By Dr. Joanna Rosenfeld ND, RHN
Nobody likes feeling deprived, especially when it comes to food.
Restricting your diet has been shown to actually increase your cravings and the chances of overeating.
Instead of completely removing all your favourite foods, try swapping them instead for more natural options. You’ll likely end up loving the substitutions!
Use coconut oil or olive oil, not “vegetable” oils
Vegetable oils like canola oil, safflower oil and soybean oil are polyunsaturated fats and high in omega 6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation. Inflammation is linked to almost all chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, obesity and dementia.
Instead, opt for anti-inflammatory and heart healthy olive oil on salads and vegetables. Make sure you choose cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil to get the highest quality fats and nutrients out of your oil.
If you are cooking at high heat use coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Coconut oil has many health benefits inclduding boosting your immune system, helping your brain function optimally and assisting with weight management.
Eat butter, not margarine
At one time it was thought that saturated fat was the cause of all heart conditions, so scientists created spreadable oil that was supposed to be healthier and taste somewhat ok. Turns out that during the manufacturing of margarine, a lot of trans fats (the worst kind of fats) were created. Trans fats promote inflammation, slow your metabolism, raise your bad cholesterol, lower your good cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity.
If you are having butter, choose grass fed butter (if you can find it) that has more anti-inflammatory fats than traditional butter.
Eat steel cut oats, not cold cereals and granola
Cereals and granola contain a lot of sugar. It might be disguised as “coconut sugar” or “organic cane syrup” but rest assured – your body doesn’t know the difference. Consuming excess sugar, especially first thing in the morning, predisposes us to imbalances in blood sugar, weight gain, anxiety and more cravings for sugar later in the day. Long term it also sets the stage for diabetes and systemic inflammation.
Instead, make a big batch of steel cut oats and reheat it in the mornings. Steel cut oats are the least processed form of oats so won’t cause a spike in blood sugar and the fiber will help keep you full. Top it with chia seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax seeds, cinnamon and your favourite nuts to provide delicious flavour, protein and healthy fats – guaranteed to keep you full until lunch.
Eat vegetables, not processed carbohydrates
Consuming lots of pasta, breads and rice provides few nutrients and unfortunately tend to disrupt our blood sugar levels, and set the stage for weight gain and fatigue. There are many ways to get those carbs from veggies instead!
Replace rice with cauliflower rice – simply chop up cauliflower into small pieces and roast in the oven with olive oil and seasoning of your choice.
Instead of pasta, experiment with using spaghetti squash.
Hamburger buns can be replaced by portabella mushrooms for a delicious burger. Get creative! You’ll be surprised at how easy it might be and fun for the whole family.
Drink green tea, not coffee
Don’t hate me for this one, but I welcome you to give it a try. We live in a coffee-addicted world, where we don’t think twice before having another cup of coffee. However, depending on your metabolism, even drinking coffee in the morning can disrupt your sleep that night. Coffee also exacerbates anxiety, can cause digestive upset and revs up your stress hormones.
Green tea still contains some caffeine but also loads of antioxidants and an amino acid called L-theanine, which helps promote calming brain waves, focus and concentration.