5 Smart Swaps to Clean Up Your Plate
Look, there is no shortage of information available these days about Clean Eating principles. You can go Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Elimination, Primal, Bulletproof, Sugar Detox, etc. I eat this stuff up (the information, not the food), and spend an almost embarrassing amount of time researching ways to help my patients. I find it immensely fascinating to unravel the details of someone’s story to find the key to unlock better health.
But here’s the deal-- what is fascinating to my science-loving brain is sometimes overwhelming to someone who just wants an easy way to feel better. So, today I present you with 5 Smart Swaps to help you focus on cleaning up your diet. If you pick one or two things on this list to start with you will be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
#1 - The Breakfast Swap
This has been the single-most important thing that I have done over the years to maintain my weight. I used to eat crackers and peanut butter, or toast, or bagels, or waffles for breakfast every.single.day. And every evening would have to be spent on a treadmill and let me tell you, I was fighting a losing battle. No matter how much I exercised the weight was slowly but surely creeping upwards. Look at that list though! It was almost all carbohydrates! Now, my daily breakfast is the cult-favorite “Bulletproof Coffee” on Mondays through Fridays because I practice intermittent fasting during the week. On the weekends I like to have eggs and bacon. On Sunday I even indulge in a Starbucks run. Here is the list of effective breakfast options that I recommend to help you ditch those morning carbs and rev up your metabolism:
- Bulletproof coffee- it’s coffee, it’s butter (pronounced budd-ahh), it’s delicious.
- Eggs/Bacon/Sausage- seems indulgent but it’s fine without carbs.
- Protein Shake (can I recommend Vega One Nutritional Shake? It’s gluten free/ soy free/dairy free and it’s amazing when prepped the right way. You can pick it up at our pharmacy if you want to give it a try.)
#2 - The Quality Swap
So yes, I believe you should buy your meat and eggs from grass fed animals. I have two reasons for this. The first reason is the obvious, the quality is better-- the fats in grass fed animals are better for your cardiovascular health and are less inflammatory. The second reason I recommend these is kind of weird, but when you are spending more money on quality meats, you tend to actually cook healthy dishes with them and not let it go to waste. Make sense? For example, if I buy grass fed beef, I already have a plan for how I’m going to cook it and when I’m going to eat it. Which means I have a healthy plan for at least one meal...and my diet gets conquered one healthy meal at a time.
#3 - The Sugar Swap
Sugar is the #1 cause of obesity in America (ok, I don’t have an official reference for that stat, I made it up...but I’m pretty sure it is true). We consume an unreal amount of sugar in the US. Look for opportunities to swap out sugar for stevia-- which is a plant based, natural alternative to sugar. Also, look for ways that you can decrease the overall amount of sugar you are consuming a little at a time. For instance, if you normally order sweet tea at a restaurant, order a half and half tea. You won’t believe how sensitive your palate can become to sugar when you begin to decrease it.
#4 - The Soda Swap
You probably think I’m going to tell you to stop drinking sodas. Well, in a perfect world that would be great, but I live in the real world and I know there are some of you that are just not going there (at least not yet). So, I actually have 2 fantastic solutions. The first is Zevia-- it is a soda sweetened with stevia. It tastes a little different than a regular soda so you need some time to get used to it, but it is actually, genuinely good. The second solution-- San Pelligrino, which is carbonated mineral water. If you are like me and you need a fizz fix-- this is it. Now, it is straight up water...no flavor, no sweetener, but I find it to be delightful and I think you might also.
#5 - The Snack Swap
I love this tip, because it can almost feel like a cheat. I buy dark chocolate in bulk, and there is a great brand called Lilly’s that is sweetened with Stevia!!! I’m kind of like a squirrel, and I have little hidey-holes filled with dark chocolate in my office and at my house. I wait until the kids go to bed and go get my stash. The trick here is to eat a reasonable amount. So, I have a rule of thumb-- no more than 9 gms of net carbs allowed per day from dark chocolate. This usually means I can have 2 small dark chocolate snacks....which is about 1/4th of a bar of most dark chocolates, which is usually 1 square twice a day based on the way most dark chocolate bars are split. Can you tell I’m a pharmacist? I mean, do you know anyone else that measures and counts the carbs in their dark chocolate and then prescribes an allowed amount per day? I didn’t think so.
So, there you have it. 5 Smart Swaps to help you clean up your diet.