You hear that? That the door closing on yet another year. If you feel compelled to make the next one even more fun-filled and spectacular, what better place to start than the kitchen? Getting equipped with the right ingredients will arm you everything you need to say, “Look out new year, here I come!” Below are my top ten everyday foods to ditch. I’ve also included some friendly replacements that will make it easy to begin the new year with a bang.
Throw out enriched flour
Here’s why: What starts as a nutritious, whole grain gets stripped of its nutrients in the processing to make flour. The “enrichment” adds nutrients back into the flour yet they are not the same quality as the natural nutrients. For some people, these added nutrients can even interrupt the body’s natural detoxification process.
Instead try: There are many enriched flour alternatives. Most commonly used are coconut flour and almond flour, but cassava flour is gaining in popularity. These flours can be used to make everything from chicken nuggets to pancakes.
Remove refined sugar
Here’s why: Refined sugar causes blood sugar fluctuations resulting in the seesaw effect of energy and fatigue. After eating something with refined sugar you feel great, then hit a wall and start to crash. That’s when you start looking for something with sugar (or caffeine) again as a boost.
Additionally – believe it or not – natural sugar has some nutrients that are needed to help metabolize sugar. Like B vitamins. However, when sugar is refined these B vitamins get lost, leaving your body to use the B vitamins it has on hand, which can lead to deficiencies.
Instead try: Coconut sugar is a good replacement for refined sugar. It has less of an impact on blood sugar and has all of the nutrients still intact. Other natural sugars are raw honey and maple syrup, which offer their own spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Pass on the energy drinks
Here’s why: These drinks are packed with caffeine, refined sugar, and added synthetic vitamins. While they can give you a boost of energy, it will always be followed up with the scrounge for the next energy boost.
Instead try: Coconut water is packed full of natural minerals. If you need a pick-me-up, a simple cup of coffee can give you the energy you need to get through the next few hours.
Switch out vegetable oil
Here’s why: Since vegetables don’t really have fat in them, this oil usually comes from soybeans or corn which have most likely been genetically modified. The process of creating and squeezing an oil out of something that doesn’t have much fat is done with high heat and can lead to rancidity of the oil. This requires deodorizing and bleaching the oil to make it a beautiful, odorless, golden color, leading to free radicals that the body must deal with. Vegetable oils also include canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, margarine, and shortening.
Instead try: There are many other oils that are pure, natural fat and have fatty acids that support the body. These include coconut oil, avocado oil, and animal fats such as butter, lard, bacon fat, and tallow. With animal fats – always look for pastured or grass-fed animal fats for the best quality.
Say farewell to boxed cereal
Here’s why: If you are only counting calories boxed cereals can be appealing, however, they have no nutritional value. Any nutrients found in cereal is synthetically added, which as with enriched flours, can disturb the body’s natural detox processes.
Get rid of packaged granola bars
Here’s why: Granola bars are glorified candy bars packed with sugar. In fact, they often have various forms of sugar to help hold them together into the little, convenient bar.
Instead try: Consider making homemade bars (they freeze well), granola, or trail mix with fruits, nuts, and seeds. These can be made in bulk and packaged in their own little zip-top bags for convenience.
Upgrade your fruit juice
Here’s why: While fruit juice may give you a warm and fuzzy feeling because “it comes from fruit,” it is not much more than sugar in a liquid form without any of the fiber.
Instead try: A well-planned smoothie or freshly squeezed vegetable juice will give you a real boost for your body.
Remove the refined salt
Here’s why: Why stick to only sodium and chloride? Refined salt has as many as 90 other minerals that have been discarded in the refinement process.
Instead try: A much better alternative to refined salt is Celtic sea salt. Look for salts with a pink or grey hue. They taste just like white salt and can be used interchangeably when cooking.
Find an alternative to bread
Here’s why: It takes a lot of ingredients to make conventional bread. Take a look at the ingredient list on a loaf of bread and determine how many of those ingredients are actually food.
Instead try: A lettuce cup or wrap, homemade tortillas, or flatbread can be a great alternative. If bread is non-negotiable, opt for a traditionally prepared sourdough or a sprouted bread as a better option.
Discard diet and sugar-free drinks
Here’s why: Diet drinks are considered “diet” because rather than sugar they are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Even though they don’t have calories they have been shown to slow weight loss (and even cause weight gain), contribute to the development of diabetes, and lead to multiple neurological conditions.
Instead try: If you are looking for a sweetener without the calories, stevia is the only natural sweetener that provides the sweetness that can be enjoyed without calories and blood sugar roller coaster.
Things might get a little boisterous in the kitchen…
And that’s okay. Because a kitchen overhaul is a great way to commit to a healthy diet for the new year. If tackling everything seems too overwhelming, start with two or three items. Pretty soon, your everyday foods will be pointing you in the right direction for an everlasting change in how you eat.