Adventures in Holistic Adult and Child Psychiatry

"One only sees what one looks for, one only looks for what one knows." - Goethe

"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." - Maya Angelou

Nitrate/Nitrite Shock and Mayonnaise

Yesterday I was astonished to read Chris Kresser’s excellent blog post The Myth about Nitrates and Nitrites . Everyone knows that Nitrites/Nitrates are potentially carcinogenic. When I allowed my children to eat hot dogs or lunch meats that contained them, I felt worried. Now, according to peer reviewed studies, not only are they not harmful, but may be beneficial for immunity and heart health! Apparently the vast majority of our exposure to nitrites/nitrates comes from endogenous sources in our own bodies, particularly saliva, though we also are exposed to them through vegetables! Kresser writes,

“On average, about 93% of nitrites we get from food come from vegetables. It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs. (2) And your own saliva has more nitrites than all of them! So before you eliminate cured meats from your diet, you might want to address your celery intake. And try not to swallow so frequently.”

Isn’t this amazing? It’s seems when it comes to beliefs about what food is healthy and what is not, expect the unexpected. I never thought that I would hear that Nitrates/Nitrates are beneficial. There are so many ingrained beliefs that are erroneous; fat is bad, tofu is good, red meat is bad, whole grains are good, the list goes on and on.

Now for a complete change of subject: Mayonnaise.

Home made mayonnaise has the distinct advantage of containing only healthful ingredients. It is really difficult to find store bought mayonnaise that is not made with canola oil or soybean oil, or another inferior product. But unfortunately sometimes home made mayonnaise does not always turn out well. On occasion, in spite of my best efforts to carefully slowly drip the oil into the blender, it does not set and I am left with an oily mess. This has happened to me more than once.

Thus I was very interested to learn about a method of making mayonnaise using an immersion blender. I tried it, and it worked like a charm! It was incredibly easy, and I instantly had perfect fluffy mayonnaise. This is a really good tip. Try it. I also suggest that you add a tablespoon of whey to your mayonnaise, as it will then last for several months rather than just 2 weeks. It will become firmer over time. Here is a YouTube video with a recipe and demonstrating the technique:

Share This!

, , , , , ,

Related Posts


  1. Karen McInerney, 3 years ago Reply

    About those nitrites, please, Chris Kresser read a few studies and called himself scientific, but I don’t think so. He ignores the nitrosamines that are formed during the process of curing the meat with sodium nitrite. Nitrosamines are implicated in too many disease states to list here. To compare that process with naturally occuring nitrites in saliva or celery is childish wordplay and dangerous to people who think he is qualified to report on studies. He needs to monitor himself and for you to then pass on his dangerous babble is disappointing to say the least. I’m sorry I sound angry but I am angry.

    • judytsafrirmd, 3 years ago Reply

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for taking the time to write and to raise your concerns and disagreement.

      None of us can really be sure about another person’s work. An article can seem credible and quote excellent sources, but there is so much information out there, that its easy to find answers that you believe in and write a really convincing article about it.

      I discussed your concerns with another physician/researcher, Dr Georgia Ede, who has also written about nitrates and nitrosamines. She also mentions nitrosamines reputation as carcinogenic. Here is the link:
      and a quote:

      “Nitrates and nitrites themselves have not been shown to cause cancer; however, they can react with proteins in the meat to form nitrosamines, which are known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. The addition of special antioxidants during processing cuts down on this chemical reaction and reduces the amount of nitrosamine formed, but doesn’t eliminate it completely. Therefore it is best to choose fresh, unprocessed meats when possible.

      It may also be wise to limit intake of vegetables that are very high in nitrates, such as spinach and celery. Bacteria in our saliva convert vegetable nitrates into nitrites, which we swallow. These nitrites can then react with proteins in our stomach to form nitrosamines, exactly the same way they do during meat processing. These nitrosamines are potential carcinogens; this is why some researchers believe that diets high in nitrates are associated with increasing rates of stomach cancer.”

      Would you be interested in writing to Chris Kresser and taking up your skepticism regarding his claims with him? It would be interesting to hear what he would have to say. It would be of help to all.

      By the way, for those following the GAPS healing protocol, Dr. Natasha also cautions against cured and processed meats as unsuitable for anyone with GAPS conditions. The Weston A Price foundation is also not in favor of them, so you are in good company.

      Thanks again for going to the trouble to post a comment. We all want to be doing what is best for all of us nutritionally, and you are helping all of us figure that out by getting involved and voicing your perspective.

  2. Betsy MacMichael, 3 years ago Reply

    You know I love mayo- will try this soon!

  3. Andy, 3 years ago Reply

    Seems to me that there’s hardly a consensus on whether or not nitrates are harmful, and I plan to limit my intake. No less than the Weston A. Price Foundation seems to subscribe to the beliefs that Kresser is challenging, saying: “it is well known that nitrates and nitrites are weak mutagens and carcinogens. Moreover, consumption of such a nitrite- or nitrate-containing food may lead to the production of nitrosoamines, also carcinogenic, in our stomachs” at In addition, Wikipedia, which usually cites only well-established science, notes several toxic effects, including a blood oxygen disorder called methemoglobinemia, at the page

  4. Christa Lindström, 3 years ago Reply

    Hi,Judy, astonishing news. By the way, I like your style.

    • judytsafrirmd, 3 years ago Reply

      Christa, Do you have an immersion blender. You will be amazed at how quickly the oil turns into beautiful mayonnaise.

    • judytsafrirmd, 3 years ago Reply

      Christa, Do you have an immersion blender? You will be amazed at how quickly the oil turns into beautiful mayonnaise.

Leave a Reply