Eat This, Not That

eatthisnotthat banner

The Replacements

I’ve mentioned before that when I tell people what foods I choose not to eat, they always ask me, “what do you eat?!” And hopefully I’ve given you some pretty good suggestions in my meal prep posts. Like that time I made a video showing you a good replacement for wheat noodles. Remember that? That was like, the coolest video ever.

But today I wanted to go a little bit more in depth on that topic….because I can’t talk about everything in those posts! So, now I’m going to stop talking and show you guys some foods you can use to replace their less healthy counterparts.

Soda/Pop/Canned High Fructose Corn Syrup

Coke Can

Yummmmmm….39 grams of sugar (the recommended daily amount is about 20 grams for women and I think 30 for men). This has absolutely no nutritional value. NONE. Don’t drink it. If you’ve gotta have something fizzy and flavored, you could drink this:

Lacroix

lacroix

Zero grams of anything. Ingredients? Carbonated Water and Natural Flavors. Which, according to the company, are derived from oils extracted from fruits. I’m not sure how natural that is but I’m willing to bet this drink is 100% better for you than any pop in existence. I suggest coconut flavor.

HOWEVER, don’t expect this drink to be sweet, it’s not. Although, if you kick your sugar addiction, this drink can be a sweet treat (I can rhyme).

If you’re feeling extra brave, you could also try some kombucha, which is fermented tea. It’s sweeter than Lacroix, fizzy, and provides probiotics.

Instead of Vegetable/Canola Oil

vegetable oil

Has anyone ever eaten a canola? No? Me either. Cause it’s not a thing. Canola oil is made from a rapeseed. Which is toxic until they process the crap out of it to reduce the acid that makes it toxic.

A lot of labels will say that canola oil is a good source of Omega-3 acids. What they don’t say is that polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 are pretty sensitive to heat and since they heat the rapeseed so much during processing, most of the omega-3 gets destroyed.

If that doesn’t convince you check out this video on how canola oil is made. Ew.

And vegetable oil? Why is it called vegetable oil and not corn/soy/sunflower/peanut/GMO Mutant Hybrid Oil? And why is corn oil called vegetable oil when it’s not a vegetable at all? It’s a grain. Probably because “vegetable oil” sounds healthier and more appetizing.

Hold on. I just realized that NONE of those things are vegetables. Corn=gran. Soy=legume. Sunflower seed= …seed? What is this?

These oils have been chemically altered and who wants to eat something that’s been chemically altered? I know the first thing I do before my dinner is heat all my food to 500 degrees and put some acid on it to make it edible. No.

Use these instead:

Cold-Pressed Olive Oil

olive oil

It’s important to get high-quality olive oil if you’re going to eat this stuff and get the most nutritional value possible.

At higher temperatures, olive oil can become oxidized and the nutrients that you want become damaged, not to mention it doesn’t taste as good.

You want to make sure to buy olive oil in dark containers and store it in a dark place as well…because light and oxygen can also cause olive oil to break down more quickly.

Overall, if you take proper care of your olive oil, it’s a great fat to include in your diet!

Or, if you don’t want to have to worry about all that temperature and sunlight nonsense, you can use…

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

coconutoil

You can pretty much use this stuff for anything. Fry things in it, replace butter with it, use it as lotion, put it on your hair, use it to make homemade toothpaste, fix a creaky hinge, give yourself x-ray vision…you know…stuff like that.

It’s great to cook with because it doesn’t break down at high temperatures and it has a low melting point.

I like coconut oil because it gives things a coconut-y taste, but you can get expeller pressed coconut oil which doesn’t have that taste if you don’t want it.

This stuff has plenty of health benefits including increasing the “good cholesterol” aka HDL. (which isn’t cholesterol at all but a carrier for cholesterol. We can talk about that another time.)

Yeah, it’s mostly saturated fats but if you check some of the studies done on fat recently, you’ll see that there’s really not much correlation between fat and heart disease or weight gain. That idea is dated.

Additionally, a lot of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride…aka the fat that increases HDL.

Sorry…this is getting science-y. Just research it if you don’t believe me! Even Dr. Oz agrees with me.

When buying coconut oil, just make sure you know what you’re buying because there are some types that have been super processed and aren’t that great for you.

Granola and Protein Bars

Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars

This is how I feel about granola bars:

I hate granola bars. Because they’re candy bars lying about being healthy. Most of them. The average Clif bar has 22 grams of sugar. That’s as much sugar as a kit kat.

These bars also usually contain a decent amount of soy and wheat. Neither of which, in my opinion, are particularly healthy, both of which are usually from GMO crops. No good. Instead, try this:

Nuts and Dried Fruit

trailmix

What’s not to like about nuts and fruit? Provided the nuts haven’t been cooked in some crappy vegetable oil and the fruit hasn’t been sweetened a ton.

The protein and fat in the nuts will keep you full way longer than all the carbohydrates in a granola bar. Plus, you’ll get carbs and satisfy your sweet tooth (sugar addiction) with the fruit.

You just gotta watch what you buy. I try to stick to raw or dry roasted nuts, that way they haven’t been cooked in anything I don’t want to eat. And for fruit, I usually just check and make sure it doesn’t say “sweetened” on the package and the ingredients list on the back has only one thing listed: whatever fruit it is.

Sometimes that’s super hard to find so if I have to, I’ll go with something that’s been sweetened with natural fruit juice as opposed to sugar.

Just make sure you’re reading ingredients so you know what you’re eating!

Coffee Creamers

creamer

I couldn’t find the ingredients for this particular coffee cream but here are the ingredients to Coffee Mate Original Liquid Creamer: 

WATER, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL, AND LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE)**, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, SODIUM ALUMINOSILICATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CARRAGEENAN.

In case you didn’t know, the ingredients are listed in order of how much is in the product. So…the top three ingredients are: Water, Sugar, and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil.

Something about the fact that a product, which is supposed to be cream, doesn’t even contain more than 2% of a milk product really bugs me.

Plus, there’s partially hydrogenated oil or a trans fat. I think EVERYONE can agree that hydrogenated oils are not healthy.

Peep this article for more info on trans fats.

No good. If you HAVE to have cream, use real cream. Like…from a cow. Otherwise, use this:

Vanilla Extract and/or Cinnamon

vanilla

A little bit of vanilla can sweeten the coffee up, just make sure you aren’t getting vanilla extract that has been sweetened (with corn syrup or sugar) otherwise you’re kind of defeating the purpose.

Cinnamon can make the coffee more sweet, too…especially if you get a sweeter type of cinnamon like Saigon Cinnamon. Plus cinnamon can help you burn fat by increasing your sensitivity to insulin, the hormone which stores sugars as fat, among other things.

Obviously, this isn’t an exact replacement for cream but if you’re constantly talking about how much you love/are addicted to/can’t live without your morning coffee and you always get some sort of mocha/vanilla latte/frappucinno/iced coffee drink, guess what? You don’t like coffee, you like sugary beverages. You might as well be drinking pop.

A 12oz mocha from Starbucks has 27 grams of sugar in it. Only nine less than a can of coke and still way more than you should be getting in one drink. Sugar is sugar is sugar, no matter what you put it in.

Moral of the Story

That’s all I’ve got for now, but if you got anything out of this post hopefully it’s that you should always be reading ingredients. Just because the box says one thing, doesn’t mean it’s true.

What you put into your body affects it. Just like you’re constantly trying to fill your life with people who make you happy, help make you a better person, and strengthen your faith, you should fill your stomach with food that makes your body happy and healthy!

What Did I Miss?

What about you? Do you have any clever replacements for an unhealthy food? Let me know in the comments!

coke photo canola oil photo olive oil photo coconut oil photo granola bar photo trail mix photo creamer photo vanilla bean photo eat rite photo

Don't forget to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInGoogle+Buffer this pageShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponshare on TumblrEmail to someone
  • Joe Jarmoluk

    I never realized how much crap is in something that we eat pretty often (especially the chewy bars. I love those). I’m definitely going to give lacroix a try. I see so many people drinking diet pops at like 7:30 in the morning claiming that it’s healthy because it’s zero calories, so I’d love to be the change and give it a shot!

    Also, I’ve been meaning to ask you about your suggestions for a before/after workout meal or snack. I really don’t know what I should eat (carbs, proteins, idk). Maybe a future article?

    • EquallyYolked

      In terms of sugar content, the chewy bars aren’t as bad as other things but yeah…they have a lot of weird ingredients regardless.

      Yuck, diet pop. It may have no calories but it’s definitely far from healthy! They have to process that stuff like crazy to get it to have no calories. Let me know what you think of Lacroix. Try to remember that it won’t be sweet when you’re drinking it, because if you expect it to be sweet, I think it will taste worse. Kind of like if you expect to drink juice out of a cup and then after drinking it you realize it’s water…but it tastes really gross because you were expecting juice.

      Yeah, maybe in the future I can write something up about post/pre workout fuel. I’m definitely not an expert and a lot of the stuff I’ve read is conflicting so I’m not entirely sure what is the best possible answer to that. Personally, I try to eat protein and carbs after a workout. Usually I’ll just workout before dinner and then just eat dinner after, adding in some extra carbs like half a sweet potato or half a banana. I’d definitely suggest carbs after any sort of strength training workout. When you use your muscles like that, they use up a chemical called glycogen which is derived from sugar (carbohydrates)…so when you eat carbs after your workout, you’re restoring your body’s stores of glycogen so they can use it to rebuild your muscles even stronger.

      As far as pre-workout food…I usually try to workout at least two hours after eating or in the morning before breakfast. If you eat right before, your body is using energy to digest the food you just ate, taking away some of the energy you could be spending on your workout. And then, if you workout while your food is digesting, your body doesn’t digest the food as best it can because it’s also trying to give you energy for your workout. If you’re super hungry before a workout, I’d suggest something small like maybe a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.

      SORRY THIS IS LONG. One more thing…since I know you’re going to run a marathon (or half marathon?) soon-ish. I’ve read that eating more carbs than normal for the three days before the marathon can help improve your performance. But I’m not talking about eating a loaf of bread! Maybe add in some potatoes (sweet or white) and extra fruit right during the days before the marathon to give you more energy on race day.

  • Danielle

    Wow, Alysia. This is my favorite
    post of yours to date! What a great article loaded with tons of good
    information. Well done!

    As you know, I LOVE coconut oil. I put it on my skin, hair, use it as butter,
    cook with it and love the coco-nutty smell.

    SO TRUE about vegetable oil and canola oil and I had to laugh when you asked
    why do they call corn oil vegetable oil when it’s a grain.. .again, so true!

    One healthier change I’ve made is to use hummus in place of mayonnaise.

    It’s great mixed with tuna for tuna salad.

    • EquallyYolked

      Thanks!

      Yeah, you could use hummus instead of mayo but you want to make sure the hummus you’re buying isn’t made with canola/vegetable oil…because most store-bought brands are. Actually, I think mayo, when made properly, can be super nutritious since most of the good stuff in an egg is in the yolk and mayo is traditionally made out of oil, egg yolk, vinegar, and lemon juice. As long as your mayo isn’t made with canola or vegetable oil, it can provide you with tons of vitamins which you can read about here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/252564-egg-yolk-nutrition/.

  • Debbie Hunt

    Come on! I love my Clif Bars, in fact, I just bought a bunch for my afternoon snack. I know they are high in sugar, but once in a while they are a treat for me. I usually eat apples and almond butter, but I’m sick of that.

    Great post, Alysia! Love the comparisons you give that we can buy instead of the bad stuff. Very informative!

    • EquallyYolked

      Haha, well at least you know they’re high in sugar! A lot of people think they’re eating something super healthy. Oh man, now I’m craving apples and almond butter. Have you ever had cashew butter? That’s sweeter than almond butter, I love it.

      Thanks!!

      • Debbie Hunt

        Yes, actually I have. I love both almond and cashew. These are better nuts in general. Peanuts are a ground nut which means they have mold on them when they grow. Gross! Almond and cashews are tree nuts which means they are much better for us. I’m sure you knew, that, though!!!!

        • EquallyYolked

          Yeah, I actually don’t eat peanuts because they’re legumes and I don’t eat any legumes. I didn’t know that about the mold, though. Good to know!

  • Pingback: URL