My tips & tricks to cooking healthier:
Don’t feel like you need to follow every recipe to a tee. I understand it can be nerve racking to go off the book, especially when you’re trying a new recipe, but this is your opportunity to be creative! Customize your meals the way you like them: if you don’t like an ingredient, omit it or find a substitution! Most of my motivation for change ups comes from replacing the meats; omitting unnecessary fats, dairy products, or processes ingredients; and adding as much flavor and nutrition as possible. Now it has become second nature to me, I can look at a recipe and can immediately tell you what substitutions I would make, and why. Sometimes it may not be the best substitution, but you can always try something different the next time. I’ve switched up recipes again and again, and they only get better.
Although I chose to give up meat, I’m not here to convince anyone they have to do something they don’t want to do. Each person has their own reasons for eating or not eating what they want. Buddhists compassionately refrain from consuming meat, but there are also benefits to limiting your meat and dairy intake. At the end of the day, balance is key. Our bodies are naturally alkaline, but if we are consuming acidic foods, such as meats, dairy, coffee, etc., we also need to consume alkaline foods, such as fruits, vegetables, etc., to balance the body and support immunity. These fruits and vegetables also bring fiber into your diet, which aides in digestion. Fiber is your friend, and you won’t find it in animal bi-products.
“Organic” over “Natural”
Natural does not always mean what we think it means. In the food world, natural has a broad definition, but the word “natural” creates this healthy facade. Obviously “natural products” are better than hyper processed products, but I realized what I was really looking for was Organic, the real natural.
Sometimes it’s impossible to make a meal 100% Organic, but the more Organic ingredients you consume, the more your body will thank you. When your body does not recognize food for the fuel source that it is, it essentially sets that food aside until it can figure out how to process it. Eating organically is not one of the many fad diets out there. Eating organically has been suppressed by big food corporations and companies like Monsanto that make billions of dollars selling you genetically modified organisms. We are fortunate that this problem is being brought to light and that many companies do care about supplying organic products for their customers.
Learn to understand nutrition labels, not just read them
Reading nutritional labels can seem like a nuisance; trying to decipher so many big words and numbers in the grocery store while others are shopping around us. Unfortunately, they’re not supposed to be easy to interpret; they’re meant to skew portion sizes, cover up trans-fats and camouflage sugars. For example, 2% milk has over 30% of fat per serving, but we consider it to be healthier than whole milk. We see a lot of products that say they’re “low fat” but often times this means they have replaced the fat with something else that your body wouldn’t recognize. We shouldn’t be focused on “low fat”, we should be focused on “good fats” that your body can burn for fuel. While unprocessed foods are not the healthiest, we cannot avoid them 100% without committing to a raw or paleo diet. Instead, I suggest learning what to look for on nutritional labels and what those numbers mean to your body.
I'll be posting more on this later.
Never use the Microwave
I’m not here to bash appliances, but there is a reason we refer to microwaving as “nuking your food”. Microwaves were created for convenience, not health, and many people do not even know how they work or what kind of affect they have on your food. The fact is microwaves change the molecular structure of your food and water, and you body does not recognize it as food or water.
If you need more convincing, check out 10 Reasons to Throw Out Your Microwave
Not all oil is created equal
Many people use Olive Oil because they heard it was good for them, which is true. Besides being a fat, Olive Oil is good for you in its natural state. However, Olive Oil has a very low flash point, which means it transitions into a trans-fat when heated. The exact temperature is not important because you will surpass it either way; what is important is knowing what trans-fats do to your body, and how to avoid them. When cooking with oil, I always opt for Coconut or Grapeseed Oil.
Saladmaster changes life
I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Saladmaster at a young age, because they helped me find my passion in healthy cooking. I could go on and on about how quick, easy, and healthy Saladmaster makes cooking, but it truly speaks for itself. Established in 1946, Saladmaster has helped millions of people all around the world feed their families in half the time, with less effort, less toxins, less fats, while providing more than double the nutrition than traditional cooking methods. If you’re interested in more information, about Why Saladmaster, fill out an inquiry form here.
Don’t be afraid to treat yo’ self
Again, it’s all about balance. I’m not saying you should go out for ice cream every night after dinner, but it’s real hard not to want a cookie when all you can think about it is how you haven’t had a cookie in 3 weeks! There are healthier treats to help you feel less guilty about all the calories, but you can’t avoid eating your favorite dessert for the rest of your life. I’ll touch on this more on Day 7 of The Mindful Diet.
Try new things
Most people fall into a routine of eating their 10 favorite dishes over and over and over again, which can get boring. You may have heard about a super food, like quinoa, that you wanted to try, but didn’t know how, or come across recipes with ingredients you’ve never even heard of. Don’t feel intimidated, look at it as an opportunity to try something new! Find a new recipe and add it to your cycle of dinners.
Most importantly, don’t try to change everything all at once, sweat the small stuff; enjoy yourself and the changes won’t seem so drastic.