Today we live in a world where being and staying healthy is becoming something cool. The days of drinking Coke and eating Mc Donald’s are way in the past. People are changing! The world is changing! We are becoming more aware of how food can impact our overall health and wellness and the positive result of that is? Increased demand followed by increased supply.
I go to Whole Foods on a weekly basis and each time I go I see a new healthy product that is made with safe clean nutritious ingredients. So today’s post is going to be all about these healthy food swaps you can make to increase your wellness game. These little changes will increase your energy, help you drop extra pounds, improve your skin and even your genetic expression. Yes, food talks to your genes!
Now we all love pasta and limiting your carb intake can be one of the greatest challenges when trying to lose weight for example. But do we need to completely quit pasta to be healthier? No, you don’t, especially if you like chickpeas. Try this chickpea pasta from Banza – it has only 4 ingredients and it’s high in protein and fiber which is exactly what you want to look for when choosing one. Some other options can be lentil pasta, bean pasta or edamame pasta. Or if you want to up your wellness game even more try the zucchini noodles.
Note* – just because pasta (or chips, or anything) says it’s made with spinach or any kind of veggie, doesn’t mean it’s completely healthy. It means that it’s infused with a little bit of spinach, and the rest is still wheat, flour, etc.
2.SUGAR -> STEVIA
Now you probably already know that Sugar is bad for you. Besides the fact that sugar is an empty calorie ( meaning it has no nutrients) it also causes a lot of damage to your organs, especially to your gut and brain. And the gut brain connection is really really important! We used to think serotonin ( the happiness hormone) is produced in your brain only to find out that it’s actually made in your gut ( 95% of it). How is that important? Well sugar promotes the growth of bad bacteria in your gut and if your gut is unhealthy then your brain is too. From my experience with over 250 clients struggling with a sugar addiction I can tell you that a diet high in sugar causes depression ( more sugar – less serotonin in the long term) and weaning off of it can significantly improve your mood and life in general. So my advice to you is to quit sugar completely! The less you eat it the less you’ll crave it.
And for those times when you really feel like having something sweet try swapping sugar with stevia. What is stevia? It’s a sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia Rebaudiana, native to Brazil and Paraguay. Stevia has no calories and it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar in the same concentration. Some studies even show it might have the potential for treating endocrine diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. I always recommend it especially to my diabetic clients because it can stabilize their blood sugar levels, increase insulin production and insulin’s effect on cell membranes. You can add it to your smoothies, oatmeal, cookies, etc. Maybe you will not like at first but that’s ok, remember you are in charge of your body and it’s possible to train your taste buds so that some things that you don’t like become things you can get used to.
3.COCOA -> CACAO
Chocolate is not healthy – true or false? FALSE.
Where does chocolate come from and what is the difference between COCOA and CACAO? Both come from the same place, the cacao tree. And this is where chocolate comes from too. But it’s when they take it from that tree and put it into packages that it just makes a world of difference.
When the pods are in the tree they are known as – CACAO BEANS. They are one of the highest antioxidant foods on the planet. It is so sooo good for you. I think it has something like 40% more antioxidants than blueberries. We all know how healthy blueberries are. And it’s thought to be one of the richest food sources of magnesium around, which is why chocolate cravings can sometimes be a sign of Magnesium deficiency ( read more about it).
It naturally has no sugar, because chocolate on its own is actually unsweetened. It’s amazing for your brain ( boosts your mood and cognitive performance), great for your skin, for your energy, for your sleep, it can lower your blood pressure and even prevent heart disease. There are so so many great benefits. You can add it on oatmeal, quinoa, cookies, in the smoothies, tea, and coffee. Or to everything else, get creative!
COCOA, on the other hand, even though it starts from the same place like I said before, it goes through so much processing. During processing it’s heated at much higher temperatures which results in fewer nutrients and a slightly sweeter flavor. So, next time when you’re making treats for your kids, or yourself, definitely switch to cacao from cocoa and you’ll see amazing health benefits.
4.CHIPS -> CHICKPEA PUFFS
I love crunchy salty foods! And I loveee chickpeas! When I first heard of these two combined ( from one of my clients actually haha) I went straight to Whole Foods and got some. Whew! SO delicious!! They are called HIPPEAS and they’re chickpea puffs – baked not fried, made with Non-GMO natural and organic ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. They come in different natural flavors – vegan white cheddar, sriracha sunshine, nacho vibes, bohemian barbeque, Himalayan happiness and pepper power. And when I say natural flavors I really mean natural flavors. HIPPEAS natural flavors originate from, for example, plants, spices, fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
With 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per1–ounce serving, these chickpea puffs make a great snack for when feeling like something crunchy or when travelling or watching a movie. I always stash one bag of these in my purse whenever I go to the movies so that I can skip the oily buttery popcorn.
5.PEANUT BUTTER -> ALMOND BUTTER
Peanut butter has been a staple in the American pantry for decades. But lately, other types of nut butters, such as almond butter, are starting to gain in popularity.
So why Almond butter is healthier than Peanut butter? While both have the same amount of calories per serving, almond butter has way more nutrients. And you want your calories to have high nutrient density (so either macronutrients like protein, carbs, and fat, or micronutrients like vitamins and minerals) because the whole point of food is to actually sustain you and give you life. Almond butter has more healthy fats, twice as much iron, three times as much vitamin E and seven times more calcium than peanut butter. It has more fiber too and fiber makes you feel full faster, which may help you maintain a healthy weight. It also helps lower your cholesterol.
I am so passionate about almond butter! I feel like it works so well with all types of fruits and even vegetables ( celery). You can also throw it in your smoothies or on top of an acai bowl or oatmeal. Just make sure you choose a good quality unsweetened almond butter like this one right here.
These are just little things you can do to switch out ingredients and not even notice a big change in your diet. Take your time and be patient. Change takes time.
I hope you found this information helpful! If you have any comments or questions just let me know.
To Your Health and Success,