Getting healthier doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s mostly about making simple switches to the foods you eat day in and day out. In many ways, these switches don’t even feel like dieting, but can have major impacts on your health.
If planning meals is complicated for you and you just want to get healthier now without putting in a lot of mental effort, these are several easy switches you can make to common foods you eat that will make you healthier without even trying!
The research has become very clear: fats high in Omega 6 oils like margarine, vegetable oils, and even canola oil are damaging to your health. This is because these fats easily oxidize and turn rancid at the high heats we use them for cooking- we also get far too many Omega 6 oils in our diet since we were told to cut out saturated fat.
Saturated fat is perfectly healthy as part of a balanced diet (where it causes trouble is when eaten in excessive amounts with sugar i.e. baked goods). Our brain runs on saturated fat and getting enough of it is very important. Despite years of misinformation, saturated fat does not cause heart disease.
Butter and Coconut oil also can stand higher heats, which means they are more stable when baking, frying, or sauteing.
Switching from vegetable oils and margarine to a grass-fed butter like Kerrygold brand will easily improve your health and taste GREAT. For cold uses like salad dressings, extra virgin olive oil is wonderful for your health as well and is a much better alternative to canola oil or other seed oils.
Find KerryGold Grass-fed butter at your local grocery store or here.
Find cold pressed extra virgin olive oil at the grocery store (buy from brands based in the United States) or find it online here.
The majority of foods Americans eat come from grains like wheat, rice and corn. Unfortunately, these can be difficult for many people to digest and have very little nutritive value. They also can be the cause of unknown food sensitivities.
While not everyone has issues with grains, it makes sense for a healthy diet to try to swap out grains for more healthy foods whenever possible.
Great recipes are everywhere for ways to use cauliflower. You can make amazing substitutes for spanish rice and fried rice with just a bag of frozen cauliflower rice and a few spices.
Instead of swapping gluten containing foods for gluten free foods (which doesn’t add nutrition value and may be pointless in many circumstances) try leaving out the bread altogether whenever possible. Many, if not most, restaurants that offer sandwiches and burgers now offer them with a lettuce wrap instead.
Pasta is delicious, but a regular diet of pasta is a recipe for weight gain. The simple, refined carbohydrates in pasta cause blood sugar and insulin to skyrocket and make you feel full without really feeding you. Instead, try swapping pasta for zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash noodles during the week, and saving pasta for the weekend or special treats. Zucchini noodles are easy to make with a simple spiralizer like this one. Just steam them for a few minutes in the microwave or cook them with your sauce on the stove top and they are ready to eat!
While dairy is a relatively balanced and healthy food for some people, especially children, the majority of people lose their ability to digest lactose as adults. Even if you feel like you digest lactose pretty well, if you ever have issues with constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, or sinus issues, it may be worth removing dairy for a time to see if your symptoms improve. Dairy is also tough for people trying to lose weight and can sometimes impede weight loss. Luckily, substitutes for dairy abound.
If you normally eat cereal or drink milk during the day, try switching to almond milk instead. This will reduce the amount of lactose and dairy your body has to digest and has an added bonus of fewer calories! Make sure to buy the unsweetened versions of each, as some almond and coconut milks are sweetened and flavored.
The meat we typically eat, the kind that is conventionally raised, have wide ranges of health impacts. Because these animals are also eating lots of grains (particularly corn) they are not eating their natural diet and they are therefore prone to illness. The meat and fat from these animals is less healthy and has fewer levels of beneficial fats, like Omega 3’s. The close quarters also make them prone to infections and they are regularly fed antibiotics. Antibiotics are also fed to help them produce more fat, a known side effect of antibiotic therapy. Make the switch to higher quality meat and you will reap many of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle!
Look for the buzz words above on packages to avoid getting caught up in all the madness of words like “natural”. If you can’t find this level of quality at your grocery store, organic is better than conventional.
Choose organic produce to avoid nasty pesticides like Roundup and improve the nutritional quality of the food you eat. Organic produce has more nutrients!
If you can increase the quality of your meat, you can increase the health of your diet! Quality meat comes from animal eating their natural diet and living in happy conditions. Not only is this better for the environment, but the meat and fat in the animal is far superior with higher amounts of nutritious properties than their conventional counterparts.
Americans eat way too much sugar, period. The biggest way to easily combat this is to avoid added sugars. Look on the back label of a product and if it has added sugar, just avoid it. This is common in beverages and foods. Instead, if you make your own drinks or food, sweeten with stevia, a natural sweetener with no carbs or calories. It is a much healthier option than artificial sweeteners and helps reduce the sugar in your diet.
Long story short, artificial sweeteners aren’t good for you. The evidence continues to mount against them. As sad as it is, it would be best to avoid them. Try switching to zevia (a stevia sweetened diet soda) or unsweetened fizzy waters as replacements until you get adjusted. The best drink to have at any time is plain ol’ water.
For your sweet tooth
Dark chocolate is both delicious (especially when you start cutting back on sugar!) and good for you! It has antioxidants and other compounds that help reduce inflammation and maintain health. Of course we don’t want to go overboard, but switching from milk chocolate to dark chocolate will automatically make you more healthy!
Soy is a controversial food. Some claim it’s super healthy and some say its anything but. While soy can sometimes be a healthy food for some people, the amount of non-organic soy products added to most processed foods is appalling and unhealthy. Try to cut back on your soy consumption by switching to a healthy alternative like coconut aminos. It’s easy to find at the grocery store or you can order it online here.
So there you have it! 11 simple swaps