Whoever is struggling with inflammation, digestive problems, brain fog, fatigue, or blood sugar imbalance needs to attend our free webinar on Wednesday January 24! Dr. Will Cole, leading functional medicine expert, will talk all about the latest diet craze in the wellness world – the ketogenic diet. Find out what exactly sets this high-fat, low-carb diet apart from the rest and how it can impact your health for the better! He will walk you through everything you need to know about getting started, which foods to eat and to avoid, as well as how to make this sustainable for your life. Fat is the new black! Register for your free spot here!
by Dr. Will Cole
It’s not too surprising that about 90 cents of every dollar spent on groceries goes toward processed junk food. I’d say we are in need of a healthy intervention! The idea of cleaning out your kitchen and diet can be daunting. So much so, that it is easy to put off clean eating for yet another day. But if you were waiting for the right time to start making healthier choices – it’s now!
You are alive because of brilliant biochemistry. The kind of food you eat instructs every facet of your health by either feeding health or feeding disease. As a functional medicine practitioner my job is to not only get to the root cause of health problems; it is to develop realistic and sustainable solutions to heal them! And I’ll let you in on a little secret when it comes to healthy eating: You don’t have to eat like a rabbit or restrict yourself to kale salads to access the full anti-inflammatory power of medicinal foods. Instead, hack your favorite foods with these easy swaps, to multiply the inflammation-fighting power of every meal and snack.
Here are my favorite fun and easy alternatives to the world’s most beloved meals. Let these hacks inspire you to transform your comfort foods into nutrient-dense superfoods and start healing with meals, not medicine.
1. Instead of pasta: Vegetable noodles
We all know by now the inflammatory impact of gluten, but who doesn’t occasionally (or frequently) crave a big bowl of pasta? Curb those carb cravings by purchasing a spiralizer and turn your favorite veggies into noodles. Zucchini and sweet potato noodles have a great pasta-like consistency, and taste great with your favorite sauce.
2. Instead of rice: Cauliflower rice
Although it’s gluten-free, rice still has proteins that are similar to gluten that can be an issue for people struggling with inflammation and gastrointestinal problems like leaky gut syndrome. Rice is also high in carbs, which can mess with blood sugar. Steam cauliflower florets and then pulse them in a food processor for a rice-like shape and texture, or buy some already premade form the grocery store.
3. Instead of dairy cheese: Nut cheese
The protein in milk called casein can be inflammatory, especially for those with underlying gut problems. But what if you love your cheese? Nut cheese looks (and tastes) like the real deal. It has become quite sophisticated, with many delicious varieties available in health food stores, but it’s easy to make as well.
4. Instead of hummus: Cauliflower hummus
“Beans, beans, the musical fruit” is a saying based in some stinky (and stomach-crampy) truth because the lectins and phytates in legumes like chickpeas can do a number on your digestion, causing bloating and gas. Swap out your chickpeas in hummus for cauliflower (just steam and use as you would chickpeas) and you’ll have a great legume-free dip for your fresh veggies!
5. Instead of mayonnaise: Mashed avocado
Some people can’t handle the eggs or preservatives in jarred mayonnaise. Instead, use mashed avocado, which has a similarly creamy consistency and rich taste, and is delicious in salads or sandwiches. It’s also much higher in vitamins and fiber than boring old mayo.
6. Instead of regular yogurt: Coconut milk yogurt
Trade your regular yogurt for a coconut-milk-based version, if you want or need to avoid dairy. Go for the unsweetened version to limit your sugar and mix in your own fresh fruit or other flavorings. You could also make your own at home.
7. Instead of potato chips: Plantain chips
While potatoes are a member of the nightshade family, and these veggies (which also include tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) can trigger inflammation in some sensitive people, especially those with joint issues. If you still crave a crunchy and salty snack, plantain chips are a better option. They take crispy and salty and starchy, just like potato chips, but won’t throw that inflammation shade you could get from nightshades.
8. Instead of breadcrumbs: Coconut flakes
Coconuts contain healthy fats that are great for your hormones and brain. Get more coconut into your diet by swapping out breadcrumbs for coconut flakes. They give you the crisp texture and have a delicious kick of rich tropical flavor.
9. Instead of soda: Flavored carbonated water
We all know that too much sugar (not to mention artificial sweeteners) can hurt your health. Curb that soda habit by switching to flavored carbonated water such as La Croix and you’ll soon adjust to the fun fizzy flavors without the sugar or artificial sweeteners that are bringing you down.
10. Instead of chocolate: Carob
I find that chocolate (even the dark healthier kind) is a hidden problem for many of my patients. Chocolate lover, meet your new friend, carob. This nutrient-dense chocolate alternative is free of the caffeine found in chocolate and typically well-tolerated by most people.
11. Instead of butter: Ghee
By switching to ghee (also known as clarified butter) instead of regular butter, you can avoid that inflammatory protein casein, because ghee is made by simmer butter and keeping the liquid fat but discarding the milk protein solids where the casein hangs out. What’s left is a golden liquid jam-packed with uber-important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. Since it also has a high smoke point, ghee is safe to use for cooking at high temperatures.
12. Instead of soy sauce: Coconut aminos
The majority of soy that is grown today is genetically modified (GMO) and also contains phytoestrogens, which can contribute to hormone imbalances. If you love making Asian-inspired dishes, try coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. It looks and tastes almost identical to soy sauce, so you’ll never miss a beat.
13. Instead of mashed potatoes: Turnip and cauliflower mash
Turnips and cauliflowers, when steamed and mashed, have a very similar look and consistency to white potatoes, but without the inflammatory nightshade side-effects, and with more vitamins and fiber and less starch than you’ll get in those ho-hum white potatoes. Add in some garlic, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of ghee for a fool-anybody side dish.
14. Instead of whipped cream: Coconut whip
When you buy a can of coconut milk, you get a tasty prize: a layer of fat on the top of the liquid. Skim this off, stir in some honey, whip it up in a blender or mixer, and place in the fridge for a wonderful alternative to whipped cream, naturally sweetened with superior fats and no casein! Enjoy it with some fresh berries, or use it to top your favorite gluten-free baked dessert everyone can enjoy.
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