Food Swap. Choosing a Healthier Alternative

Food Swap. Choosing a Healthier Alternative

As I have mentioned in My Preferable Lifestyle, there are certain foods I have eliminated entirely from my pantry, mainly due to the modification process during its travel from the field to our plate. Most I don’t consume altogether, some I avoid as much as possible,  and the rest, well,  I have created a method  which I like to call “The Swap”.

“The Swap” entails the replacement of a certain food, or food group, with a healthier, more nutritious alternative.
One reason to “swap”, other than that mentioned above, is the inhumane way animals are treated before they wind up in the slaughter house.  I admit that,  watching a documentary or two helped a great deal in this journey, as some of the images will  forever be engraved into my brain. The physical abuse they suffer from and the ‘food’ they are fed is down right inconceivable, to say the least! The images I chose to purposely sit through, even though at times I thought something must be wrong with me,  simply made it nearly impossible for me to continue with the same eating habits.

It’s not always easy to make the right choice, that comes with the accumulation of knowledge and believe it or not, practice.  The road may be quite bumpy at times, but no one is judging.  As long as we go for the healthier option most of the time, we are already taking a step in the right direction.  I will try and give you some tips on which foods you can gradually begin to “swap”, before you decide to take it a step further. I hope that this will help you in any way.

Processed meats, Red meat and Chicken
All I have to say is growth hormones, antibiotics and a whole lot of drugs. These meats are filled with sodium nitrite (a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds colour and flavour) and other chemical flavourings and dyes.
Preferably: If you really need to eat meat, opt for grass-fed and organic meat.

Farmed Salmon
Farmed salmon is fed  with processed high-fat food in order to produce larger fish. It has a high mercury content and is usually higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, and pesticides.
Preferably: Wild salmon eats organisms found in its natural environment. Again, ask your local organic store if they can provide you with some wild salmon weekly to avoid finding yourself craving it in the middle of the frozen foods section of your supermarket.

Non-organic Dairy
I have talked a bit about this in my No More Dairy post. Milk producers use recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) to treat their dairy cattle to increase production. But, listen to this, rBGH creates infections that can cause mastitis in cows and even pus in the milk. It also increases the levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk.
Preferably: Almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, organic milk. Prefer unsweetened of course.

Packaged Bread
This bread is typically refined and processed if found in a supermarket aisle and guess what? It’s packed with sugar and salt! As I have mentioned in Flour Power, this kind of bread is usually made from processed wheat and gluten which our bodies sometimes find difficult to digest. Personally, I find that it also affected my body and was probably the cause of my irregular bathroom visits.  I’m now as regular as a clock!
Preferably: Check out Flour Power for a list of healthy purer alternatives.

Caged eggs
In other words, eggs from chickens confined and restricted in cages. These chickens obviously not only lack the natural nutrients found in the field, but also due to the fact that they are squashed together with no room to move or stretch, they are probably very unhealthy. I will not go into the ghastly process of fattening them up and turning them into machines.
Preferably: Go for eggs from pasture-fed and certified organic chickens. Ask your local organic store when they get their fresh eggs in and put in a standard order. That’s what I do.

Canned tomatoes
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I totally avoid any kind of food in cans and tins. There are many hidden dangers lurking in the resin linings of these containers which are linked to many health issues. Again, packed with sugar and sodium.
Preferably: Use fresh tomatoes and sauté to make them to your liking and make them into a yummy sauce or paste.

Pre-packaged or frozen meals
These foods usually contain hidden sugar, as we have established in many groups above, also high levels of fructose corn syrup, sodium and
preservatives.
Preferably: Home-cooked meals. Check out some recipes here.

Vegetable oil
Here is where living in the Mediterranean is a blessing! We have been  raised on extra virgin olive oil, and lots of it!
A vast majority of vegetable oils you find in the supermarket are highly processed and high in trans fats. Saturated fats usually get the blame, but Trans fats are the ones responsible for the increase in LDL which we know as the bad cholesterol which can cause an unhealthy heart.
Preferably: Olive oil of course and the ‘multi talented’ Coconut oil which I cannot get enough of!

Margarine
Margarine is high in Trans fats, the fats formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid substance.
Preferably: You can use organic butter or try replacing butter with some of these spreads. I have!

Table salt
Table salt is highly refined, which leaves it with little nutritional value.
Preferably: Himalayan pink crystal salt. I’m sure you’ve seen it in the health food section of your supermarket as it is has recently become very popular.

Cereals
Even those marketed as “healthy”. Cereals are highly processed and packed with sugar in many shapes ways and forms. They are also very high in sodium and preservatives.
Preferably: Oats from your local organic shop. Steal cut, rolled, whatever you prefer. Add you favourite fruit, nuts or some coconut milk and you are  set to go!

Supermarket shelf peanut butter
Guess what it’s full of? That’s right, sugar! Just don’t do it! Try making your own with this recipe.
Preferably: If you can make your own nut butter, that’s fantastic. If not, health food store have a large range of 100% nut butters to offer.

Fancy Nuts
Any packaged nuts I choose have only one simple ingredient in them! NUTS! No salted, sugar coated, chocolate coated (this one is hard to resist but you can make your own healthy version) etc. are not considered nuts in my book.
Preferably: Raw nuts and seeds. Remember, one ingredient.

Sugar
Sugar contains no essential nutrients and since our first tooth arrived, we have been taught how bad it is for our teeth. As we grew older, we realized that sugar can also be extremely dangerous for to our health and can lead to many diseases.
It’s OK to indulge and enjoy a little chocolate every now and then, but try and make it yourself using substitutes to this highly processed sweetener.
Preferably: Natural stevia, carob honey rice malt syrup, maple syrup, dates, raw honey.

 

That’s what I call a Food Swap

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