Pizza tops the list as one of everyone’s favorite comfort foods. Am I wrong? That and maybe mac and cheese (I have an amazing keto/paleo/vegan mac and cheese recipe that I will share with you all in a future post). According to the Mayo Clinic, Americans eat an average of 46 slices of pizza per person each year.
It’s clear we love our pizza, but it can be loaded with a lot of inflammatory foods that aren’t good for our bodies, including refined (processed) carbohydrates like the flour used for crust, grease, saturated or trans fats, processed non-organic meats, dairy and a host of processed chemical additives and sugars.
You may still be wondering what’s so wrong with pizza? Well, for starters, it’s because most Americanized versions of pizza, including the mass restaurant chains (Domino’s, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut) have ruined the traditional Italian styled pizza made from wholesome, fresh ingredients and replaced it with industrialized garbage. Why? Because it’s cheaper, and corporate America is all about turning a profit.
I’ll walk you through some of the specific ingredients that are not good for us, share some healthy alternatives and end the post with a recipe for you all!
Because these “restaurants” use refined flour for the crust, that means that all of the germ and bran (aka the nutrients) have been removed and you’re left with a very starchy, nutrient lacking ingredient. Refining your flour removes the fiber, vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to survive and thrive, and that makes it less nutritious (you may have heard the term ’empty calories’).
Before we go any further, repeat after me: Fat is friend not foe. Healthy (unsaturated & occasionally saturated) fats like those found in avocados, coconut oil, cold pressed organic olive oils, nuts/seeds, fish like salmon, organic grass fed beef is good for the body (and eating a high fat, low card diet is at the heart of the keto diet, for good reasons, too).
However, trans and even saturated fats are less beneficial, and are predominately found in processed foods, dairy and some meats. In excess, these are not good for the body and can lead to heart disease and high cholesterol. I am not saying to never eat saturated fat, in fact, the health benefits of this type of fat are highly debated in the nutrition science community, but you should limit the amount. However, no one should ever eat artificial trans fats, which are found in processed foods, especially vegetables oils like corn and canola oil. These oils undergo a very high heating process which essentially kills all of the natural nutrients.
I am going to bet that the cheese that comes on your Domino’s pizza (or in your frozen pre-packaged pizza) is not fresh mozzarella and is some sort of highly processed, industrialized trans/saturated fat laden version of the real thing.
And conventional pizza sauce is usually heavily processed, including added sugars (even high fructose corn syrup) and salts, and is made with non organic ingredients, usually from genetically modified tomatoes. Did you know most table salt is heated to over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and has chemicals, MSG and sugar added to it? If you don’t believe me, read up on it here. Sea salt and Himalayan sea salt (the pink one) are mined naturally from the earth and undergo no heating which preserves the minerals and health benefits.
I highly recommend reading (or listening via audio book) to Salt Sugar and Fat by Michael Moss. It’s mind blowing to hear the history of how industrialized (processed) foods eventually overtook grocery store aisles and replaced all of the wholesome, fresh foods.
There’s one part in the book that I play over in my head on repeat where he talks about how the big food manufacturers like General Mills and Kelloggs were competing with one another on how to make their cereals taste the best & most addicting. They had dedicated teams of “food scientists” sitting in labs, playing with the amount of sugar, salt and trans/saturated fats to get the flavors just right. It became a game of who could gain the competitive advantage and earn the best shelf space in grocery stores.
Anyway, my point is that big food manufacturers and chain restaurants have taken a once good thing and ruined it, chemically altered the ingredients to make it taste “just right” and loaded it full of bad things to trick our brains into craving it and wanting more.
Not all pizza is bad, and in fact, there are plenty of other low cal options out there that you can buy pre-made or make yourself. There are plenty of family owned shops and small pizzerias doing pizza right, by maintaining the integrity of the ingredients, sourcing locally and making things fresh in house. If you’re in San Francisco, check out Casey’s Pizza ( I haven’t had it but my boyfriend 1000 percent approves of this delicious, high quality fresh made pizza). Or go to Italy and experience the real deal! (Currently on my bucket list.)
One of my favorite pizza crust alternatives is to use cauliflower and nut/seed flours like almond and flax meal. You won’t be sacrificing in calories per say because even these alternative flours are dense, but the difference is that they are chock full of nutrients and vitamins and none of the bad stuff. They are anti-inflammatory and won’t leave you feeling sluggish and foggy afterward.
While I won’t be showing you how to make your own cauliflower crust today (there are a ton of recipes out there), I will be showing you one of my favorite brands of cauliflower pizza crust, and sharing a recipe for a delicious keto/paleo friendly pie that you can feel good about.
It’s grain free, diary free, gluten free and soy free. You of course can totally add cheese if it pleases you.
I will also show/tell you how to make your own pizza/pasta sauce. It’s delicious, and while it takes 45 minutes up to a few hours, you can easily make this on a Sunday morning or afternoon and whatever you don’t use, freeze or keep in the fridge for later in the week.
Cook time for sauce: 45 minutes to a few hours
Cook time for pizza: 40 minutes
Total cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ingredients for Homemade Sauce
Ingredients for Pizza:
Directions for Homemade Sauce
Directions for Cauliflower Pizza