Let’s face it, the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is terrible. We’re led to believe that unhealthy foods are healthy simply because of the overuse of trendy “diet fads” and clever marketing.
I want to help make things simple for you, my friend. One of our talented writers recently wrote a post, which inspired this week’s Saturday Strategy. I want to show you 7 simple swaps to help you upgrade your plate and ultimately, upgrade your health!
You may already know some of these, while others may be new. I encourage you to give them a try and find the ones you like best. Get your friends and family involved and pick a day of the week to try a new recipe using a new “healthy swap” from this list. Then comment below and let me know which one you tried and how it turned out!
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite from this list because they are all so good!
1. Pasta < Spaghetti Squash
Eating spaghetti squash will help fill up your plate without adding a ton of calories. Each cup of the cooked squash contains only 42 calories – 2 percent of the daily calorie intake on a 1,500-calorie diet, or 1.5 percent of a 2,000-calorie diet. Due to the squash’s low calorie content, substituting spaghetti squash in place of spaghetti pasta dramatically reduces the calorie content of your meal; substituting a cup of squash in place of pasta saves you 179 calories. If you normally eat spaghetti once a week, the calorie difference in switching to spaghetti squash translates to 2.5 pounds of weight loss over the course of a year.
Each cup of cooked squash contains approximately 10 grams of total carbohydrates, including 2.2 grams of fiber.
One cup of squash contains vitamin A, several B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K. In addition, spaghetti squash provides a source of the essential minerals calcium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
2. Skim Milk < Almond, Hemp or Coconut Milk
Skim milk is fortified with synthetic vitamins to replace those lost in fat-removal and milk solids to replace the protein and calcium lost in processing. Just one cup of skim milk contains 90 calories and 12 grams of sugar.
Opt for unsweetened almond, coconut or hemp milk. The calories will be cut in half and without any sugar. They also won’t contain the nasty additives found in dairy milk.
3. Soy Sauce < Coconut Aminos
There is a lot of misinformation out there about the health of soy. One thing’s for sure though, unfermented soy has been shown to be a hormone disrupter, particularly an estrogen mimicker. It’s recommended that people with autoimmune disease or any sort of endocrine system imbalance (thyroid, hormones, adrenal glands) avoid soy because of it’s thought-to-be negative affects on the body.
Instead, opt for coconut aminos, which are just a tad sweeter than soy sauce, without the soy or wheat that soy sauce contains.
The most notable benefit of coconut aminos is its impressive amino acid content compared to soy-based sauces. Commonly described as the “building blocks of protein,” amino acids are vitally important to human health. They contribute to the repair and rebuilding of muscle tissue, help to enhance overall brain and nervous system function and assist in boosting the immune system and physical energy levels. Second only to water, protein is one of the most important substances in our bodies, which is why it is nutritionally beneficial to consume a diet that is rich in amino acids.
4. Agave Nectar (refined sugar) < Raw Honey
Though most health food stores carry it, the trendy sugar substitute, agave nectar, shockingly contains 70 to 80 percent fructose, which is more than what’s found in high-fructose corn syrup. Most agave is laboratory-generated super-condensed fructose syrup, without any nutrients.
Raw honey has anti-viral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It promotes body and digestive health, is a powerful antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, eliminates allergies and is an excellent remedy for skin wounds and all types of infections.
5. Gatorade (or any energy or sports drinks) < Coconut Water + Organifi
It’s better than a sports drink. Dubbed “nature’s Gatorade”, coconut water is a natural isotonic drink that provides many of the same benefits as formulated sports drinks, including the electrolytes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, but in their natural form.
Organifi is loaded with antioxidants, adaptogens and phytonutrients to keep you energized, alkalized and invigorated all day long!
6. Sugar-Laden Latte > Organic Black Coffee with Butter or Coconut Oil
While the “foofy” espresso drinks are delicious, they pack a ton of empty calories, including massive amounts of sugar. Coffee is also a large GMO crop, so to avoid those nasty pesticides and chemicals, opt for organic beans.
Instead, of your daily grande, low-fat, vanilla latte with a dash of cinnamon, opt for organic black coffee with butter or coconut oil. You can even add some vanilla stevia for an extra dose of flavor.
Coffee often gets a bad rap when in fact, quality coffee consumed in moderation can have some great benefits.
It’s high in antioxidants. A study published in the journal “Plant Foods for Human Nutrition” found the antioxidants in coffee decrease oxidative stress in the body and therefore reduce risk of diseases like cancer and reduce inflammation in the body. Another study, published in the “Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism,” found coffee may help to prevent and treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels after meals.
Adding good quality fats helps eliminate sharp spikes in dips in energy, promotes healthy cognitive function and helps stabilize pH levels.
7. Margarine < Butter or Ghee Margarine is nothing more than chemicals, sugar and dairy and is created in a lab. There is nothing natural about margarine. It’s made from trans fat, which is known as the artery clogging fat. It also increase LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL (the good cholesterol). Butter or ghee (which is clarified butter), on the other hand, packs some great nutritional value! Butter is a great source of vitamins A, D, E and K. Trace minerals are found in butter such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant. Butter contains more selenium per gram compared to herring or wheat germ. What’s more, butter is also a great source of iodine. The fat in butter is great for your immune system and boosting metabolism. (Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat!) It’s also great for skin health and cognition. Butter contains Wulzen Factor – This is a hormone like substance with many functions. It can prevent stiffness in the joints, as well as arthritis. It is also responsible for ensuring that calcium is deposited in the bones rather than in the joints. Note that the Wulzen factor can only be found in raw butter and cream. Ghee is just butter with the milk solids removed, making a it a great option for those unable to handle standard dairy. Always opt for organic to avoid hormones!