5 Simple Swaps to Make Eating Real Food Easier.
As I have said before, switching to a real food diet does not need to be overwhelming. Many times we overcomplicate the process when we should just keep it simple. We have been led to believe that healthy eating leaves us with less options, is not convenient, does not taste as good, and is not as satisfying. That is not true. I would argue that when we eat real food we feel more fulfilled. Eating real food is the key to living a life of optimal wellness.
When transitioning to real food cutting out processed and packaged foods it a great place to start. Eating nutrient dense, real, whole food does not mean you have to give up your favorite foods, you just have to approach them differently. There will be no need, or want, for fake packaged foods when you are using real nutrient dense ingredients. Here are 5 swaps you can make to start the transition.
- Swap out vegetable or canola oil for coconut oil, butter or lard. Vegetable oils frequently are very unstable and have to go through an extreme chemical process, which includes heating, bleaching and deodorizing. Vegetable oils tend to be high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which can lead to inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Many packaged products are made with vegetable oil so make sure you are reading labels (even more reason to eliminate packaged foods). I would make this swap a priority, this is why it is first on the list.
- Swap your sandwich bread or burger buns for lettuce wraps. Use crisp lettuce leaves as a wrap for some extra crunch. Another great option is using sweet potato buns. Toast up a few sweet potato slices and you won’t even miss the bread.
- Swap out your soda or pop for sparkling water. There are so many options today when it comes to sparkling water, just make sure you find one that is naturally sweetened with fruit essence and no added junk (watch for artificial sweeteners). Another good option is Kombucha, a fermented tea, which contains probiotics and can aid in digestion. Water works wonders too!
- Swap out traditional pasta noodles for spaghetti squash or spiralized vegetable noodles (zucchini, sweet potato, turnip). Your dish will not be missing any flavors with this swap. You can use the same sauces that you normally would on your traditional pasta noodles. The once high carb meal, with pasta noodles, will now be a meal with less carbs and full of good nutrients from the vegetables.
- Swap your refined white sugar for unrefined sweeteners like raw honey or real maple syrup, local if possible. It is important to decrease your sugar intake and cut out all refined sugars when trying to live optimally. The increased consumption of sugar in the American population has been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease 1. Sugar is highly addictive and I recommend eliminating most sugar from your diet. For the occasional treat try using unrefined sweeteners.
Remember, eating real food does not have to be complicated. You can jump all in if that works for you and your family or make small changes over time. Try starting with these 5 swaps. I challenge you to start looking at the ingredients in the packaged foods you buy. Leave me a comment if you find yourself surprised by the ingredients in your products.
If you find any of this overwhelming I am taking on new clients and also offer grocery store guidance as well as pantry/kitchen clean out services.
1. Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Intern Med.2014;174(4):516-524. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563
Jamey, NTP, CPT