It’s a new month, and this month we will be talking about Simple Switches you can make to swap out some common health-diminishing food with more health-promoting foods.
First, I’m going to share a bit about my switch to a dairy-free diet and share the best “sort of” cheese ever. Then, I’ll share some simple guidelines you can follow when making Simple Switches in your diet.
The Dairy-free Craze
Not many people are excited by the idea of going dairy-free, but let me tell you – I gave up dairy products for health reasons in 1998, and, boy, has the market for dairy-free products changed for the better in 20 years!
The options I had back then were slim, and definitely not the healthiest.
That year was right at the front end of the soy product craze. Coconut and almond products at that time were basically unheard of. Rice milk was big at that time but not very tasty, full of sugar, and highly glycemic (meaning it raises blood sugar levels fast and then encourages fat storage).
My first milk replacement was a dairy-free coffee creamer that was full of inflaming ingredients like hydrogenated oils, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Needless to say, my initial switch to a dairy-free life wasn’t a healthier switch because I had no idea what to look for, and the available products were limited.
Then, I switched to all soy products, which was another misguided attempt at being “healthy.”
We now know that soy products, especially the non-organic, non-fermented ones, are typically loaded with genetically modified organisms AND something called phytoestrogens. (Phytoestrogens can wreak havoc on the body’s hormone balance.)
Fortunately, we benefit these days from a smorgasbord of dairy-free alternatives that are both healthier and fit nicely into my Simple Switches method.
I found my new favorite dairy-free cheese a few days ago and wanted to share it with all of my fellow dairy-free crew, as well as those who might like to go dairy-free in the new year.
Clients have told me over the years that the loss of cheese made giving up dairy products too hard, even though they knew they felt better without it.
So, my new favorite cheese alternative is called smoked Gouda by the Follow Your Heart brand.
It actually reminds me of the blocks of Gouda I used to eat as a kid. It’s smokey and even melts like the real stuff. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
However, I want to be clear that simply taking something out of your diet will NOT bring you the health you desire. The magic comes with what you are putting in its place. I spent the first few years of my health journey eating alternative foods that weren’t exactly health-promoting. Just because a food is in Whole Foods doesn’t mean it’s health-promoting.
Simple Switches Guidelines
This month’s SIMPLE SWITCHES tips are all about getting to know your food.
I want you to begin reading the ingredient lists of everything you put in your mouth this month.
Here are a few simple guidelines you can follow to know whether or not the food you’re looking at is health-promoting or health-diminishing.
- Stay on the perimeter of the grocery store. If it’s in a box, chances are that it isn’t a whole food and it’s full of inflaming ingredients.
- If you can’t pronounce the words on the label, there’s a good chance it’s not a great product for your health.
- If it doesn’t grow from the ground or roam the earth, it’s probably not healthy for you.
I suggest the 80/20 rule when it comes to whole foods. If you can get at least 80% of your food intake from whole, real foods and the other 20% from items like the cheese alternative I listed above, then your health will be better than most of America’s.
If you really want to understand your ingredients better, check out the CP Plan and 30 Day Challenge, in which you learn the top inflammation-promoting ingredients to remove from your diet. Following the above guidelines will do the trick if you are diligent, but sometimes it helps to have a more guided program along with a group of people to be held accountable.
I want this year to be THE YEAR you reach your highest health potential and experience the joy of vitality, consistent energy, glowing skin, and much more. The food you eat will be a game changer for you in this new year once you make a commitment to your health.