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
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:
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. But don’t expect this drink to be super 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
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.
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.
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
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…
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 creeky 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
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
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!
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
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!