Advice / Tuesday Tips

Simple Food Swaps: 16 ways to change your mind and body


Wrap your head around and practice one or two of these ideas a week and you’ll change your mind about food. Your body will go along for the ride. This list was inspired by one made by Healthy Holistic Living. Read theirs for other ideas and more in depth information.

1.  Vegetable “pasta” instead of conventional Pasta. We’ve raved about the Paderno Spiralizer. “Spin” and steam or sauté zucchini, carrots, sweet potato, and you’ll wonder why you ever used grain noodles as a vehicle for sauce. Steamed spaghetti squash or julienned chard are also delicious alternatives.

2.  Almond, hemp, or coconut milk instead of dairy, skim milk included. Cut calories in half.

3.  Coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Soy is thought to negatively impact the endocrine system. Amino acids boost it.

4.  Raw Honey instead of Agave Syrup. Honey’s health benefits are will known. Agave syrup is concentrated fructose with few if any nutrients.

5.  Butter or Ghee instead of Margarine. Counterintuitive, we know, but butter and ghee (clarified butter) are natural products with vitamins and trace minerals. Margarine comes from the (culinary) laboratory.

6.  Cinnamon instead of Sugar. This naturally sweet spice is an anti-inflammatory, increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, reduces fasting blood sugar and the scent increases cognitive function. C’mon folks: brew your coffee with a little ground cinnamon instead of using sugar. Sprinkle it on your toast. (Whoops – until you stop eating bread.)

7.  Lettuce wraps instead of Bread. Not iceberg, but romaine, red leaf, and other sturdy, but flexible wide leave greens make a perfect wrap for sandwich fillings. Make the switch, and like pasta, you’ll wonder why you ever used bread as a vehicle for delicious, healthy, veggies, spreads, and organic meats and/or cheeses. Cheese….

8. Hummus instead of Cheese. And hummus instead of mayo. Tangy, smooth, flavorful, lots of variety. It’s not like you can never eat another grilled sandwich, but consider making it hummus, tomato, avocado, sweet potato grilled on bread smoothed with ghee.

9.  Pesto instead of Alfredo Sauce. (And pesto instead of cheese, hummus, or mayo.) Made with olive oil, any combination of your favorite fresh herbs, and organic nuts, pesto can be a rich delicious alternative to traditional cheesy cream sauce. Think about pesto made with basil, parsley, cashews, olive oil, a splash of fresh lemon juice, and a little sea salt and ground pepper…. I’m just saying.

10.  Sweet Potato Fries instead of French Fries. B6, Potassium, fiber plus more. If you’re going to splurge on fries, make certain they’re hand-cut sweet potato.

11.  Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream. Used to hate this when Mom did it growing up, but the selection of 2% or whole Greek yogurts is now so good that this is an easy switch. Plus it’s delicious with berries, nuts, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

12. Toasted Nuts or crumbled Kale chips instead of Croutons. Even if you’re making your own croutons from very nice bread made with excellent starter and organic whole GF grains, nuts or kale will be healthier. Conventional croutons are salty, often oily sponges for extra dressing.

13.  Frittata instead of Quiche. Quiche crusts are often soggy, pasty messes. Bake all that organic eggy, veggie, cheesy goodness in a (quiche) pan greased with a little olive oil or ghee. If you’re “off” cheese, top servings of baked frittata with a dollop of hummus or greek yogurt whisked with a little lemon or caper juice.

14.  Pureed Frozen Bananas and Coconut Milk instead of Ice Cream. The flavor profile can go in many directions: fruity (add frozen berries), tropical, (frozen pineapple and/or mango), chocolate (cocoa powder). Toppings: dried fruit, nuts, fresh berries, nut butters, cinnamon, raw honey, toasted coconut.

15.  Fruit or Yogurt topped with fresh fruit and nuts instead of Cake or Cookies. A small portion of yogurt with a little fruit, dried goji berries, some toasted almonds, and a drizzle of honey is satisfying in a way a conventional cookie can never be.

16.  Dark Chocolate instead of Milk Chocolate. A lot has been written about the health benefits of dark chocolate. And, everything in moderation. Splurge on excellent organic chocolate and savor a few small pieces at a time.

Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t and won’t give up favorite sandwiches (grilled brie with arugula or and fig jam or avocado, sweet potato, Havarti, and sprouts). I’ll still occasionally stop at a good gelateria. But I’ve experienced the transformative power of each of the suggestions above and hope you’ll give at least one of them a try.


4 thoughts on “Simple Food Swaps: 16 ways to change your mind and body

  1. I completely agree on the butter vs. margarine. People think margarine is healthy just because there are fewer calories/fat, but it is full of chemicals

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