Today’s post is all about swapping some things out in your kitchen for a healthier choice.
If you just rolled your eyes at that sentence, that’s ok. I still like you. That’s pretty much how I feel anytime my husband wants to flood my brain with anything going on in politics. I’ve gotten really good at pretending to listen. It’s an art that I have proudly mastered.
Disclaimer: I am not a dietician. I am not a doctor. I am not Richard Simmons. I just wanted everyone to be clear on that.
However, I am interested in this sort of thing. I have always found it interesting how food affects us in both the good and bad ways. A couple of years ago I became incredibly sick very quickly and then was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. #luckyme This lead me to do things a bit differently. So, I set out to learn more and cleaned up my diet. Don’t get me wrong. I can throw down on a cheeseburger and crinkle fries from Shake Shack when the time is right and love every bite. I just don’t do it often. I choose when I want to and make it worth it.
A few months before I got sick, I remember looking at a picture of myself and thinking, “Why does my face look like someone pumped it full of air?” I didn’t know at the time, but it was because my body was riddled with inflammation. In an effort to get healthier, I’ve tried to learn about which foods cause lots of inflammation. I try to avoid them as best I can or at least reduce how much I consume them.
Ok. Blah. Blah Blah. Enough about me. I came up with a small list of foods/pantry staples that would be easy to switch out with a healthier option/brand. I’ll more than likely be doing a post like this again in the future. So, buckle up.
Once again, I am not an expert here. My major was Early Childhood Education. That’s a far cry from being a health professional. I have just read a lot. All of the products below I have found at pretty much any grocery store. You don’t have to head to a store named “Kale Me Maybe” to find these.
*Bread-There are about a bazillion options out there, which means you can definitely find one that’s better for you. Look out for lots of unnecessary sugar, caramel color, and high fructose corn syrup. You can read more about some of the choices here.
*Salad Dressing-Obviously, making your own is usually the best. Sometimes we don’t want to do that though. Lots of choices have high amounts of sugar, artificial flavors, MSG, soybean oil, and other questionable ingredients. The two brands in the picture are some I’ve used many times and love them both.
*Crackers-Obviously, this isn’t a staple, but we all need snack when we’re watching Gilmore Girls all day. I fully believe I gained the “Freshman 15” because of Cheez-its and the grilled cheeses in the dining hall. That was all I ate. It was a gross time in my life. Cheez-its are not a great choice if you need something to snack on. I can’t blame you for wanting them; they are pretty delicious. However, they have one of the worst preservatives out there-TBHQ. OMG. NO LOL. Grab a better choice. Here’s more info on it if you care to read. Another disclaimer: I appreciate the website I just provided. She gives good information, but she is definitely not fun to read.
*Oil-One of the biggest things I kept finding when I was learning how to cut down inflammation was how inflammatory certain oils can be. Canola is one of them. I try to stay away from it as much as possible. Soybean and cottonseed are two other big ones. I love using avocado oil and even use it in baking. It’s very mild tasting, which makes it a great option. It also has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so you are able to do more with it. Is it more expensive? Yes, but I buy a big bottle, and it will last me a long time.
*Peanut Butter-Where would we be without this stuff? I don’t think we’d truly grasp the concept of happiness without it. All the ingredients need to say is “peanuts” and maybe “salt.” Lots of options have gross oils, sugar, and preservatives. I love the one at Trader Joes because it doesn’t cost the equivalent of a house payment. Costco also has a great option.
I hope you didn’t look like this the whole time you were reading this post.
But if you did…I get it. I’m aware it can be annoying to listen to people talk about healthy food constantly and how what you’re eating will immediately give you toenail cancer or grow a third eyeball or something. However, the more changes I’ve made in the healthier direction, the better I feel. I’m just trying to pass along the little bit of wisdom I have gained.
Now, who wants to meet me at McDonald’s for lunch today?