New year – time to start fresh! But where to start? I’m sure you are being pressured by plenty of TV ads telling you which way to go, and it can all get very confusing, very fast. Here are my top 5 swaps for a good, clean start to 2015:
Dairy has high levels of the protein “casein” and sugar “lactose” that are very hard for the body to process, lactose-intolerant or not.
Easy Swap: Remove the milk and yogurt at breakfast and replace with something green. Why? Despite the hype, greek yogurt is generally quite processed, with tons of sugar (or chemical fake sugar-free sugar), artificial flavors and colors. For many reasons – processed food is not ideal, especially as the first thing that enters your body in the morning!
Rockstar Swap: Remove all dairy from your day entirely, and instead use the following:
· Milk – almond, coconut, hemp, oat, rice
· Cheese – nutritional yeast sprinkles make for a cheesy flavor on their own – or – create your own cheeses from nuts like almond parmesan or cashew ricotta
· Yogurt/Ice Cream – almond, coconut products
Trendy? It has definitely become a trend, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that many people do suffer from gluten sensitivity. If you’re sensitive, the gluten in your food can irritate the inside and outside of the digestive tract.
Easy Swap: Again, include something green first thing in the morning instead of cereal bars or bagels. The first thing you want to give your body in the morning is an easy meal, that doesn’t require a whole lot of work to process. Your body spent all night cleansing (and likely still is when you wake up in the morning). Ease your body into the day with whole foods, full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Rockstar Swap: Remove all wheat products from your day entirely, and instead use the following:
– Brown rice/quinoa pasta
– Brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat/soba
– Look for gluten-free with minimal ingredients
– Almond, buckwheat, coconut, garbanzo, oat, brown rice
– Vodka, wine, gluten-free beer
• Soy Sauce (yes! Even soy sauce has gluten)
3) Refined Sugar
The main idea here is to remove the white and brown refined sugars BUT ALSO the chemical-based sugar substitutes like Splenda, Sweet ‘n Low and Equal. But why, if they are 0 calories and not really sugar? Because they are purely chemicals – and chemicals are not easy for the body to digest and process.
Easy Swap: Use alternatives like raw honey, coconut sugar, pure stevia or maple syrup to sweeten your coffees and sweets.
Rockstar Swap: Remove all sweets from your diet, or limit to one per week as a true treat.
Soy is the most difficult bean to digest and is now heavily processed and very commercial (fermented soy, like tamari and miso, is better). When you cut out dairy, try not to go the soymilk route – and be careful of soy products and fake meats.
Easy Swap / Rockstar Swap: Only one option here – remove processed soy products from your diet and replace with real foods – beans, meats, nuts, whole grains and veggies.
5) Processed Foods
During processing, the nutrients and fiber found in whole foods are stripped away and problematic ingredients like fat, sugar, and salt are added. These foods spike (and crash) your blood sugar, cause inflammation in the body (which is the root of disease), and require many vitamins and minerals to be digested (and they don’t have any IN them to replenish the reserves in the body!).
Easy Swap / Rockstar Swap: Only one option here, too – remove processed products from your diet and replace with real foods – beans, meats, nuts, whole grains and veggies. Look for products that have minimal ingredients that you can pronounce.
If you do ONE thing for yourself – use these swaps in the beginning of your day. If your body is focusing less on digestion – it is focusing more on keeping you healthy and beautiful and giving you energy. Do you feel amazing 30 minutes after you’ve had yogurt, or a bagel, or cereal? Probably not. Starting your day with greens will give you powerful nutrition without weighing you down.