You need a complete diet overhaul to make a difference, they say. That’s enough to put anyone off, let alone busy brides with weddings to plan, right? In truth, any change that promotes health is better than no change, and small steps are often more effective for building healthy habits than major adjustments (which are often too much too soon, unsustainable, and make us feel like a failure when we can’t stick to them. Boo to all of that).
Here are 3 simple but super effective food swaps that will up help increase health and decrease fat!
Out - Vegetable Oil (sunflower, rapeseed, safflower, soy etc)
In - Raw virgin coconut oil or butter
Though marketed as healthy, vegetable oils are highly unstable both during storage and when heated to high temperatures. This instability causes oxidation, and when we eat the oxidised oil it causes inflammation in our body. Inflammation leads skin issues, stress and weight gain, and has been linked to serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
Coconut oil and butter are both highly stable and can be safely heated to high temperatures (grab the frying pan!) Coconut oil contains lauric acid which actually fights inflammation, while butter contains conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA to it’s friends) which helps lower body fat - result!
Just switch your usual cooking oil for the same amount of either coconut oil or butter. Done!
Out - Pasta and Rice
In - Vegetables
When you eat these high carb foods glucose enters your blood stream. Some is used right away for energy, but most isn’t. Your body releases a hormone called insulin to remove the excess glucose & lower your blood sugar back to a normal level. Great! Except…
The insulin sends this glucose to your fat cells to be stored for later use. The catch? While insulin is floating around your blood stream (which will be often if you eat high carb food regularly) your body can’t access the glucose in the fat cells to burn it. Lose lose.
They’re also not very high in nutrients, so by replacing them with fresh vegetables you’ll up your vitamin & mineral intake hugely with no effort.
For a pasta substitute use courgette/zucchini, sweet potato or parsnip - cut or spiralise them into spaghetti, noodle or thin ribbon shapes. Boil, steam or fry until cooked through.
For rice use cauliflower or butternut squash - pulse in a food processor or blender until it’s in rice size pieces. Heat in a frying pan with some coconut oil or butter until cooked through.
Season and spice as desired - yum!
Out - Fizzy drinks and Juices
In - Water
Be it cola, energy drinks or healthy sounding sparkling fruit beverages, fizzy drinks are all the same thing - a form of sugar called fructose suspended in water. But juices? They’re made of fruit, they must be good for you right? Sadly they’re high in fructose too. Fructose itself is not bad - packaged up in an apple or orange it’s very unlikely to cause weight gain. But our bodies aren’t able to process it in large amounts. This is because fructose is not digested like other foods, it’s processed by the liver. Which turns it into… fat.
Choose water! This is easy enough at home or in a restaurant. When out and about take a canteen/drinking bottle in your bag and fill up from water fountains and coolers. Find it dull? If you’re used to sweetened drinks it can take 2 - 4 weeks for your taste buds to adapt, so stick with it. Make your own flavoured water by adding fruit. Bonus - you’ll get the vitamins and minerals from it via the water! A few ideas:
- Mint and cucumber
- Strawberry and basil
- Ginger and lime