Nowhere does deprivation set you up for failure like what we eat. This is the territory of crash diets, binge eating, and yo-yo weight loss & gain. We’re not wired for long-term denial, often of the very things we love best. And who wants to live like that anyway? Not me - and it’s doubtful you do either.
One of the most important rules I’ve learned is that when you make changes in your life, instead of banishing old habits, it’s much more effective to replace them with new ones. This hugely improves your chances of sticking with changes that will equal long-term success.
The replacements are all about enjoying what you eat, indeed, loving your food, and not denying yourself one iota of pleasure. The following covers some of our most common foods and easy-to-find replacements. Regardless of where you find yourself on the grid, experiment with one change a week and go from there. Your taste buds will adapt quickly and your energy will improve as high-power foods edge out their sad-sack cousins. Believe me, those cousins are making you feel bloated, cranky, heavy, and just plain yucky.
* Fresh veg and fruit: eat lots! There’s no replacement for this.
* Eggs, meat, chicken and fish aren’t mentioned. They’re great sources of protein; try for organic and/or local as much as possible.
White bread for ..... Sprouted grain, flax, multigrain, rye, artisanal breads of every variety
White pasta for ..... Brown rice pasta, fresh pasta, kamut or spelt pasta
White rice for ...... Brown rice, basmati rice, quinoa, teff, whole grain couscous
White potatoes for ...... Sweet potatoes, beets, yams, squash
Potato chips for ...... Kale chips, bean chips, organic tortilla chips
Sugar ...... Maple syrup, honey
Store-bought sweets ...... Dark chocolate
Pop ...... Perrier, water with lemon or lime (or strawberries, cucumbers, blueberries etc.)
Milk ..... Almond, coconut, soy, goat milk
Sweetened yogurt ..... Plain kefir, plain Greek yogurt (sweeten as needed with maple syrup)
Fruit juice ...... Fruit
Breakfast cereal ....... Steel cut oats, organic eggs
Granola bars ...... Roasted or raw almonds, cashews, homemade trail mix
Peanut butter ...... Almond or cashew butter
Store-bought salad dressing ...... Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar (a touch of sea salt and maple syrup optional)
Store-bought vegetable dip ...... Hummus, plain Greek yogurt with celery salt and dill
Margarine, Vegetable oil ...... Butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nut oils, ghee
You'll notice that a good rule of thumb in general is to stick with real food. The best thing you can do for your health - and your weight - is to replace processed food with the real deal. This list will get you started, but your options are endless. If you get in the habit of swapping packaged options for actual food, you'll be way ahead of the curve.