October 19, 2009
So you've been trying to eat healthy. Or maybe you haven't even been trying. But perhaps it's something you're thinking about. After all, you're bombarded each day with news that tells you to lower your sodium intake, eat less packaged food, consume less sugar or re-invent your diet. But the truth is, it can be quite intimidating when you actually throw open your cupboard, pantry and refrigerator and try to figure out what is healthy and what isn't, and many of these fear-mongering articles don't actually tell you how to eat healthy.
And to make the problem even worse, if you actually do throw out those unhealthy items like potato chips, frozen hot dogs, candy bars, white flour and sweet cereal, what do you actually replace them with? How do you eat healthy without starving yourself?
Consider this article your “Dummies Guide to Eating Healthy”. With the simple substitutions outlined here, you can gradually eliminate the items in your kitchen that will make you fat, sick, fatigued, sore or grumpy, and easily replace them with the items that will transform your body and make your health rise to new levels.
Here's how it works: I'm going to list a popular item from your kitchen that you may or may not realize is unhealthy, and then give you some alternative choices for that item that you should be able to find at your local grocery store. You can then make the simple healthy food substitution and move on down the list to prepare for healthy grocery shopping! Are you ready to start?
Soda pop, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Kool-aid, etc. – Substitute sparkling water with natural flavors, purified water, or nuun (click here – naturally flavored tablets you can drop into water).
Juice “Cocktails” or “Drinks”, Powdered or Artificially Flavored Drinks (i.e. Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate, Fruit Punch, etc.) – Substitute unsweetened fruit juices like cranberry or fresh squeezed juices like orange.
Black tea and Coffee – Peppermint tea (decaf substitute) and green tea (caffeine substitute). Delta-E (click here) if you need a bigger energy surge.
White Pasta (of any shape) – Substitute whole wheat pasta, spelt pasta, sesame pasta, Miracle noodles (calorie-free noodle, click here).
White Rice – Substitute quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, barley, rye or oats.
White, Wheat, Rye, Barley or Oat Flour – Substitute ground whole grain flour (Arrowhead Mills has good brand).
Boxed “Sweet” Cereals – Substitute Kashi Go Lean, Bob's Red Mill, Nature's Path Corn Flakes, any Health Valley brand, or any Arrowhead Mills brand.
White Flour Crackers – Substitute rice cakes, rye or spelt crackers, or whole grain wafers.
Margarine – Yes, it's actually not healthy. Substitute butter, in very small amounts.
Vegetable Oils (includes canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and safflower oil) – Substitute extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil for low temperatures/dressings, and extra virgin coconut oil for high temperatures.
Regular Milk – Substitute plain rice milk, plain almond milk, or powdered goat's milk (I use CapraMilk – click here, use 5% discount code BGF)
Cheddar Cheese or Swiss Cheese (or any other high calorie “blocks” of cheese) – Substitute pre-shredded fresh parmesan, crumbled goat or crumbled feta cheese. Better for you and you'll use less. They also make something called rice cheese, but it's more expensive.
Flavored Yogurt – Substitute plain, fat-free yogurt, and add flavor with a handful of frozen or fresh berries. You'll save yourself from consuming over 4 teaspoons of added sugar.
Distilled Vinegar – Substitute apple cider vinegar with fewer toxins.
Aluminum Baking Powder/Baking Soda – Substitute aluminum free, low-sodium baking powder.
Cocoa, chocolate – Substitute “carob” (extremely low calorie and tastes similar, you can get it as chunks or powdered).
White Sugar & Corn Syrup – Substitute raw honey and pure maple syrup, or Stevia for zero calories.
Splenda, Sweet n' Low, Artificial Sweeteners – Substitute Stevia.
Brown Sugar – Substitute molasses or dried raw can juice.
Potato Chips – Substitute baked chips or vegetable chips.
Dried Fruits (with sulphur) or “Packaged” Trail Mix – Substitute dried unsulphured fruits and raw, unsalted nuts from bulk foods aisle.
Regular Peanut Butter – Substitute natural peanut butter with no added sugars or salts or, better yet, almond butter or cashew butter.
Canned or Frozen Fruits with Added Sugars – Regular raw fruits from produce aisle.
Commercially Raised Animals Fed Grains/Hay Treated with Chemicals and given Chemicals to Keep Them “Healthy” – Substitute lean free range chicken and turkey, locally raised or organic, grass-fed beef, venison, buffalo or bison. Also eat more beans, peas, lentils and whole grains, and use protein powders.
Here's an easy way to do it: get out a pen and piece of paper, go through your pantries and refrigerator, find any of the “bold” type unhealthy foods above, and write down on the piece of paper what the substitute should be. Then go shopping. Once the healthy food substitutions are in your house, you'll be set to go! Did I miss any popular foods for which you still need substitutions? Just e-mail [email protected] or leave a comment on this post.
And remember: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting the same results. Don't get stuck in that rut. Once you commit, make these changes, and re-invent your diet, I can guarantee that you will be able to watch the fat literally melt away while your health, performance and energy levels soar!
8 thoughts on “Eating Healthy For Dummies – 24 Ways To Re-Invent Your Diet.”
Meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow? MEOW MEOW MEOW MEOW MEOW BEN!
I don't know if you had mentioned this in a previous podcast or article, but I had a question on Artificial sweeteners. Technically, Stevia is still considered an Artificial sweetener, right? If so, is it only a better option then Splenda because it is organic? Or does it have a different chemical breakdown in the body as well? Thank you for your podcasts and I'm voting for you with Men's Heath, GOOD LUCK!
Stevia is not necessarily organic but it is natural. It occurs in nature and isn’t made in lab. It isn’t a sweetener per se, it just tastes sweet and can be added to make certain things taste sweeter. Make sense? By the way, this would make a great question for the podcast – http://www.speakpipe.com/bengreenfield
I know you mention cooking with coconut oil. I had a fellow bike racer friend of mine suggest getting coconut oil and having a little every day and suggested a book called the Coconut Oil Miracle. I followed the recommendations last summer and my race season was awesome. I got leaner and lighter than ever and did not lose power. I think coconut oil helped. What is your take on adding this to your diet. Perhaps you should try to get the author Bruce Fife on a podcast?
I actually already utilize coconut oil in many of the nutritional plans I write out for my clients at http://www.pacificfit.net , and I personally have a big jar of it in my pantry! I believe it was first mentioned on this show during the Anne Louise Gittleman Fat Flush interview…
Ben most of your advice is good but I have to say that Cocoa and Chocolate are healthy, they’re actually one of the antioxidant superfoods. According to some sources including Prohealth, new research has shown that chocolate is very good for the cardiovascular system both from high quantities of fl avoids and also a compound that creates nitric oxide which is shown to control blood pressure. That’s why all the new 70% chocolates are appearing. Instead of just advising people to ditch chocolate for carob, you should address making healthy chocolate choices.
I agree. Chocolate *is* healthy, just not packaged into M&M’s or a Snickers bar. Most carob products are not “junk” food, so they will be less tempting for people…
But if you can get your hands on a good piece of dark chocolate, just as good!
I am a new listener and I think I am addicted to your pod-casts. THEY ARE GREAT! One question for you. I was just diagnosed with Mono–YUCK. I used to be in the gym doing cardio and weights nearly every day but now, I have zero energy and have packed on about 10lbs. Its really frustrating because I know that I need to get back in the gym, but just going to work drains me.
WHAT CAN/SHOULD I DO???
thanks so much.