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Make Your Favorites Healthier

March 4, 2011

So, I have found in talking to many people about healthy eating that one of the consistent misconceptions is that they can not still eat what they enjoy. Many people turn to timed diets to lose weight. They eat whatever they want leading up to the diet, then one morning wake up and in essence try to not eat anything they like and live off of salads, and juice for a month. They may find that they lose a little bit of weight but when they go back to eating how they did before they gain more weight back. If you really want to take care of your body it CAN NOT be something you do every now and then. It just does not work that way. James have made healthy eating a part of our lifestyle. Why? Well, for lots of reasons.

1. We feel better.

2. We look better. (Lets be honest, this also aids in feeling better.)

3. Set an example for the two mini-James’ that live in our house.

4. Better for our immune system, and all body functions for that matter.

I would say those are the main four. We have been on this journey for almost two years now. You know from my previous post about guilty pleasures that this did not just come naturally for me. I had an extreme LOVE for some pretty unhealthy foods. Namely, pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, and cinnamon rolls are you drooling yet? So, where do you start? Well, I would say a great place to start is knowledge. If you take some time to seek out some info on what you are currently putting into your body and the effects it is having, you will have a huge boost of motivation. Next focus on those foods that you really love the most. How can you make them healthier? Can you add something/subtract something?

Pizza: instead of ordering a pepperoni pizza from Domino’s or throwing a frozen one in the microwave (we got rid of our microwave completely, more on that at another time though). Make your own. We use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free dough mix to make our dough. Tomato sauce with only tomatoes and salt free sugar free spices, almond mozzerella and pile it sky high with veggies. My favorite pizza topping is cilantro!

Cheeseburgers: I did a post on our burgers a few posts down, but we use high quality grass-fed beef, eliminate the bread by using romaine lettuce as the bun, and again top with tons of fresh veggies.

Fries: We make our own sweet potato fries by chopping them, sprinkling with a tiny amount of grapeseed oil, adding paprika, cinnamon, sea salt, and pepper. We also make our own ketchup (Do you know how much sugar is in Heinz? Yikes.)

Cinnamon rolls: If I crave one I will either put some cinnamon on a piece of Ezekiel bread, or mix some cinnamon in with some quinoa and honey. Cinnamon is one of the top sources of antioxidants. We put it on everything. It also helps with metabolism so it is great to get some in the morning. Make sure it is straight up. No sugar added.

GOAL: As a coach, I believe that goal setting can be really powerful. Why not set a goal for yourself to add in one healthy substitute a week for something that you eat commonly? By doing this it will ease the stress of trying to change everything all at once but can still make a big difference in your health!

I will post pictures of these yummy foods in future posts. Also, stay tuned for more recipes and substitutions. We come up with new ones all the time which makes eating healthier more fun as we constantly add more variety.

There are a lot of great resources out there on healthy substitutions. You can google almost anything these days, sometimes it helps to have a book though. A lot of the recipes that James and I use on a daily basis are in The Real Food Diet by Dr. Josh Axe. The main reason why we love it is because the beginning of the book is full of amazing information. It is straight forward and makes healthy eating and the reasons for doing it so simple.

James and I bought 6 copies of it at Christmas and gave them as gifts. I would now love to give a copy to one of you. Please leave a comment with a substitution that you use now or tell me something you would like to know a healthy substitution for if you are stumped. I will do a drawing on Tuesday morning. Trust me, you want this book.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca permalink
    March 4, 2011 4:23 pm

    Eek! I waaaaant 🙂

  2. Rebecca permalink
    March 4, 2011 4:25 pm

    Opps I forgot about posting my sub! Ha just got excited 🙂 i sub flax meal or almond meal for flour when making stuff like cookies, muffins, and bread. Yum.

  3. Karissa permalink
    March 4, 2011 4:42 pm

    ME wanty book!! What happen to the last giveaway? Who won?! Anyway, my substitute…lately, I’ve been trying to buy different gluten free things and give them to the kids. Also, grape jelly for pb and J sandwiches – I’ve been getting the purely grapes stuff that doesn’t have fructose corn syrup…and my kids didn’t know the difference!

  4. Melissa Sell permalink
    March 4, 2011 4:44 pm

    I make Kale Chips when I’m in the mood for something salty and crunchy instead of potato chips or popcorn!

  5. March 4, 2011 4:47 pm

    Awesome comments and substitutions already.
    Rebecca, we love to add flax in things as well. As a matter of fact it was in our smoothie this morning.
    Karissa, to answer your question blog reader, Andrew won the last contest. James drew the name for me. I announced it on my post “What is Life Caoaching”. I will do the same with this one and Announce it on a post at some point in the day on Tuesday.

  6. Meg permalink
    March 4, 2011 6:20 pm

    Your blogs are so fun to read! It would be super nice to have some go-to yummy things to take to work and snack on instead of throwing a lean cuisine in my bag (I bet you just cringed at that) any frozen veggies or meals that are any good?

  7. hakeem olayyan permalink
    March 4, 2011 6:39 pm

    i substitute my chocolate cake cravings with the blackbean chocolate cake from the ml cook book =]

  8. Kate permalink
    March 4, 2011 6:54 pm

    I sub Greek yogurt for sour cream while baking. I’m also a fan of rice cakes instead of chips.

    • Kate permalink
      March 4, 2011 6:55 pm

      why my icon is a dude… i have no idea!

  9. Johanna permalink
    March 4, 2011 7:06 pm

    When we make mashed potatoes, we use free range organic chicken broth(or homemade broth) instead of milk. We removed HFCS from our diets a year or so ago and in pricing items out discovered that going organic(and thus no HFCS) doesn’t cost much at all.

    Another one we did is substitute 25-50% whole wheat flour when baking, I have found that you can barely tell the difference and when you can it adds to the flavor.

    I would love to find a substitute to yeast. I’m allergic and there are very few yeast free breads available. On a substitution note, removing yeast from my diet eliminated nearly all processed food. I don’t know of a single canned soup that doesn’t contain yeast extract.

    Please email me your ketchup recipe, that’s something we switched to organic on just to get rid of HFCS.

    Almond cheese? Does it contain any dairy? The last few times I tried non-cheese cheese, there must have been some dairy as I got sick.

  10. Amy harris permalink
    March 4, 2011 8:14 pm

    Yes please

  11. March 4, 2011 9:18 pm

    I totally agree that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. Substitutions are a great way to do that! And those changes are all about the overall lifestyle! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Sarah Hamilton permalink
    March 4, 2011 10:30 pm

    Love this blog, you have really come up with some great ideas in substitutions. Since at school i have focused on eating better and just plane-out eating at home and avoiding restaurants (they dont care what goes into my body). I have found some difficulty trying new things and trying to get the right vitamins and nutrients in my diet with allergies…to fish (all scaley fish, not shellfish), and all nuts. Healthy alternatives usually fall into these categories…any suggestions?

  13. ambra harris permalink
    March 4, 2011 11:45 pm

    I heard that book is awesome!! I want to win this!!!! 🙂

    For pizza we do Daiya dairy-free cheese and I like the Pamela’s gluten-free bread mix for the crust. It’s fun to still be able to have pizza!

    For “ice cream” my kids are still cool w/ frozen fruit that I run through our Champion juicer… makes a nice sorbet… occasionally during the summer they have it w/ an ice cream cone for breakfast and they think it is such a fun treat! 🙂

    I use grapeseed oil in place of butter for pretty much everything and it turns out yummy. I like it better than butter on popcorn!

    I use agave for sugar and almond milk for creamer in my decaf coffee and it tastes great.

    I want to hear more about no microwaves! I’m trying to convince Gabe we need to get rid of it!! 🙂

  14. Nico Staples permalink
    March 5, 2011 2:39 am

    Great post, this is some of the best advice, substitutes are essential to changing your bad habits to good ones. Small changes are the key though, trying to change everything at once is usually to much of a shock and most people crumble under the pressure.
    I substitute all things oil with coconut oil and avocado oil
    I substitute pastas with thinly sliced vegetable like zucchini or bell peppers, tastes amazing.
    I substitute baking with flax meal (mentioned above) and coconut flour!

  15. julie permalink
    March 5, 2011 3:23 am

    Would love this cookbook! We have made many changes in our diet for healthy bodies! Honey, coconut oil.. freshly ground wheat flour.. organic.. the list goes on!

  16. natalie permalink
    March 5, 2011 12:29 pm

    I want this book! I substitute almond milk for regular milk and have started eating quinoa instead of rice or pasta. I add spinach or kale into all my protein shakes or veggie stir fry’s to add nutrients!

  17. Amber permalink
    March 5, 2011 7:30 pm

    I bet you figures since I don’t eat anything I must not cook anything so by George I want in on this give away! Lol jk we didn’t do big people gifts but if I had gotten one I would have loved it! Hee Hee hee. I’m working out 4-6 times a week so now I need recipes to help my tiny palette expand!

  18. Natasha permalink
    March 6, 2011 3:20 am

    This is the first cookbook my husband and I have found that is easy yet complies with all of my dietary restrictions. I am dairy free, wheat free, soy free, etc. and this book has been a lifesaver and enabled us to enjoy food a little more 🙂 We borrowed it from a friend and would love a copy of our own!

  19. Dana permalink
    March 6, 2011 11:07 pm

    I use coconut oil instead of any other oil in baking and other heat cooking. 🙂

  20. Shawna Mercer permalink
    March 7, 2011 1:10 am

    I really love Almond butter instead of peanut. It is such a healthy choice! I also use natural stevia instead of sugar or raw-unfiltered honey to sweeten things up!

  21. Katie permalink
    March 7, 2011 7:00 pm

    Loving reading your blog! :o) Great tips for those of us who have no idea where to start with healthy eating.

    I’d love to know a good substitute for those frozen health meals (in particular the pasta ones). I find myself eating those a lot because I simply don’t know any quick or easy healthy recipes.


  22. March 8, 2011 2:46 am

    Book sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out. I’m always looking for new recipes and ideas.
    I’ve been microwave free at home for seven years (although I do heat up some lunches in the microwave at work). When I make dinner, I make at least enough for the next day’s lunch as well. Most dishes I’m fine with eating at room temperature.
    My go-to snacks are carrot sticks, raw almonds, apples and Greek yogurt (with honey, freeze dried fruit and home-made granola).
    My substitution for pasta is spaghetti squash but this works much better for clear, stock based sauces than for tomato based sauces.
    My primary sweetener is honey but I also use pureed fruits in baking and dessert sauces. (Unfortunately, I’m still a chocolate addict though.)
    I still use whole wheat flour for some things, but I’m finding that many baked goods turn out wonderfully with a combination of almond meal and coconut flour.

  23. Margaux permalink
    March 8, 2011 4:22 am

    Would love to know a way to make a healthy version of chick-fil-a chicken nuggets! Love your blog and the book sounds great!!

  24. M. Christian permalink
    March 14, 2011 6:53 am

    THANK YOU !!! Thanks for clarifying this misconception. I love Ezekiel bread with cinnamon but I like to add nut butter as a spread !

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