Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Food Substitutions

At Cascade Chiropractic and Massage, we are celebrating Healthy Eating Month all throughout the month of June.  To go along with that, all of my blog topics for the month will deal with healthy eating of some sort.  This week, I'll be focusing on some easy, healthier food substitutions that you can do to cut down on the junk and increase the healthy factor.

Over the past fifty years or so, Americans have gotten used to eating traditional foods such as mashed potatoes, white bread, milk, and other "staples".  The problem is that most of these traditional foods aren't that great for you, especially when you consider the fact that most nutritional value has been processed out of the food.  So, here are some suggestions for substitutions for those foods that offer a higher nutrient load.

Mashed Potatoes:
White mashed potatoes have little nutritional value and usually get high calorie fillers added to them.  Instead of using potatoes, try blanched pureed cauliflower with greek yogurt and some seasoning.  Or, you can use sweet potatoes / yams instead of the traditional Russet or Yukon Gold.  Both substitutions pack more vitamins and minerals into them.

Flour:
Bleached all-purpose flour has arguably no nutritional value whatsoever.  So when baking, try substituting ground millet, spelt, or almonds for the flour.  You may need to do a few test runs before you get the ratio correct.  Or, if that's just a little too crazy for you, stay away from the bleached junk.  Use unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour.

Cheese:
If you're making an omelet, frittata, or quiche, there's almost always cheese involved.  Cheese does have some nutritional value, but its hard to digest.  Try using cubed extra firm tofu.  It won't melt like the other stuff but has a similar texture to a softer cheese and is much easier to digest.

Rice:
Rice is another one of those foods that has some nutritional value (ie: calories and few vitamins) but it's typically eaten as a filler.  If you want to bulk up on protein especially, try using quinoa.  It's a superfood grain that is chuck full of protein and other essential nutrients.

Milk:
The milk that you buy in today's grocery store is a far cry from the stuff from the milk man or straight from the udder.  The process of pasteurization does kill off any potentially harmful microbes, but it also kills the good ones and completely changes the enzymes within the milk.  That's one of the reasons so many people these days are either lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive.  So here are some dairy-free alternatives (listed in order of my favorite to least favorite): Almond milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk, rice milk, hemp milk, and soy milk.

Feel free to add any other substitutions in the comments area!

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