When we’re busy or running short on time, it’s easy to grab that ready-made processed version of what you’re really after. This is a quick fix with limited nutritional benefits beyond satisfying immediate hunger or thirst.
Become a savvier consumer by getting food to do more for you. Get to know your food better.
In part 1 of this blog series, I gave you 3 guiding principles for incorporating more real food into your lifestyle: (1) deconstruct the processed foods you enjoy into fresh-made alternatives (2) get used to reading the ingredient label before you buy and (3) choose food for energy and nutrients.
Trading processed foods for less processed alternatives speeds up your digestive process and keeps the heavier, more complicated ingredients from weighing you down.
Diving deeper this week, I am giving you more tools and tangible examples to work with by zeroing in on the 3 most common processed foods that make their way into our everyday diet: drinks, sauces, and baked goods. I’m also offering you some creative ways for replacing them with healthier options based on what you like.
Many pops and juices — especially the “diet” versions of them — contain chemicals that our bodies are not made to digest. As a result, they get “stuck” or absorbed where they shouldn’t be, and this disrupts your body’s ability to recognize, sort, and process what you consume into nutrients or energy.
A great way to get around this is to simply make your own versions of your favourite drinks. If you enjoy pop, try adding your favourite fruit or freshly squeezed juice to sparkling water. If you like juice, try making your own smoothies or juicing fresh produce.
Your body will benefit from the extra nutrients you get from fresh fruit that hasn’t been bottled and modified in mass production. You’ll find that the versions of the drinks you make will contain way less added sugar too.
To sweeten your drinks, including your daily coffees and teas, reach for natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup. Unlike refined sugar, they are not processed and are good for you.
Baked goods like cookies, pastries, and muffins are so easy to reach for, especially when on the go.
Because baked goods are often made with processed white flours and refined white sugars, they are considered mostly processed, even if you purchase them from an artisan bakery or nice café.
Now, what if you could make tastier, healthier, more whole alternatives in a short amount of time and at a fraction of the cost?
For example, the other day I was craving a nut butter cookie (something along the lines of a peanut butter cookie),so I whipped up a small batch of tahini cookies. Using whole ingredients I already had, I made these gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free treats following this simple recipe:
From a culinary perspective, sauces are meant to add fat or moisture to your food.
Unfortunately, we often use sauces that have been pre-packaged and contain hidden ingredients. So here are some easy, creative options for substituting those often high-sodium sauces for cleaner alternatives:
Avocado: makes a nutritious substitute for mayonnaise, cream, or processed cheese. Avocados are an easy way to add healthy fats to your meal or snack. Use in potato salads, tuna salad, in sandwiches, and to add balance to spicier meals.
Greek yogurt or labneh (lebanese yogurt cheese): makes a tangy yet creamy dressing or thickener for curries and pasta sauces. Also a good binder for any kind of salad (bean or grain salads).
Nut butter: we know that nuts and fresh herbs make up a great pesto sauce, but you can also use nut in butter form (almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter) in wraps, sandwiches, or hot dishes to substitute for cheese or mayo.
It’s all about getting more creative and inventive with your food. You’ll be surprised by how, with a little practice, you’ll gain an intuitive sense of what foods can go together.
I often Google recipes using the ingredients I happen to already have. As long as I have my lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs for completeness in nutrients, then I know somewhere in the universe a recipe will exist that is made up of those ingredients I have chosen and feel would go together.
For example, when I came up with those tahini cookies shown above, the only nut butter I had was sesame butter, I knew I wanted to sweeten the cookies with dates instead of white sugar, and I had coconut flour in my pantry. I ended up googling those three ingredients “+ tahini cookies” and yielded the recipe made. They turned out to be so delicious and easy that I’ve added them to my “library” of recipes I would keep making for life.
For help with understanding how you can identify and clear your weight loss blocks, you always have the option of booking a session with me.
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