Anytime I can make a simple swap in the kitchen to get added health benefits I’m interested. So long as the new food delivers on the taste front!
With that in mind I wanted to share with you 4 ‘alternative’ foods I’ve switched to over the years that I believe do me some good.
If you use vegetable oils (like sunflower oil), salt, bread or butter on a regular basis (and you’re up for mixing it up a little) perhaps give one of these a try:
I use coconut oil for cooking at high temperatures (like stir frying) instead of vegetable oils such as sunflower oil or soybean oil.
I’m concious that the fatty acids in vegetable oil (and even my beloved olive oil!) are sensitive to heat above a certain temperature. When they’re heated beyond this point the fatty acids oxidize, making them… well, not so good for you.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are more stable, and are less likely to become damaged when you use for cooking.
Added bonus: The type of fats in coconut oil (the medium chain triglycerides or ‘MCTs’) are easier for our body to burn than other types of fat. And the addition of coconut oil to the diet has been shown to make a small, but significant increase in the rate of fat loss over time – provided they take the place of other fats in the diet.
For clearer skin: While there’s only research supporting the skin benefits of coconut oil when applied directly (rather than consumed), my skin (which is like the budgie in a coal mine for detecting things that’re bad) has been better since I brought coconut oil into the game.
My favourite brand: I use extra virgin coconut oil. My favourite to date for taste (and I’ve tried many!) is Tiana Fairtrade Organic Raw Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 500 ml
Typical table salt (and most sea salts) are highly processed. All the good stuff gets removed and we’re left with a product that’s no longer good for us.
Sea water contains minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, plus many trace elements such as iron, zinc, and manganese that our body needs to function at its best. All these are stripped away from most salt when processed. But minmally processed sea salt retains all the goodness.
You can tell a minimally processed sea salt by its colour and texture. It’s not as dry as table salt. And the retained mineral content gives the salt a greyish colour.
My favourite brand: either Celtic Sea Salt or Sel De Guerande from Reflets de France.
Healthy heart: the monounsaturated fats in avocado have been shown to reduce LDL (so called “bad” cholesterol) while increasing HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.
Higher “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol is a winner for our cardiovascular health.
Healthy digestion: each avocado gives you about 7g of fibre, which not only keeps you satisfied, it keeps your digestive system healthy too.
How to use? I’d usually mash on toast instead of butter (with a lil’ celtic sea salt). NOTE: butter isn’t bad per se. It’s just the health benefits of avocado makes it worth including a few times a week.
Another quick and easy way to eat is to simply scoop out and add to salads.
Rather than the ‘fill you up for 5 minutes’ kind of bread sometimes you just need something a little more substantial. So one of my all time favourite snacks that satifies is toasted rye bread.
To make it into a balanced meal (according to the Diligent rules of good nutrition) I go for toasted rye bread with mashed avocado and a sprinkle of sea salt with flaked smoked mackerel on top.
NOTE: if fat loss is your goal then saving higher carb snacks like rye bread for after your workout means the carbs will get put to use in your muscles and less likely to be stored as fat.
Most breads have a load of uneccesary ingredients. But my favourite rye bread has just 3: Rye flour, water and sea salt
My favourite brand: The Village Bakery Organic Rossisky Rye Bread – which I get from Ocado/Waitrose
These are 4 of the alternative foods I keep stocked in my kitchen that I don’t think are the norm. But maybe I’m wrong. Have you ever tried any of these?
Or maybe you’ve got a health food secret weapon of your own that not many people know about? If so hit the ‘Like’ button below and share your thoughts!