Let me tell you I’ve had worse addictions and habits than tomato ketchup in my time and even I am wondering what’s making me write about tomato ketchup?

I’m not in a ketchup crisis anymore, my last one was a couple of years ago whilst on a retreat, I had a huge wave of emotion come up and wanted to cry because there was no ketchup for my scrambled eggs.  I’m better now, even though I haven’t given it up completely.

I started to think about my love of ketchup whilst writing a supermarket shopping guidance document for my high vibe healthy living plan.  This shopping document covers just about everything to buy at the supermarket so you can be the healthiest person you possibly can without depriving yourself, I really don’t believe in giving up the things you enjoy.

I believe in transforming rather than conforming to something that may cause you to feel deprived.

I used to have some really weird habits when it came to ketchup. I haven’t ever added it to cereals or deserts and a tomato ketchup sandwich on its own never appealed to me, but I did used to like it on curries.

Oh gosh this has caused some offence to others over the years, it seemed putting ketchup on curries is a very bad thing to do!!  It wasn’t just curries either, but this was the one that seemed to be the worst ketchup crime. Oh and Sunday dinners didn’t go down too well with others too when I put a huge blob of ketchup next to the Yorkshire pudding!

I wasn’t ever prepared to give it up even if it offended people. I wasn’t prepared to feel bad about it and I definitely wasn’t going to start judging myself because others thought my ketchup habit was wrong or weird. As far as I was concerned it was their problem, not mine.

As I got deeper into my healthy eating journey and more knowledgeable about nutrition and what worked for me, I realised there was a couple of biggies that mattered the most in defining “healthy” and “unhealthy”.

These two things were the added sugar content and the artificial ingredients, as these are the two things that cause cravings for more, hormone inbalances and weight gain.

In the grand scheme of things tomato ketchup isn’t that bad for artificial ingredients, though it’s not good on added sugar, which probably explained why I needed so much of it, I craved more because of the sugar content.

As I began to cook from scratch and learn about nutrition I began using more herbs and spices to make foods tastier, the desire for ketchup became less and I began to cut down, naturally.

I stopped adding it to curries, stews and sneaking half a bottle into home made soups, chillies and pasta dishes.

I began to appreciate why people couldn’t understand that I asked for ketchup all the time. To me it was just a habit, but to them it was like saying “your food isn’t tasty enough”.

I haven’t conformed to become a “no ketchup” person, though I have transformed to using a higher quality ketchup that I only add to certain foods that seem ketchup acceptable (like chips) and I no longer get comments on the amount I use.

I have transformed but not conformed.

One good way to transform food habits to healthier options is to look at the added ingredients. A simple way to tell is to look at the label and if there are more than 4/5 ingredients listed that you have no idea what they are and they are hard to pronounce then it’s likely they are full of chemical crap that will cause cravings.

Also knowing that one tsp of added sugar is 4 grams is useful too. The MAXIMUM amount of added recommended is 37 grams for men (9 teaspoons) and 25g for women (6 teaspoons). This is per day.

As for other people’s opinions, there are 4 things that I believe are NO-ONE else’s business and they are parenting, religion, sexuality and food choices.

When it came to the offence my ketchup habit caused others, I could have hidden it or felt guilty and bad about it. Actually none of these things occurred to me, just gimme the ketchup and be quiet.

In my own way, in my own time I began to explore making my food tastier. Through doing this I owned my habits, my decisions and found my own outcome. No approval needed.

It’s all about finding your own unique way, whether it’s a small thing like ketchup or a big life changing habit. You are the expert of you.

Sometimes though, we all need a helping hand. I had a coach myself when I quit my binge drinking habit as I needed accountability on that one.

Sometimes we need to be asked the right questions, without judgement to find our own answers.

If you have a desire to make your unique transformation to change the habits that prevent you looking better, feeling better or functioning better then reach out to me here