It's officially week 4 of this series which means that you have been making changes to improve your kitchen and your health for a whole month now and you are (obviously) doing a kickass job at it!
As most of you know I preach an intuitive and balanced way of eating and lifestyle. I believe that everything in moderation is perfectly healthy and that there is always a way to live your healthiest life possible while still enjoying the things you love. That being said, part of moderation is knowing that eating fries and cake every day is not going to do amazing things to your waistline and being able to make healthier choices most of the time. Today I am going to give you guys healthier alternatives to some of the most commonly eaten foods on the market, teach you a couple of my favourite tricks to preventing and kicking cravings and teach you how to build a perfectly balanced meal plate!
No single food should be considered good or bad, it is a combination of all of the foods that we eat throughout our days, weeks and months that contribute to whether our diet is healthy or not..
EAT (OR DRINK) THIS - NOT THAT
- EAT THIS: Kombucha: a fermented tea that increases good bacteria in the gut. It is naturally carbonated to kick those pop cravings - NOT THAT: Coca Cola
WHY: Coke contains 10 tsps per 12 ounces, caffeine which dehydrates the body and is a huge cause to weight gain, hormone imbalance, headaches and low energy.
- EAT THIS: GT’s, Welo, Tonica, Health Aid - NOT THAT: Live Brand OR Rise Brand Kombucha
WHY: They contain a ton of added sugar which leads to to increased bad bacteria, bloating, gas and causes the benefits of the kombucha not to work.
- EAT THIS: Herbal Tea, hot water with lemon - NOT THAT: Sweetened Bottled Iced Tea
WHY: Marketed as a healthier option, but it contains 13 ¼ tsp of sugar- more than coke. Stay away from any sugared drinks.
- EAT THIS: Freshly Squeezed or Cold Pressed Orange Juice - NOT THAT: Bottled Tropicana Brand Orange Juice
WHY: Contains 9 tsps per serving. The only ingredient is: 100% orange juice which can mean over 2000 ingredients
- EAT THIS: Low Sugar Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Coconut Yogurt, Probiotic Supplement - NOT THAT: Tropicana Brand Fortified Probiotic Juice
WHY: Contains tons of added sugar to feed the bad bacteria.
- EAT THIS: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil - NOT THAT: Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, Cottonseed Oil
WHY: It is highly processed, cheap, GMO and carcinogenic when heated.
- EAT THIS: Low Sugar Organic Ketchup (check ingredient list) - NOT THAT: Heinz Brand Ketchup
WHY: Contains 1 tsp of sugar per tsp of ketchup.
- EAT THIS: Herbal Teas, Coconut Water, Kombucha, Water - NOT THAT: Vitamin Water
WHY: Over 6 tsp of sugar and zero vitamins. Depletes the body of electrolytes.
- EAT THIS: RXBAR, GoMacro, Genuine Health, Simply Protein - NOT THAT: Cliff Bar
WHY: Contains over 4 tsp of sugar, artificial chemicals and poor quality protein.
- EAT THIS: Chocolate Almond and/or Soy Milk - NOT THAT: Chocolate Milk
WHY: Contains 6 tsps of sugar per serving, poor source or calcium, increases bloating, gas.
- EAT THIS: Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Oat Milk, Cashew Milk - NOT THAT: Cow’s Milk
WHY: Very poor source of calcium and nutrients due to pasteurization. Huge allergen, Calcium fights with phosphorus for absorption, and most of the time, phosphorus will win.
- EAT THIS: Non Dairy Alternatives - NOT THAT: Low-Fat Dairy Products
WHY: In order for dairy to be low-fat, chemicals and sugar have to be added and the enzyme lipase is removed. Lipase is necessary for the breakdown of dairy. This could lead to a dairy intolerance.
Food cravings are caused by the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward. An imbalance of hormones, emotions and blood sugar (or all 3) can effect these brain waves which results in cravings. The trick to stopping cravings before they even begin is getting to know your body, mind, emotions and hunger cues.
HOW TO AVOID CRAVINGS ALTOGETHER
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day.
- Eat protein, fiber and fat in each meal to ensure that you are satisfied and your blood sugar is balanced.
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits per day, limiting fruit to 3 servings a day.
- Limit your intake of processed sugar, salt and fatty foods.
- Do not go more than 3 hours of eating - this will help keep your blood sugar balanced.
FOODS TO LIMIT OR ELIMINATE TO REDUCE CRAVINGS
- Eliminate sugar
- Eliminate dairy
- Eliminate salty foods
- Eliminate fatty foods
- Eliminate alcohol
- Limit Coffee
- Limit natural sugars (fruit, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.)
BUILDING A BALANCED PLATE
One of the main things that I hear from new clients us that they don't even know where to begin to build a balanced meal. How much protein should I be eating every meal? Which vegetables are the healthiest? Can I eat carbs at every meal? These are all super valid questions, I've created an easy guide so that all of you can confidently build a plate for any meal of the day and know that you are getting all the right nutrients!
BASE OF PLATE: Dark Leafy Greens - 2-3 cups/handfuls of - spinach, kale, romaine, spring mix, arugula, etc.
HALF OF PLATE: Raw Vegetables (3-4) - Carrots, beets, radish, mushroom, tomato, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, red pepper, Swiss chard, bean sprouts, red and green cabbage, etc.
QUARTER OF PLATE: Protein - Organic tofu, tempeh, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, chicken, turkey, salmon, egg, etc.
QUARTER OF PLATE: Grain - Quinoa, brown rice, farro, etc.
ADD ON TOP: Healthy Fat - Handful of nuts & seeds, ½ avocado, flax oil, olive oil, hemp oil, tahini, etc.
If you have made it to the end of this then you officially have all of the tools to grocery shop, store your food and build your meals as healthy and nutritious as possible! If you liked this series and would like to see more like this in the future let me know on social media!