Making a few small changes to your diet may not seem like much at the time but slowly, over a period of time, as these small changes start to build up, they actually make a big difference. Here are a few, easy to implement changes you can make straight away.
Ditch the vegetable oil, Switch to coconut oil
Polyunsaturated oils such as vegetable and sunflower oils are the worst oils to use in cooking. Heating these oils destroys the antioxidants and oxidises the oil. And these oils are really high in Omega-6 fats so when we cook with these oils we create a huge Omega-6 / Omega-3 imbalance. While there are some benefits to Omega-6′s , maintaining the right balance between Omega-6′s and Omega-3′s is essential to human health.
So whenever you need an oil to cook with use coconut oil. It is stable enough to resist mild heat-induced damage, plus it has numerous other health benefits:
- Promotes your heart health
- Promotes weight loss, when needed
- Supports your immune system health
- Supports a healthy metabolism
- Provides you with an immediate energy source
- Keeps your skin healthy and youthful looking
- Supports the proper functioning of your thyroid gland
I recently put a link on my Facebook Page “160 Uses for Coconut Oil” so you won’t just be using it for cooking!
Ditch white sugar, Switch to coconut palm sugar
White sugar has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever – it’s empty calories. It will send your blood sugar and insulin levels soaring and encourage your body to store fat. But we all enjoy the occasional dessert or slice of cake so try swapping white sugar for coconut palm sugar. Coconut palm sugar is made from the nectar of the coconut palm tree. It has a lower Glycemic Index (35) compared to table sugar (64) and tastes amazing. It has a really smooth caramel flavour and can be substituted for traditional sugar at a ratio of 1:1 when baking or cooking. Do check the label carefully though. I found some palm sugar in my local supermarket but it was blended with regular white sugar so make sure you are buying 100% pure coconut palm sugar. If you’re in the UK you can buy it from Amazon.
Ditch farmed salmon, Switch to wild salmon
Oily fish, particularly salmon, is high in Omega-3 fats which are essential for our health. However, farmed salmon contain a higher percentage of Omega-6 fats which are not nearly as beneficial. Even the organic farmed salmon can’t compete with the wild fish when it comes to Omega-3 levels. I wrote an article on this topic a little while ago which you can read here.
Ditch fruit yoghurt, Switch to plain or Greek yogurt
Yogurt is basically fermented milk and is a fantastic source of probiotics, the good bacteria that support a healthy gut. These live cultures help to prevent all kinds of diseases, especially chronic degenerative ones, by controlling inflammation. Yogurt is marketed as a healthy, low calorie, low fat food but many of the fruit flavoured variety are highly sweetened, contain a long list of ingredients and are far less nutritious than a simple plain yogurt. The healthier option is to choose a plain or Greek yoghurt that contains some fat. Yes fat! Many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, are better absorbed with some fat. If you can’t bring yourself to buy Greek yogurt with 10% fat, choose a low fat (2%) variety rather than the “no-fat” option.
Ditch margarine, Switch to butter
We’ve all seen the TV adverts; a spread that thinks its butter, the ‘healthy’ one made from olives, the ones that will lower your cholesterol etc. We’re led to believe that these spreads are the healthier option but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are numerous health benefits to eating butter, here are just a few:
- Butter is a rich source of vitamin A & D which are essential for the proper absorption of calcium
- It is a good source of iodine which supports thyroid health
- The short and medium chain fatty acids in butter actually help with weight loss
Margarine cannot boast any of these health benefits, in fact there are real health risks associated with eating margarine:
- Free radicals are the result of high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils. They contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease
- Many chemicals are used in the production of margarine. Solvents are used in the extraction process, bleach is used to whiten the oil before it is coloured yellow and artificial flavours are added to give a fake butter like taste.
Ditch the diet drinks/fruit juices/sports drinks, Switch to water
Despite the recent ridiculous claims by EU bureaucrats pure, filtered water is the best way to stay hydrated. We should aim to drink about 2 litres per day but most of us fall short of this target by quite a long way. If you’re dehydrated you are likely to suffer from lack of energy and/or concentration, headaches plus dehydration will inhibit fat loss. Diet drinks, sports drinks, flavoured water etc., are all full of artificial ingredients our bodies simply don’t need. Over time a build up of these nasties will play havoc with your hormonal balance and start to impact your health. Fruit juice is fine in moderation but it still contains a lot of sugar so if you’re trying to lose weight I recommend restricting the amount you drink.
Ditch the drinking chocolate, Switch to cocoa powder
I had a rummage in my cupboard and found a jar of Options Belgian Chocolate lurking at the back. The list of ingredients (there are 15 of them) is far from appetising and includes aspartame, sugar (lots of it) and vegetable oil. On the other hand my jar of Green & Blacks organic cocoa (definitely not out of date as I use it quite a lot) contains just two ingredients – cocoa powder and potassium carbonate which neutralises the naturally occurring acid in the cocoa.
On its own cocoa powder tastes quite bitter but try mixing 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder with one teaspoon of xylitol in a little water. Keep mixing until you get a smooth paste and pour on hot water or almond milk for a delicious hot chocolate drink.
Please leave a comment and let me know what ‘switches’ you plan to make.
PS. The jar of Options drinking chocolate went in the bin!