5 Simple Swaps to a Healthier Diet
AS SEEN ON KPRC Ch2 Houston Life WATCH HERE!
1. Swap out regular and diet sodas for healthy carbonated alternatives.
Soda consumption may have the most detrimental impact on our health out of any other product in existence. These empty calories poorly impact everything from our teeth to livers. Sodas promote insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, obesity and more.
You can get your fizzy fix from flavored carbonated waters such as Waterloo & La Croix, enjoy Topo Chico carbonated waters and for that soda fix, check out Zevia. Zevia is a 0 calorie sugar and aspartame free soda option sweetened with stevia and is found at most grocery stores.
2. Limit dairy products and swap them out for nut milk alternatives
Why? Most dairy contains high amounts of hormones, antibiotics, steroids and is naturally high in sugar called lactose.
It is especially beneficial to limit liquid dairy such as cows milk, creamers, creamed cheeses and dairy yogurts.
Try almond, coconut, cashew, oat, hemp and flax milks and yogurts in place of dairy.
When consuming cheese, opt for hard chesses that can be sliced or shredded.
3. Swap out those wheat and gluten carbohydrates for healthier gluten and grain free alternatives
Gluten is a protein found in wheat that causes inflammation throughout the entire body and most directly impacts our gut health and digestion. Many people may be sensitive or allergic to gluten and need to avoid it completely while others should limit consumption for optimal health.
Try a variety of alternatives such as cauliflower pizza crust, garbanzo bean or quinoa pasta, gluten free breads, as well as the occasional gluten free cereals and cookies.
4. Swap out hydrogenated oils and trans fats for good healthy saturated fats and MCT oils
Hydrogenated oils are made in a lab, not found in nature. Food companies use these oils to help increase shelf life and save cost, but the real cost here is how poorly it is impacting our health. Hydrogenated oils contain an extra hydrogen atom that is foreign to our body, so these unhealthy fats are stored in the body and known to cause heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, fatty liver, diabetes and so much more.
Swap out canola oil, vegetable oils & shortenings, margarine, corn oil, soybean oil & peanut oil.
Use healthy oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter and ghee.
These oils all have high heat tolerances, so they will not break down and cause free radical damage.
They contain health promoting monosaturated fats, medium chain triglycerides (MCT), butyric, lauric and oleic acids, all beneficial for the heart, GI tract, and brain.5. Swap out simple and artificial sugars for healthy sugar alternatives
Sugar consumption is a leading cause of inflammation in the body which leads to a variety of chronic health issues such as diabetes & obesity while also increasing your risk of heart disease, cancer and other serious health issues.
Aspertame found in many “sugar free” or “diet” products is perhaps even more dangerous as it still impacts our blood sugar while causing damage to the liver and intestinal lining of our GI tract.
Say no to sugars such as:
- White, Brown, Powdered, Cane and Raw Sugar
- Maple syrup
- Coconut Sugar
Avoid artificial sugars:
SWAP them out for:
Stevia, xylitol, erythritol, monk fruit and allulose
Stevia- derived from the stevia leaf, extremely sweet. Consistency is that of powdered sugar or liquid forms. Best for sweetening coffee and tea. Carry the packets with you. Not recommended for baking, as it is hard to convert the measurements compared to sugar.
Xylitol- derived from plant fibers and birch wood and is classified as a sugar alcohol, yet is safe for consumption and has minimal impact to the blood sugar. Usually found in bulk for baking and is granular in texture like sugar. Leaves a “cooling taste” in the mouth and a bit of an aftertaste like stevia. May also cause some GI upset such as gas and bloating. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, start with using ½ cup of xylitol.
Erythritol- very similar to xylitol, this is a sugar alcohol, but most likely will not cause any GI issues, as it gets absorbed in the blood stream before it reaches the colon. It is derived from some fruits, corn and fermented foods. Great for baking and is found granular, powdered and brown sugar forms.
Monk Fruit- derived from a Chinese fruit called lo han guo or Swingle fruit. It has more of a granular consistency and a more similar taste to cane sugar. Can also be found in powdered forms, as a brown sugar flavor and even in a liquid maple flavor to mock maple syrup. This is great for sweetening beverages as well as baking. Usually a 1:1 ratio compared to sugar.
Allulose- derived from jackfruit, figs and raisins is actually considered a simple sugar, however, it is not metabolized or broken down in the body, so we eliminate it naturally without it impacting our blood sugar. It has a clean and sweet sugar taste just like sugar and can be found in powders or liquids. Great for baking and sweetening coffee or tea.