Friday, March 2, 2012

Food Replacement Ideas

(Coconut Oil. I spread it on like butter, and call me crazy, 
but I sometimes even eat it by the spoonful.)

Maybe, just maybe, you've noticed that once we get comfortable with a certain something in life—a route to work, a favorite snack, a way of managing our business—it's a real struggle to try something new. Why hassle? If it ain't broke, why fix it? . . . Well, maybe it is broke—maybe your body is finally physically broke—and you're still doing the same things you're always done. Well, here are a few simple replacement foods that may start to make a noticeable improvement in your health. Small steps often lead to huge morale boosts and even bigger health improvements.

Butter: Any recipe that calls for butter or vegetable oil I replace with wondrous coconut oil. Much, MUCH healthier. Coming from a person who detested coconut anything, I can say that the coconut taste is faint and the more you eat it, the more the flavor fades. Almost two years ago I experimented with scrambling eggs in coconut oil but thought the coconut oil taste was too strong. I tried it ago a few months later, after getting more used to eating coconut oil in other foods, and I didn't notice the taste like I had the first time. I don't think twice about cooking my eggs in coconut oil now, and I especially now love the hint of coconut in my green smoothies and my chocolate chip cookies!

Mayo: Rather than spreading mayonnaise on your tuna sandwich, try using homemade hummus or avocado instead. I usually mash up the avocado and then spread it on like you would the hummus. Delicious and much better for your body!

Bread: One of my favorite bread replacements is lettuce. Instead of making a sandwich with two slices of bread, make your own lettuce wrap. You can also use Eziekiel tortillas to make a little pita/taco-like sandwich.

Another long-time favorite of mine is harina P.A.N. for making arepas, a staple food in Venezuela and Colombia made from corn meal. To make an arepa you mix the corn meal with some water and a little salt until you get a great dough going on. Then with your hands you form the dough into a ball, flatten it out like a hamburger patty, and bake or cook in a frying pan. When it's cooked, slice the arepa as you would a hamburger bun, but don't cut all the way through so that you form a pocket. You can then fill the sandwich pocket with whatever goodness you'd like. I usually create a tuna mixture with chopped onions, cilantro, and chopped tomatoes. If you have any questions feel free to ask, but I will plan to do a post about making arepas.

Sugar: We are so lucky that in this day in age we have plenty of sugar replacements whether we are aware of them or not. Stevia is one, an all-natural sweetener that comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant usually found in South America. Xylitol is also a natural sweetener but is found in most fruits and vegetables. It is equally matched with sugar in sweetness, but far exceeds sugar in health benefits such as having less calories and leading to less cavities. Xylitol is also absorbed slower by the body, so it is a better option for people with diabetes. Some other natural sugar replacements are figs, dates, raisins, applesauce, and carob. These options may not work for all recipes, but they definitely can retrain a sweet tooth.

I would say that sugar is one of the most significant replacement areas. By replacing processed sugar with natural sugars, you will notice the most energy return to your body. Some people experience sugar withdrawals in the form of a headache or even a rash or acne, as their body is detoxing, but some people don't have much of a side effect. All I can say is the withdrawals are worth getting that energy back, even if it's little by little.

This list is just to get you started, but there are plenty more replacement ideas than this! Feel free to share your favorite replacements.


Vee said...

I can't believe I didn't even try your coconut oil when I was there! I'll have to get me some of my own.

Kate said...

I think you need to come back for another visit! Or better yet, I think I could really use a San Diego getaway!! I'll bring a suitcase full of coconut oil.