Five Food Swaps For More Vibrant Living
We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat” - and it’s the truth.
The foods you eat can either nourish you, or fill your body with chemicals and preservatives that can be harmful to your health.
Unfortunately, so many foods these days are devoid of nutrients due to refining, processing and flavouring that make them highly inflammatory, causing toxicity in our bodies - and toxicity is the number one cause of sickness and disease.
What makes matters worse, is that these foods are highly addictive, making them difficult to let go of unless you're very conscious of what you eat and the choices you make.
So if you struggle to make healthy food choices consistently, it could be because you hate the thought of letting go of foods you enjoy for healthier options you haven't yet developed a taste for.
This is where the concept of "food swapping" can help.
More than anything, food swapping is a psychological shift in the way you transition away from harmful foods towards healthier substitutes.
It can take a little time and a rewiring of your taste buds, but with awareness and a desire to make positive changes that will serve your health, it is well worth the effort.
It's time to ditch the empty calories and chemicals in your body from factory-made processed food! And instead, replace them with nourishing, wholesome choices that support your energy and health.
Keep reading for our top 5 favourite wholesome dietary food swap categories.
1. Swap ‘Bad’ Fats for ‘Good’ Fats
You should definitely include a certain amount of fat in your diet because it is vital for healthy body function – but the key is to make sure that as mush as possible, you're eating 'good' fats.
The worst type of fats are trans fats, which is a byproduct of a process known as hydrogenation that is used to turn vegetable oils into solids to prevent them from becoming rancid. Common examples include margarine and vegetable shortening, and these oils are widely used in the production of baked and packaged foods like cakes, biscuits, pies, pastries and deep fried foods.
The big problem with trans fat hydrogenated oils, is that they increase harmful LDL cholesterol in the blood stream and cause inflammation in the body. They are definitely fats you want to avoid.
In contrast, plant based monounsaturated fats like olive, peanut and avocado oils have a beneficial effect on our cardiovascular health, lowering bad LDL cholesterol. Omega-3's and 6's that come from nuts and oils like Walnut and Flax Seed are also super healthy for your body and they support optimum brain function.
The next type of fat that should be avoided is saturated fat from animal products such as fatty meats - bacon, sausages, chops, salami and burgers - because they are a leading cause of heart disease and cancer. However, small amounts of saturated fats in the form of grass fed butter and full fat organic dairy can be beneficial as part of a healthy diet when in consumed in small amounts.
In the plant kingdom, extra virgin coconut oil is also a saturated fat which has some amazing health benefits in moderation, particularly as an oil for baking and frying, due to its extra high heat point.
Here are some easy swaps to help you swap out your bad fats for good fats:
- Swap margarine for grass fed butter;
- Swap vegetable oil based salad dressings for extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and lemon juice;
- Swap sugary and fatty snack foods for raw nuts and dried mango pieces;
- Swap out unhealthy fried chips with our Cornucopia snack packs- filled with healthy corn, and nuts! Our Cornucopia packs contain a mix of organically grown, slow roasted corn kernels, delicious raw nuts, seeds, sea salt and spices. They are the perfect whole food snack to carry with you for some tasty, heart-healthy fats!
2. Swap Refined Grains for Whole Grains
One of the biggest food culprits when it comes to inflammation in the body, particularly the gut, is refined grains.
A refined grain is a wholegrain which has been modified in a factory or lab to become a derivative of its natural occurring state. Generally, one or more of three key nutrients from the wholegrain have been extracted - the bran, germ, or endosperm. For example, white ﬂour and white rice are reﬁned grains, because both have had their bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm.
Common foods made from refined grains include; white bread, white flour, cakes, pasta, breakfast cereals, rice, muffins and biscuits.
The problem with refined grains is that the nutrient density of the whole food has been removed, meaning the grain no longer contains the healthy fibres, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, meaning that the foods are much less nutritious, for the body, cells and for supporting healthy digestion.
Research has shown that it’s incredibly beneficial to include wholegrains in your diet for a wide variety of health reasons, including your cardiovascular health, bowel health and weight management.
Get the benefits of whole grains by trying the following swaps:
- Swap white breads for healthier, wholegrain or ‘seed’ breads;
- Swap white rice for more satisfying organic wild rice or brown rice; and
- Swap white pastas for fibre-rich wholegrain or spelt varieties, or go with organic quinoa, soba noodles or zoodles (zucchini noodles).
3. Trade up sugary treats for healthier alternatives
Sugar naturally occurs in plant foods, particularly fruits and whole grains, but these naturally occurring varieties of "large molecule" sugars are vital for the body to run optimally.
On the other hand, processed or "man made" sugars should be avoided wherever possible, because they cause an inflammatory response in the gut, cells and brain, and can lead to diseases like obesity, diabetes, cognitive issues and chronic fatigue - not to mention dental problems.
Sugar can also speed up the signs of ageing. Studies have shown that sugar can cause something called a ‘cross-links’ to form between collagen, or elastin fibres, which can affect the youthful appearance of skin.
The good news is that mother earth is packed with natural sweeteners, that not only satisfy a sweet tooth, but also nourish and sustain you.
So how do we satisfy that sweet craving, without compromising our health?
- Wherever you would normally use sugar crystals, choose raw honey or organic maple syrup instead;
- In home made smoothies and desserts, throw a couple of pitted organic medjool dates into the blender (they are nature's delightful healthy sweetener!)
- At snack time, try raw dried mango or apricots (the go wonderfully well with almonds, brazil nuts or macadamias for a super satisfying snack that won't cause you to crash and burn)
- Swap your chocolate cravings for a home made raw chocolate smoothie made from coconut milk, raw cacao powder, bananas and 2 pitted medjool dates to sweeten. For a quick fix chocolate bar snack, go with a brand like, organic PANA chocolate available in our store, which has no fillers like regular chocolate or processed sugar nasties.
- Swap out your regular energy or protein bar that is packed with emulsifiers and refined sugar for a product like our 100% natural Coconut Raw Energy Bars
- Snack on a handful of our Pulse Sacred Meal Cherry-Coco or Chocolate mix for a healthy, satisfying mix of healthy fats, whole grains, and naturally sweet dried fruit goodness that gives you a burst of energy!
4. Swap your Energy Drinks for Coconut Water or Organic Coffee
The problem with energy drinks is that they're loaded with chemical caffeine, processed sugar and food colourings - all things you really should avoid if you care about your health.
If it's energy that you need, why not try organic coconut water, which is a natural electrolyte and rich in sodium and potassium for cardiovascular and muscular support.
Another great substitute for energy drinks of course is one of nature's finest pick-me-ups, coffee!
The naturally occurring caffeine in coffee is very different from the chemically created varieties in commercial sports drinks. Caffeine from coffee is a mild stimulant that positively impacts the body and brain, making you feel more energetic, focussed and alert.
The thing to keep in mind is that coffee should be drank in moderation, no more than 2-3 cups per day. Ideally, coffee is best consumed in the morning as the nutrients in coffee helps stimulate the peristaltic action of your bowels, which are most active in the morning, helping you to eliminate waste.
The other wonderful thing about coffee is that it is rich in an antioxidant known as polyphenols, which stimulate beneficial gut bacteria and prevent the growth of harmful parasites and bugs.
A final word on coffee. When you choose your morning cup, go with fair trade organic, freshly ground varieties wherever possible, because they contain less harmful chemicals and are less acidic. Also, ideally drink it black with a spoonful of coconut butter or MCT oil for energy. If you need to add milk, go with organic almond or coconut milk instead of homogenised, pasteurised dairy.
Another great option if you're looking for a healthy, quick energy boost is our RAW juice powders. Add a scoop of our GREEN Raw Juice Powder to a glass of chilled filtered water, stir and enjoy. It’s the perfect option for when you want the benefits of a raw, fresh squeezed juice but don't have the time to make your own.
Not a fan of green juices? Try our BERRY Raw Juice Powder for an antioxidant-rich glass of blueberry and strawberry bio-active powerhouse powders.
5. Swap Breakfast Cereal for Healthier Breakfast Alternatives
One of the biggest reasons to avoid most breakfast cereals is because many are made from mass-produced, processed and genetically modified grains.
Corn and Wheat are two of the most over commoditised grains on earth and are the main ingredient in 90% of breakfast cereals. As already mentioned, these types of grains are highly inflammatory and one of the leading causes of cardiovascular problems, diabetes and obesity.
The secret to a good breakfast is choosing the type of food to eat at your first meal. Ideally, fruit is best because it is high in water content, light on your digestive system and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Additionally, fruit is an astringent, meaning it is nature's detoxifying food that is best eaten on an empty stomach and it supports your body's natural elimination cycle which completes in the morning.
If you're not a fan of fruit, go with a banana or green smoothie made on fresh plant milk such as oat, almond, coconut. The next-best other way to go, is to have a bowl of home made muesli or oatmeal with sliced banana and raw honey or maple syrup on top.
Loaded with raw nuts, seeds and dried raw fruit, Pulse Sacred Meal is also delightful as a breakfast or mid morning snack when crumbled on top of organic coconut or dairy milk yogurt.
Keep in mind that the choices you make for breakfast are super important because this meal is the first to break-your-fast, a period where your body has been resetting itself and healing over many hours. Breaking your fast should always begin with liquids and high water content foods before you move on to the more denser snacks and meal options throughout the day.
The Key Take Away
Food is a big part of life and it is very easy to fall into the trap of making poor food choices. All around us we have access to harmful foods that are highly addictive and which will eventually take there toll on our health, if we don't have a more conscious approach to how and what we eat.
Remember, for every harmful food on your supermarket shelf, there is a healthy alternative - it just takes awareness and willingness to rewire your habits for short and long term health benefits.
We hope that these suggestions will help guide you to swap out some of the less nutritious choices you may be currently making and transition to more nourishing, wholesome food choices.
Tolman Self Care.