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Eating bland chicken, dry steak, and undressed steamed vegetables gets old quick. Yet many bodybuilders continuously shovel flavorless food down their throats in fear that any and all add-ons will jeopardize their physiques. Along with herbs and spices, condiments used as dips, spreads, and dressings can spruce up dull fare without causing total diet annihilation—especially when they’re homemade. Many store-bought condiments rely on synthetic ingredients and sugar to create a longer shelf life and boost flavor. Unfortunately, those same ingredients can kill your shred.

The DIY condiments we’re offering replace some of those lab-derived ingredients with better options that put you in control. Now you’ll know exactly what’s going onto your food and into your body. To make them, all you need are a handful of fresh ingredients, a blender or food processor, and a dash of patience. No goofy chef’s hat or apron required.

 BARBECUE SAUCE 

SERVES 8

Many BBQ sauces are sugary and contain emulsifiers—additives that keep ingredients from separating. A study published in the journal Nature found that emulsifiers altered the makeup of bacteria in the colon, leaving subjects (in the study, mice) more susceptible to diseases associated with gut inflammation. Our BBQ sauce upgrade relies on natural sweeteners like pureed dates, which provide you with fat-fighting fiber, and a potassium and magnesium boost.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup plain tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 shallots,finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place dates into a bowl filled with 1/2 cup of hot water, let soak 30 minutes, then blend all ingredients until smooth. Put the mixture into a partially covered saucepan over medium heat and let simmer. Stir occasionally until slightly thickened. Let cool, then transfer to a sealable container.

PER SERVING

  • CALORIES: 45
  • PROTEIN: 1g
  • CARBS: 11g
  • FATS: 0g

 

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 RANCH DRESSING 

SERVES 4

Many store-bought ranch dressings rely on vegetable oil, corn syrup, and chemically altered starches to improve texture. Our ranch includes Greek yogurt and more buttermilk than traditional recipes to up the protein content.

INGEDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

Add yogurt, buttermilk, garlic, vinegar, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper into a mixing bowl; whisk. Add more yogurt or buttermilk, respectively, if the mixture is too watery or thick. Toss in dill, and stir. Transfer mixture to a glass jar, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

PER SERVING

  • CALORIES: 40
  • PROTEIN: 5g
  • CARBS: 3g
  • FATS: 1g

 

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 CHIPOTLE KETCHUP 

SERVES 6

Subbing in sun-dried tomatoes and chipotle peppers for sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup provides an intense, natural tomato flavor with a kick of heat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 small chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Place tomatoes into a mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups boiling water and cover for 30 minutes or until soft. Place all ingredients into a blender; blend to a smooth paste. (If it’s too pasty, add water in 1-tbsp amounts until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a glass jar, seal it, and allow the mixture to chill at least 24 hours. Use for up to two weeks.

PER SERVING

  • CALORIES: 30
  • PROTEIN: 0.5g
  • CARBS: 5g
  • FATS: 1g

 

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 GARLIC YOGURT MAYONNAISE 

SERVES 4

Commercial mayo is high in fat, pro-inflammatory omega-6 oils, and artificial ingredients. Low-fat and low-calorie mayonnaises are high in sugar. Using Greek yogurt provides you with probiotics to aid gut and immune health and bolster fat-burning efforts. And, garlic and olive oil can help keep cholesterol numbers in check and control insulin levels.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Place unpeeled garlic cloves in a microwave-safe dish with olive oil. Nuke them with high heat for 1 to 1.5 minutes or until soft. Peel the garlic cloves, mash with a garlic press, and finely chop. Mix together garlic, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Chill for up to one week.

PER SERVING

  • CALORIES: 62
  • PROTEIN: 6g
  • CARBS: 4g
  • FATS: 2g

 

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 DIJON MUSTARD 

SERVES 12

Mustard seeds are full of magnesium and the antioxidant selenium; the duo has been shown to reduce inflammation and ward off muscle pain. In-store mustards routinely add vinegar to their formula, which can cut down on the amount of selenium and dilute the mustardy flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard powder
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Put ingredients into a glass jar or stainless-steel bowl. Cover, and let stand for two to three days at room temperature. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add warm water in 1-tbsp increments if the mustard is too thick. Transfer to a glass jar, seal shut, and refrigerate for up to one month.

PER SERVING

  • CALORIES: 40
  • PROTEIN: 1g
  • CARBS: 3.5g
  • FATS: 1g

 

 FLEX