holistic health

Pantry Swaps - Healthy Habits start in the Kitchen

I believe that the road to better health and happiness starts with the foods we eat. Everything we choose to consume ultimately becomes us.

Here are my top tips and ideas for swapping everyday essentials for foods containing a higher nutritional value. If you are wanting to change your eating habits and have no idea where to start then these top tips are for you.

These are most of  the changes I've made to my pantry gradually over time. Don't forget to make small changes here and there for better results, so it isn't as overwhelming.

You could even use one or two of these suggestions depending on what feels right for your body.

1. Milk  

If you are lactose or dairy intolerant you probably already know there are now many more options available. Some believe the human body was never designed to consume full cream cow's milk. Studies have shown that goat's milk is much easily digested as its structure (on a molecular level) is similar to human breast milk.  To beat the bloat swap your full cream milk to certified organic almond milk, rice milk, goats milk, soy milk; in small amounts (personally I am a bit up in the air about over consumption of soy milk as many studies suggest that it interferes with hormonal levels and it is highly processed) coconut milk, or MACADAMIA nut milk, which is personally my new absolute FAVOURITE thing.

 

2. Swap white bread for brown.

White bread is HIGHLY processed. The wholegrain has been completely stripped of its nutrients (and outer layer) so it pretty much contains no nutritional value, not to mentioned it has been bleached and naturally isn't so 'wonderfully white', nor is it meant to be! Change it up with grainy gluten free bread (if you are gluten intolerant), organic rye bread, sourdough spelt, or buckwheat.

 

3. Butter

Swap butter for either organic butter (in moderation), or nut butters including almond, macadamia, brazil nut or peanut.

 

4. Swap the salt

Again, table salt is highly processed.  If you choose to have salt (in moderation) go for the Himalayan rock salt as it contains essential vitamins and minerals. Another alternative is sea salt.

 

5. Ditch the sugar-rich 'fruit drinks' and fruit juices.

Don't be fooled, some fruit juice and fruit drinks can contain as much sugar as a can of fizzy drink. Check the back of bottles to make sure they only contain 100% fruit.

 

6. Swap the chocolate!

My favourite thing in the world, I know. Instead of milk chocolate, enjoy a few squares of 70-85% dark chocolate, or my ultimate favourite indulgence, raw vegan Pana Chocolate!.. or other organic raw chocolates such as Loving Earth. These chocolates are packed with antioxidants and contain a much higher nutritional content than milk chocolate.

 

7. Refined white sugar

Just as white flour and salt, white sugar is highly processed and is stripped of nutrients. Alternatives to white sugar include organic honey, rice malt syrup, maple syrup or Natvia. All enjoyed in moderation.

 

8. Swap caged eggs to organic eggs

I have my own chickens and let them roam and eat worms and bugs, or whatever is naturally in the environment. When they aren't laying I opt for organic eggs (preferably certified organic) or stop by the local farms and get free ranged. I believe that organic eggs contain many more nutrients and I do not like to support caged eggs.

 

Fats: the not so ugly truth

In the past, fats have had a bit of a bad rap..

However, what some people don't know is that they are crucial to our health, brain and many systems in our body. Fats can be a key staple for weight loss and support your Integumentary system (supporting beautiful skin!). As you will soon find out not all fats are bad and some and extremely important for your health!

To clear the air, here are the four basic groups of fats:

Monounsaturated fats 

These fats are beneficial and should be added to the diet! They reduce blood clotting, gallstone formation, reduce the risk of heart disease and improve memory function! Monounsaturated fats are also important for weight loss. Studies show that by swapping saturated fats for monounsaturated fats in your diet can result in a loss of body fat and weight loss without having a drastic change on total fat and kilojoule intake. Food sources of monounsaturated fats are: pecans, cashews, avocados, olives and macadamia nuts and oils.

Polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and omega 6)

Polyunsaturated fats contain Linoleic acid and Alpha-linoleic acid which are essential and are not made by the body, this is why it is integral to include food sources containing omegas 6 and 3 in your diet.

Omega 3's are important for the brain, heart and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease. Omega 6 are an essential fatty acid and important for hormone production, reproductive health and bone health. However, it is important to note that balancing your omega 3 and 6 intake is important. Make sure you don't over consume too many omega-6's as they can already be found in grains and processed foods, whereas omega 3's can be consumed daily for health benefits.

Food sources of Omega 3's include: flaxseed oil (which is a great vegetarian/vegan source of polyunsaturated fats), salmon, blackcurrant seed oil, pumpkin seeds, sardines and walnuts. Omega 6 can be found in foods such as: walnuts, safflower seeds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower oil, evening primrose oil, black currant oil.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats are important to keep in the diet as they help with the production of cell membranes, however, should be eaten in moderation and only take up 10 percent of daily energy intake. Better options of saturated fats are to opt for grass-fed organic meats and virgin coconut-oils. Food sources include: Butter, milk, pork, beef, chicken skin and cheese.

Trans fats 

These fats should be avoided or kept to a minimum. The maximum intake should be only 1 percent of total daily energy intake, according to the World Health Organisation. Trans fats may increase the risk and lead to heart disease, thrombosis, coronary heart disease and raised levels of LDL cholesterol. There are no safe levels of man-made trans fats, and although some may be naturally occurring, most are made by partial hydrogenation which rearranges the hydrogen atoms in unsaturated fats. Trans fats can be found in: cakes, pastries, burger buns, cookies, chips, microwave popcorn, donuts, chicken nuggets, fries and fried foods.. just to name a few.

The recommended daily intake of fats for adults should make up 20-35% of your total energy intake. It is important to eat 'healthy fats' which include monounsaturated fats (help stabilise blood sugar levels) and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and 6) as these fats provide amazing health benefits and will nourish your body, skin, hair, nails, eyes, brain function, memory and aid weight loss. Fats found in whole foods and plant sources are the best fats for your body.

On the other hand, consume a less amount of saturated fats and avoid trans fats or limit to 1 percent of your daily kilojoule intake as they will provide you with minimal health benefits and only increase your risks of disease.

 

Raw Coconut Rough

This afternoon I was having a massive craving for coconut rough! So here is my healthy alternative to coconut rough; gluten, dairy and refined sugar free.

What you'll need:

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup hazelnut or almond meal

1 dessert spoon of vegan protein powder

1/4 cup rice malt syrup (or maple syrup/honey)

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

2 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Add another tablespoon of melted coconut oil if mixture is too dry, and if you prefer if sweeter add extra rice malt syrup.

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Spread out evenly into lined baking pan, refrigerate for 30mins or freeze for 15mins.
  3. Cut into bite size pieces and enjoy!