Bacon gets a bad rap because most commercial bacons are very low quality, made with:
Added sugar (usually refined/GMO).
Synthetic/artificial (versus natural) nitrates.
Synthetic pink curing salts. Note: this should not to be confused with Himalayan pink salt.
We Love Bacon, So We Make Our Own To Avoid The Bad Stuff.
Our bacon contains three ingredients, and that’s it:
NO added sugars or sweeteners
NO added chemicals
NO artificial pink curing salts
[Website In Beta - Under Construction]
THE ISSUE: Unregulated Poultry Claims.
In our experience and from speaking with the experts, it is way too easy for poultry farms to not follow through on the promises they claim (e.g. non-GMO-feed, the animals being “free-range”, etc.).
Without the USDA-Organic Certification, there is no way to truly ensure any of the claims typically touted by poultry producers. We understand that the USDA Certification is not perfect, but it is still the best, cleanest option out there, and it is regulated.
HU’s APPROACH: USDA-Certified Organic Poultry.
We source USDA-Certified Organic chicken and poultry that is regulated to ensure, among many other things, that the products are:
Fed only non-GMO feed
THE ISSUE: Most Commercial Chocolates Contain Ingredients We Do Not Use At Hu.
These banned ingredients include:
Conventional sweeteners, such as cane sugar, beet sugar, etc.
Emulsifiers, usually soy lecithin
HU’S APPROACH: We Make Our Own Hu-Style Chocolate.
When we were developing the Hu Kitchen menu in 2012, we needed a Hu-compliant, delicious baking chocolate for our baked goods. We personally didn’t care for the harsher taste of most dark chocolates, so we made our own. It turned out to be really good, so we decided to develop our now-famous paleo/vegan line of chocolate bars.
“Hu-style” chocolate is a delicious, mild, warmer-toned chocolate that contains:
NO Cane or Refined Sugar: we sweeten with unrefined organic coconut sugar.
NO Emulsifiers: emulsifiers in chocolate (typically soy lecithin) are used to increase shelf life and give an even more “velvety” mouthfeel. Since we do not use emulsifiers or soy at Hu, they are not in our chocolate.
NO Soy: Soy is not an ingredient we use at Hu, so it (or anything derived from it, like soy lecithin) is not in our chocolate.
NO Dairy: The only dairy milk at Hu is the organic milk at our Hu Kitchen restaurant coffee stations.
NO Sugar Alcohols: These sweeteners give us a stomach ache and unpleasant digestive issues (TMI?), so we don’t use them.
THE ISSUE: Industrialized Farmed Fish.
Farmed fish are often fed a variety of things that are foreign to the natural diet of fish, like grains and soy. Most significantly, this reduces the ratio of Omega 3 fats to Omega 6 fats relative to the ratio found in wild fish. A higher ratio of Omega 3 fats is much healthier for humans.
Farmed fish is also typically subject to a range of antibiotics, pesticides, and artificial dyes, which ultimately make their way onto our plates and into our bodies.
While some farmed fish might be ok, most are not.
HU’S APPROACH: Wild-Caught Fish Only.
Wild fish is significantly more expensive than farmed fish is, but the health benefits are worth the cost.
While a number of good fish farms have arisen, the issue is that it is often difficult to truly know whether that "Farmed Salmon" comes from the good farm or the bad farm - so we don't take the chance. All of our fish is wild.
Organic Fair-Trade Coffee
THE ISSUE: 1) Heavy Pesticide Use On Conventional Coffee & 2) Chemically-Decaffeinated Coffee.
Conventional coffee is regarded as one of the most chemically-treated crops on the planet, but not many companies talk about it, and not enough people know about it.
With regard to decaffeinated coffee, the non-organic type typically uses harsh chemicals to remove the caffeine – usually a mix of methylene chloride and ethyl acetate.
Going organic with your coffee is one of the easiest ways to lessen the daily chemical load on your body.
Our USDA-Certified Organic decaf coffee uses a mechanical, water-based steam process (not chemicals) to remove the caffeine.
THE ISSUE: Not All Tea Is As Pure As People Think it is.
Conventional teas often have unsavory, GMO ingredients hidden within the term “natural flavors.” Tea has been generally marketed as pure and healing - but a lot of it is not because of other, often unknown ingredients.
Many conventional teas have high pesticide residues, artificial ingredients, added flavors, and GMOs.
HU’s APPROACH: USDA-Certified Organic Tea.
As we investigated, we learned what could be lurking in non-organic tea unbeknownst to consumers. This was directly contradictory to the healing, detoxifying benefits of quality tea. The USDA Organic Certification ensures that all ingredients, including less regulated “natural flavors,” are as clean as possible.
Organic Kombucha On Tap
THE ISSUE: Fermented Foods Are Extremely Healthy, But Often Difficult To Find And Consume Conveniently.
HU’S APPROACH: Organic Kombucha Conveniently On Tap.
We feature USDA-Certified Organic Kombucha on tap in an array of rotating seasonal flavors, like:
Sea Salt Only
THE ISSUE: Junky Salts & Chemical Additives.
Most commercial sea salts contain chemical anti-caking agents. Dextrose is also starting to show up in some commercial sea salts. These things are never mentioned on a typical restaurant menu.
Compared to using low quality cooking salts, it is far more expensive to cook from start to finish with high-quality sea salt with no artificial additives.
But restaurants know that customers want to see "sea salt" on the ingredient list, so the trick is to cook with the low quality stuff in the kitchen and then sprinkle a final dish with sea salt to claim that it is used.
HU’S APPROACH: Sun-Dried Sea Salt Only - From Start To Finish.
For cooking at Hu, we use sun-dried sea salt that contains no chemical additives and no chemical anti-caking agents.
We use this sea salt as our cooking salt from start to finish – not just as a “finishing” salt. This is much more costly than using junky salts behind the scenes and then only "finishing" with sea salt, but it’s worth it from a health and quality perspective.
Cooking Oil = Coconut Oil
See also “NO Canola or Vegetable Oils”
THE ISSUE: Cheap Canola & Vegetable Cooking Oils Used Behind The Scenes.
Quality cooking oil is one of those things traditionally ignored by the restaurant industry. Why? Because the junky stuff is so cheap and profitable. And customers rarely ask about it - but they should.
Canola and vegetable cooking oils are generally highly-processed, inflammatory oils that most restaurants cook their food in, and there is mounting evidence that they do not do a body good.
On a personal note, these oils leave us with a “bloated” feeling that lasts for many hours after eating them. We didn’t realize this until we cut canola/vegetable oils from our diet.
HU’S APPROACH: We Cook With Coconut Oil And Ban All Canola/Vegetable Oils.
This is far more expensive than using the aforementioned canola/vegetable oils, but it is a much higher quality product.
Real Extra Virgin Olive Oil
THE ISSUE: Olive Oil With Added Vegetable Oils.
In researching ingredients for Hu, we were stunned to learn the following two things:
Bottled olive oil is subject to a lot of fraud. Some reports estimate that 70% of bottled “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” has cheap canola/vegetable oils purposefully added to it to increase profitability.
Many restaurants will claim to be using “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” but add significant amounts of cheap canola/vegetable oils to their products to make them more profitable.
HU’s APPROACH: Verified Extra Virgin Olive Oil With No Other Oils Added.
When we say “Extra Virgin Olive Oil,” that’s exactly what we mean. Our olive oil is olive oil. No other junky oils added.
THE ISSUE: We Personally Feel Better Minimizing Grains.
Grain consumption is one of the most hotly - and passionately - discussed topics in nutrition and lifestyle today. Without getting preachy or “science-y” on the topic, we simply implement at Hu what our own personal experience has taught us.
We are not “anti-grain” fanatics; we just like how alternative carb sources make us feel and look. In our experience, grains give us a post-meal bloat and a general fatigue after eating them. Utilizing vegetables and fruits as our main carb sources always makes us feel better.
Currently, the only grains at Hu are in our: morning oatmeal; a few 3rd party products; and in our organic corn salad because, well, we think fresh corn is delicious and consider it a pretty low offender when it's not heavily processed.
We introduce new grain dishes on occasion, but they are always gluten-free.
Most importantly, we do not hide grain-based flours in our recipes.
See also “NO Conventional Sweeteners.”
THE ISSUE: Poor-Quality Sugars.
Sugar, for good reason, has become public enemy #1. However, we love to occasionally indulge in sweet things, and we always will. We think, in a healthy lifestyle, a little bit of sweetness isn't too bad, especially if you are exercising and moving your body regularly.
HU’S APPROACH: Fruit-Based And Unrefined/High-Quality Sweeteners.
In our own lives, we choose to use only certain sweeteners that make us feel better than others do and that don't give us a sluggish “crash.” We adopt the same approach at Hu.
Our favorite sweeteners are:
fruits, like dates and figs
tubers, like sweet potatoes
When we aren’t using fruit-based sweeteners, we stick with:
raw unfiltered honey
unrefined organic coconut sugar
You can choose to listen to all the dogma and articles out there on the topic of sweeteners, but we do not - we simply experimented and went with what made us feel good.
For a full list of what we do not use at Hu, see “NO Conventional Sweeteners.”
THE ISSUE: Unlabeled, Suspect Ingredients Hidden In Condiments.
Condiments are typically where hidden, poor-quality sugars, preservatives, added gums/lecithins, vegetable/canola oils, and chemical additives lurk. Restaurant consumers never know about these things because the ingredients are never listed.
HU’S APPROACH: We Make Our Own Condiments Or Source Compliant Products.
Our housemade condiments contain:
NO hidden added sugar
NO vegetable/canola oils
NO chemical additives
When there is a bit of sweetness in a Hu condiment (e.g. our barbecue sauce), it is sweetened only from fruit – typically date or fig.
We make our own barbecue sauce, mayonnaise/aioli, salad dressings, ketchup, hot sauce, etc.
Pure Non-Dairy Milks
THE ISSUE: Unlabeled Suspect Ingredients.
Non-dairy milks have exploded in popularity. However, there is a problem with most commercial versions of these products – they contain suspect ingredients to increase shelf life and make the product taste better – to the extent that consumers are effectively drinking (and loving) the added lecithins/gums/sugars rather than loving the “almond” or “soy” or “coconut” that the milk is supposed to be.
To boot, most restaurants and coffee shops do not indicate what is actually inside the milk holders, so consumers never know the added ingredients lurking inside. How often do you just see “almond milk” or “coconut milk” or “soy milk” on the bottle at a coffee shop? Here are some examples of what’s typically also in these products to dramatically increase shelf life and make the product taste “smoother” and "richer":
Locust Bean Gum
Gellan Gum, etc.
HU’s APPROACH: We Make Our Own Non-Dairy Milks Or Source Pure Products.
At Hu, we either make our own non-dairy milks or source products that have no hidden, junky ingredients. For example:
Hu’s Almond Milk = almond + water (nothing else).
Hu’s Coconut Milk = organic coconut + water (nothing else).
THE ISSUE: Many Commercial Versions Of Ingredients Contain Ingredients We Do Not Allow. And We Would Never Hide These Ingredients.
HU’s APPROACH: We Make Them Ourselves.
When we cook, if we cannot find commercial versions of ingredients that fit our specs, we make them ourselves. Often, this adds cost and cuts efficiency, but it’s worth it. Some examples:
Baking Powder: Most commercial baking powders contain cornstarch. We need baking powder for many of our baked goods, many of which are grain-free. Since cornstarch is derived from corn, we do not feel comfortable using these commercial baking powders and calling things “grain-free.” We thus make our own baking powder with baking soda, arrowroot starch, and cream of tartar.
Extracts: Flavor extracts (e.g. vanilla extract) often contain two ingredients (and other things) that do not fit our guidelines for what we cook with at Hu. First, grain-based alcohols. Since many of our baked goods are grain-free, we did not feel comfortable using grain-derived ingredients like grain-based alcohol. Second, corn syrup – a highly-processed added sugar that is often GMO and clearly a grain-derived product.
Nut Butters: We have always loved nut butters (see our nut-butter-filled chocolate bars here), and we use a lot of it at Hu Kitchen. We grind our own nut butters because many commercial versions contain the following, all of which we avoid:
Palm Oil – this is added in large quantities to many commercial brands mostly as a stabilizer/emulsifier. We never feel great after eating palm oil, so we don’t cook with it at Hu, although small amounts do appear in some of our 3rd party products.
Cane Sugar – this is added to many commercial nut butters to enhance flavor. Cane sugar is a sweetener we do not use at Hu, so it is not in our nut butters.
Vegetable Oils – some commercial nut butters contain vegetable oils, and we do not use these oils at Hu.
NO Conventional Sweeteners
THE ISSUE: Conventional Sweeteners Can Contain Hu-Banned Ingredients & Cause Us To Crash.
HU’s APPROACH: We Love Sweets, And We Will Always Love Sweets. We Believe They Have A Place In The Diet If You Are Smart About Which Sweeteners You Use And Stick To Them.
In our own lives, we have experimented and know which ones make us feel good and which do not. And we applied these findings to Hu.
We do not use:
Grain-based sweeteners (e.g. brown rice syrup).
Artificial sweeteners (e.g. Splenda, Equal, Sweet N Low).
Cane Sugar (note: cane sugar always gives us a crash).
Beet Sugar (note: this sounds harmless, but it is a refined sugar that is often GMO. In fact, 95% of sugar beets in the U.S. are GMO.)
Any refined sugars (e.g. white table sugar)
See also “Quality Sweeteners” to show what we do use as sweeteners.
THE ISSUE: In Our Experience, When People Cut Out Gluten, They See Big Benefits.
HU’s APPROACH: We Believe Eliminating Gluten Can Lead To A Wealth Of Health Benefits.
It did for us.
Gluten is a hot issue in nutrition and health today. While others are debating it, our experiences (and those of so many others in our lives) have taught us that gluten can cause lots of issues - gastrointestinal distress, inflammation, bad skin, brain fog, etc.
We, and a lot of our friends, simply feel and look better when we stop eating gluten-containing grains. That's enough for us. As such, there is no gluten at Hu.
THE ISSUE: Highly-GMO And Possible Endocrine Disrupter. Cheap Filler.
Some studies show that soy can have adverse effects on health because it has a compound that is very similar in structure to human estrogen. It can potentially lower fertility in women, bring on early puberty, and negatively affect development of fetuses and children. Other studies show that it can act as an estrogen-mimicker in men.
The jury is still out on how and in what ways it may or may not affect our health. Until the jury is in, we avoid it.
HU’s APPROACH: No Soy - Either Directly Or Any Of Its Hidden Forms.
NO GMO Corn
THE ISSUE: Corn And Corn Products Are Among The Most Frequently GMO foods.
HU’s APPROACH: Any Corn Used Is USDA-Certified Organic.
See also: "NO GMOs"
NO Commercial Lecithins
THE ISSUE: Added Commercial Lecithins Are Known To Be Problematic.
They may contribute to digestive issues, and they are cheap additives used to change the taste of food and increase shelf life.
HU’s APPROACH: No Added Commercial Lecithins.
Often times, what people love about a product is a direct result of their added lecithins, which make products taste smoother and silkier - more addictive.
Some examples of lecithins are soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin.
For many people, including ourselves, added commercial lecithins can be a gut irritant and lead to digestive discomfort.
THE ISSUE: Carrageenan Is A Food Stabilizer And Emulsifier (see also “Gums” and “Lecithins”).
This ingredient has gotten its fair share of well-deserved shaming.
HU’S APPROACH: No Carrageenan.
Until we knew what carrageenan was, we couldn’t understand why our skin was never great a day after drinking products containing it (e.g. many non-dairy milks). Once we cut products containing it, the temporary skin issues ceased.
THE ISSUE: Preservatives Are Bad.
Totally cliché at this point, but it’s worth mentioning.
Real food should go bad because it comes from a real plant or animal. Preservatives are used to stop this process and allow the sale of foods past when they would have otherwise naturally gone bad.
This idea is unsettling to us - what might those "preservatives" then be doing inside our bodies? Some studies suggest that they may be linked to cancer, heart issues, behavioral changes and a myriad of other health issues. We avoid them just in case.
HU’s APPROACH: They Don't Exist At Hu. Our Food Will Go Bad As It Should.
There are countless preservatives out there, but the one that always bothered us the most was dried fruit containing "sulphur dioxide." Needless to say, none of our dried fruits contain this ingredient.
NO Chemically-Decaffeinated Coffee
THE ISSUE: Most decaffeinated coffee uses harsh chemicals to remove the caffeine.
HU’s APPROACH: USDA-Certified Organic Decaf - Caffeine Removed Without Chemicals.
See “Organic Coffee” for more information.
NO Conventional Chocolate
THE ISSUE: Conventional Chocolate Typically Contains Suspect Ingredients.
Poor Quality Dairy
Often-GMO Emulsifiers (like soy lecithin)
Man-Made Hydrogenated Fats
HU’s APPROACH: We Make Our Own Chocolate.
We use our chocolate in the restaurants and sell it across the country and online in a wide variety of delicious bars. Needless to say, it does not contain the ingredients often seen in conventional chocolate.
See “Hu-Style Chocolate" for more information.
NO Canola/Vegetable Oils
THE ISSUE: These Oils Are Generally Highly-Processed, Inflammatory Oils.
To boot and more pragmatically, they always personally leave us with a “bloated” feeling that lasts for many hours.
HU’s APPROACH: No Canola/Vegetable Cooking Oils Whatsoever.
The most common cooking oil at restaurants is canola oil because it is very inexpensive. However, it is a heavily-processed seed oil that causes inflammation, is partially hydrogenated, and typically GMO.
Specifically, oils not used at Hu are:
Anything Labeled “Vegetable Oil” (a misleading industry term to make these oils sound healthy)
“Blended” Olive Oil (i.e. olive oil that has vegetable oils added to it but is still labeled as “olive oil”).
Our cooking oil is coconut oil. This is far more expensive than using the aforementioned seed oils, but it is a much higher-quality product.
When we use olive oil, it is always Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
See “Cooking Oil = Coconut Oil”
NO Unverified “Natural Flavors”
THE ISSUE: One Of The Most Deceiving Ingredients On Any Package.
What is “natural flavor?” Often, it’s highly-processed ingredients and can be used as a catchall to represent things like MSG, modified cornstarch, soy lecithin, and GMO ingredients.
HU’s APPROACH: No Use Of Unverified "Natural Flavor" Ingredients.
We do not use any ingredients with “Natural Flavors” or permit any 3rd party products with “Natural Flavors” as ingredients, as it is often too difficult to find out what the ingredient contains.
The only exception to this rule is if a product is USDA-Certified Organic and/or the supplier has explicitly indicated the components of the “Natural Flavor” ingredient, ensuring it is compliant.
NO Industrially-Produced Ascorbic or Citric Acids
THE ISSUE: Preservatives Often Cultivated As Cheap Mold On GMO Corn Products.
HU’s APPROACH: No Citric Acid or Ascorbic Acid Ingredients.
THE ISSUE: Dextrin/Maltodextrin Are Often Highly-Processed Additives Made From GMO Corn Or Wheat.
HU’s APPROACH: No Dextrin/Maltodextrin Ingredients In Our Recipes Or In Any 3rd Party Products Sold At Hu.
NO Refined Sugar
THE ISSUE: These Are Heavily-Processed Sugars Stripped Of Any Non-Sugar “Impurities” And Any Minerals That May Actually Be Beneficial.
HU’s APPROACH: No Refined Sugar At Hu.
Refined sugars are widely-considered to be more detrimental to the human body than their unrefined counterparts are. They are empty calories stripped of other nutrients and minerals that otherwise remain in many unrefined sweeteners. In addition, they can drain the body of nutrients because of their demanding digestion requirements.
See “Quality Sweeteners”
THE ISSUE: Long-Standing Research About The Health Risks Associated With MSG.
HU’s APPROACH: No Explicit Or Hidden MSG.
MSG is often hidden and has many sneaky names. The list is literally too long to put here. Search “sneaky names for MSG” for more info.
THE ISSUE: Cheap Unnecessary Additives That Thicken, Stabilize, And Increase Shelf Life.
The most widely-seen example is Xantham Gum.
HU’s APPROACH: No Ingredients Or Products Containing Gums.
The most common gum is xantham gum, a thickener and emulsifier. It is a byproduct of a certain bacteria that ferments simple sugars in (often GMO) soy, wheat, or corn. This byproduct is a slimy substance that gets dehydrated, processed, and turned into a powdered ingredient.
For many people, including ourselves, gums can be a gut irritant and lead to digestive discomfort.
Many people have asked if our non-dairy milks have gums (like guar and xantham gums) in them. They don't. See "Pure Non-Dairy Milks."