NOTE: THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND I WILL BE CONTINUING TO ADD TO IT! KEEP CHECKING BACK!
When starting to eat healthier, you can start to make small changes that will allow you to still enjoy the "tastes" or "feel" of your favorite foods and drinks while decreasing your toxic intake. In this article, I will help you replace some of your unhealthy favorites into healthier, more nutrient dense foods. Please keep an open mind and heart. I know we eat what we do because that's what we like. And, if I may be so bold, we are addicted to certain things! Just eating white sugar and caffeine is addicting enough, without all the additives that they put into fast and convenience foods to increase the cravings even more. So, while these new foods aren't exactly like the former ones, give them a try and start to retrain your taste buds as to what real food is. I hope they will become your new favorites!
SODA is so crisp and bubbly! You can read my other posts about the dangers of HFCS and artificial sweetners. Not to mention the other chemical additives. Sparkling mineral water, with or without fruit juice added are great substitutes. Also, more "natural" sodas with pure cane sugar or stevia or sugar alcohols (xylitol, erythritol, etc.) are healthier choices. Zevia is good. Beware! Even some that call themselves "natural" may still have splenda. Read the label!The natural sodas should still be limited as they can still disrupt your gut flora (healthy bacteria) and cause digestive problems.
PASTA Until you get accustomed to whole grain pasta, a good alternative to white pasta is Barilla in the yellow box. It has chick peas, lentils and other whole foods that give it a denser nutrient content and more fiber. It cooks up light and very tasty. Brown rice pasta is also nice and gets us away from so much wheat. Try quinoa, corn, spelt, soba (buckwheat) and whole wheat pasta as well.
COOKIES Make an agreement with yourself that you will only eat homemade treats - unless you buy them at the health food store and carefully read the labels - because this will not only allow you to use whole grain flours and less refined sugar, but also eliminate the preservatives. Start converting your recipes to use organic cane sugar and white whole wheat flour. Then expand out to whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, spelt, and kamut flours. You will find you start to prefer a hardier cookie or brownie and your body will thank you. Later, you can start to use lower glycemic sweetners like brown rice syrup, barley malt and agave syrup.
OILS The two I use in my house are EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and Canola. EVOO can be used in most baking items as well as other cooking. I use Canola if I really don't want to taste the flavor of the oil and if I am stir-frying since it is very stable at higher heats.
BUTTER Buy organic if possible. Another option is to use Earth Balance a non-hydrogenated, non GMO blend of different oils. It is heart healthy and can be used just like butter in everything. There is an organic version at Trader Joe's, but you can even find it at WalMart.