macular degeneration by protecting the eyes from free radical damage.


The herbs in this salad are not simply a garnish. As you can see from the amounts called for, they are an integral ingredients that boost the nutrition content of this dish a ton!


Fattoush Salad



2 medium cucumbers, with skin

3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a combination of cherry, plum, and grape tomatoes)

2 red bell peppers

1 large red onion

3 green onions

1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

¾ cup chopped mint

raw flax crackers, flatbread, or toasted pita



1. Wash, prepare, and chop all veggies into bite-sized pieces. Wash, spin-dry herbs and chop. Place in a large bowl.

2. Pour dressing over salad, stir, and let stand for at least 30 minutes at room temperature to allow the flavours to meld.

3. Right before serving, sprinkle generously with za’atar, crumble raw flax crackers and fold into salad. Enjoy.

Fattoush Salad Dressing



¼ cup extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon (organic, un-waxed if possible!)

1 tsp. raw liquid honey or maple syrup

2 – 4 cloves garlic, minced

a couple pinches of sea salt

a pinch of black pepper



1. Put all ingredients in a jar with a light-fitting lid and shake.



You can make a raw version of this amazing topping by using raw sesame seeds. But to really bring out the awesome nutty flavour in these little guys, lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until they start to pop. Remove from heat and let cool.



¼ cup sesame seeds (raw or toasted)

¼ cup sumac

2 Tbsp. dried thyme

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

(This is a good starter amount”, but feel free to double, triple, quadruple the recipe if you want more za’atar!)



1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Funnel into a glass jar and store in a cool, dark place. 


More Ideas!


Healthy mayo substitute: Mash up an avocado, mix in 1/4 tsp of chopped oregano and the juice and zest of 1/4 lemon or lime. YUM!

Try making your own low-sodium salt” by mixing dried garlic, dried onion, a pinch of salt and some of your favorite dried herbs.


And fresh is best- fresh herbs have the most nutrients and flavor. Try these tips for growing and storing your own herbs all year long.

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