Isn't it funny how, as humans, the moment we try to avoid thinking about something, we can't seem to keep our minds off it? As soon as we vow to give up gluten, bread has never looked better. Or refined sugar. You get the point. It's part of the human dilemma, we don't like to feel deprived, and where our attention goes, energy flows. One of the best ways to dance around this issue is through the art of substitution. By swapping out the things that may not be serving us with healthier, more aligned options, we can eloquently bypass those feelings of deprivation that may end up sabotaging our efforts.
Here is a list of some awesome swap-ins for common sugar and grain-loaded foods and beverages that also happen to be loaded with health benefits.
Instead of ...
... wheat-based pasta, try spiralizing, or julienning some veggies to create your own grain-free noodle. Think zucchini, carrots, beets, and cucumbers. Top with your favorite tomato sauce, pesto, or a simple combo of sundried tomatoes, Himalayan salt, fresh herbs, and cold-pressed olive oil. Veggie noodles can be eaten raw, or lightly sauteed with a little olive oil to soften them up if you prefer.
... cooked rice, try pulsing raw cauliflower florets in a food processor until they break down to a rice-like consistency. Use in a raw dish, or saute in a pan with some raw coconut oil and herbs and serve as a side dish.
... milk chocolate or processed dark chocolate, try lower sugar raw chocolate options like Rawmio Raw Chocolate Essentials Bars in Quite Dark or Sugar-Free. You'll satisfy that chocolate craving all the while flooding your body with powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals. You'll also get more of that happy chocolate energy buzz thanks to the mood-elevating compounds found in raw cacao.
... soda pop or other sugary, fizzy drinks, try a low sugar soda alternative that's also great for the gut - we love drinks like Olipop and Rebbl which contain prebiotics and probiotics and are low in sugar yet still refreshing and full of fizz. Or use sparkling water with a splash of fresh juice, like orange or grapefruit, to add flavor and just a touch of sweet without going overboard.
... boxed cereals and oatmeals, try making your own chia pudding by soaking 2-3 Tbs of raw chia seeds in a rich and creamy plant-based milk of your choice (try coconut!). Maybe add a little vanilla or sweetener for some extra flair. Or cacao if you're a chocolate fan. You'll also benefit from the added protein, fiber, and balanced ratio of omega fats found in chia seeds.
... flour-based tortillas or corn-based taco-shells, try fresh leafy greens like cabbage leaves or collard greens. Not only will you be enjoying a less inflammatory, more gut-healthy option, but you'll be flooding your body with healthy vitamins and minerals and saving on calories and carbs too!
... buns and bread, similar to the above suggestion, try placing those plant-based burgers in between two green lettuce or cabbage leaves, or simply chop it up and enjoy it right on top of a salad instead, so you still get all the flavors without the gluten.