When store-bought food products are unaffordable, unhealthy, or both, some people are turning to DIY alternatives. Using uncommon ingredients and specifically refined recipes, people are finding ways to get as close to brand products as chemically possible.
This isn’t necessarily easy. Take Reddit user mtdmaven’s recipe for the low-calorie ice cream brand Halo Top. It requires cottage cheese, cashew milk, booze, and granulated sweetener. It also needs more uncommon ingredients, such as glycerin (a type of lipid), konjac power (a plant-based fiber), guar (a legume-based fiber), and xanthan gum (a compound that thickens and sweetens food). And that's not even counting the ingredients for specific flavors.
In a conversation via Reddit messenger, mtdmaven said that they are driven to recreate store-bought foods due to the high prices. For instance, they order ingredients such as xanthan gum in bulk on Amazon to keep costs down.
“I live in a rural area with no Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, et cetera, [just] small markets with limited selections; It's a miracle we even have (one kind of) tofu,” they said. “If I want lighter, dairy-free, or low-sodium products I have to make them myself or make the trip to a larger city.”
Other individuals are driven to a DIY approach to store-bought foods out of financial necessity. A recent post on the subreddit r/budget foods referred to an article that sorted and analyzed dozens of fruits, grains, vegetables, and plant-based additives such as corn oil, peanut oil, and olive oil by the amount of Vitamin A, calcium, or zinc to the dollar.
Meanwhile, other Reddit users such as Hubux opt to make DIY yogurt due to irritable bowel syndrome. Since posting to the subreddit r/ibs asking for advice, user Hubux said that they use ultra-high-temperature processing milk with 3.2 percent fat, a single probiotic pill, and 150 milliliters of regular milk. This mixture goes on a heating pad for 24 hours.
“The idea comes from another r/ibs reddit post where a user claimed he resolved his IBS problems with a probiotic made yoghurt,” u/Hubux said via Reddit messenger. “I once had a pretty good success with them, unfortunately bad diet undid the progress so now I'm back to looking for the best probiotic strain for me.”
“I grow my own vegetables, I bake my own bread ... I might as well make my own frankenfoods, too.”
Probiotics, or so-called ”healthy bacteria,“ are a common selling point for yogurts such as Activia, which market digestive health. But the community of bacteria in the human gut is actually highly refined for specific individuals, so DIY alternatives to store-bought yogurt can be necessary for people with specific medical needs.
“I grow my own vegetables, I bake my own bread—heck, I do a lot of my own home renovations,” mtdmaven said. “I might as well make my own frankenfoods, too.”