Nearly 6 years ago I gave up sugar and processed foods. At the time I thought about what I was going to eat without the aid of packets. In this modern world, I think, we rely heavily on the processed food aisles in the supermarkets to help us eat. So when I first started on this journey I felt slightly anxious about it.
So I decided to research the subject and find out what sort of journey I was about to embark on. At the time there wasn’t a lot of information about sugar but I did find a couple of cookery books to help me. Once I had finished the processed foods and sugars that were sitting in my kitchen cupboards I then started to cook most of my meals from scratch.
Quickly I began to realise with a few simple swaps I could still eat delicious meals, desserts, tasty treats and snacks. Plus the even bigger bonus was I had cut out the processed foods. OK so I’m not going to lie it is a little bit more work but the efforts are worth the results. So here are 5 ways to swaps the unhealthy for the healthy.
Firstly I’ll start with sugar as this is the one I think most people think they have to cut out completely. Since the beginning of time humans have always craved sugar. It’s in our genetic code but in today’s society it’s everywhere. Which isn’t good. We can eat sugar and many years ago we would have eaten it to give us energy. Nowadays we tend to eat too much of it and the processed sugars you find in packet food are not great for the body. There are however great alternatives to these products. Coconut sugar and maple syrup are still sugars but I feel they are better for the body. These sugars are less processed and slide through the liver easier. Therefore making them a healthier way to eat sugar. We should still not eat too much of even these products but a little bit occasionally is not going to hurt.
During this journey I have also discovered a gluten intolerance. I now no longer eat flour (western wheat) of any kind. When I make a cake or biscuits nowadays I tend to use gluten free oats, brown rice flour, chickpea flour or ground almonds. I find these are a great alternative. To make the oats into a flour I blend them in my Nutribullet. It only takes about 30 seconds and I have oats that resemble a flour. Then I make the cake rise by using baking powder. A brilliant alternative that still makes a great cake or biscuit.
As well as gluten I have also had to curb my love of dairy. On my porridge in the morning I tend to use oat milk, coconut drink, or hemp milk. I also use these to make cakes and biscuits too. These milks are delicious and very versatile. You can use them in not just sweet meals and snacks but also savoury ones too. I occasionally use oat milk to make soups if I don’t have any chicken stock or bone broth. However I don’t drink tea or coffee so I couldn’t tell you what they are like in these drinks.
Thankfully I’m alright on eggs, touch wood, but in the past I have had to make cakes without the egg for certain people. So if I’m making cakes I will either use a mashed up banana or use a bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar mix. The combination of vinegar and bicarb helps the cake to rise in the same way an egg would do. I will also use these ingredients in a savoury dish too. I like to use vinegar and bicarb in breads that I make too. Plus in savoury dishes you can also use tahini or almond butter as an egg substitute too.
My final swap to sweeten your cakes and to make your dinners more flavoursome is to add spices and herbs. As well as using coconut sugar I will also use spices, such as ground sweet cinnamon or mixed spices. These will often add a lot more sweetness and taste to a cake or dessert. Also in my savoury dishes I tend to opt for more spices and herbs instead of lots of salt. Herbs and spices are a great way to inject flavour into dishes such as curries, soups, stews, burgers and lots more.
Over the past 6 or so years I have proven to myself time and time again that with careful thought and planning you can reduce your sugar intake. I honestly believe that we do not need at least half of the items sold in shops. All we simply need to do is swap the bad for the good. It’s really that easy and now I know how I continue too. However you decide to enjoy these simple swaps, as always, please enjoy.
Have you given up processed foods and sugars or are you thinking about it? Has this helped you? Let me know in the comments below and please don’t forget to like and follow me. Thank you xxx