Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The swap guide- Part 1

So as you may or may not know the famous saying 'abs are made in the kitchen' is in fact true.
You may bust your sweaty little tush off at the gym every single day and not see any results because you are still having pasta three times a week (who doesn't want to eat carbonara three times a week??). The sad truth is that pasta will not help you achieve your dream body. No amount of exercise can ever outrun a bad diet and in fact it would seem that someone would be better off eating clean with minimal exercise than eating anything and everything with 6 workouts a week.

For me this was hard. I naturally have a sweet tooth and will often crave Ben's cookies (or any) or that cheeky chunky kitkat but I managed to control this (mostly)... But wait what? I can't have dressing on my salad?? I can't have that extra veggie filled pasta for my dinner?? Life was utter confusion until I initiated the 'swap'. If followed the swap will make you feel that you're improving your diet rather than restricting certain foods. So here goes, the top swaps:



  • Homemade dressing VS store bought salad dressing
Yes you may have dressing on your initially bland lettuce. The average store bought salad dressing may however render your once healthy salad as unhealthy as your weekly burger indulgence. 
Your healthy 'homemade' salad dressing may be as simple as cold olive oil or as intricate as this dairy free ranch dressing by My whole food life. Either way by opting for a non processed version you are being caring towards your body which is all that matters!
If you don't want the 'hassle' of homemade dressings spend a leisurely amount of time perusing the options available in your local supermarket but it may take you a while to find one that is suitably 'healthy'. My favourite 'indulgence' dressing is the 'Naturally Righteous' lemon and mustard seed dressing which is made from natural ingredients and is completely vegan. This is equally great as a sauce to bake chicken in, yummy!

Image from www.mywholefoodlife.com
  • Sweet potato VS white potato
Okay so what if I told you that I had never heard/ tasted sweet potato before meeting my boyfriend... Pretty crazy right?? Well here's the really crazy thing, sweet potato tastes better than normal potato and is good for you! Think of all your potato classics; jacket potato, wedges, potato salad, mashed potato... All of these can be swapped with the ever amazing sweet potato for no extra effort! I am a firm sweet potato advocator ever since I first discovered it and really can't get enough of it. I have also heard that in America they sometimes smother theirs with marshmallows... Not so healthy but sounds intriguing!!


  • Nut milk VS cow's milk
Although cow's milk provides essential vitamins and extra calcium and minerals for the young and the elderly, it is definitely not the healthiest option when it comes to a coffee accompaniment. Dairy milk is naturally high in saturated fat and can be problematic not only for people with already existent problems such as high cholesterol but also for anybody else looking to lead a healthy lifestyle. 
Almond milk on the other hand (the unsweetened variety, also my favourite one) is low in calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. There are of course different varieties of non dairy alternatives to milk such as rice, oat and soya milk, each with their own pros and cons. Personally I would advocate any nut milk over dairy milk; the choice of which one should be personal either according to taste or to personal circumstances; some are better for diabetes, others for thyroid problems etc... Personally I tried soya milk and sweetened almond milk and disliked both of them. Almond appeared the lesser of two evils however and I attempted to disguise its taste as much as possible. By chance, I ran out of milk and the only one available from the local supermarket was the unsweetened variety. I took it home on a whim and haven't looked back since! I love unsweetened almond milk, taste and texture and would recommend it to anyone willing to try it. This is however based on taste as I said; my boyfriend on the other hand can't stand the unsweetened one as he says it's too watery and so sticks to the average one.

  • Courgetti VS wholegrain spaghetti VS 'normal' spaghetti
Replacing spaghetti with a vegetable is naturally a good idea and it really works! You can either grate your courgette with a cheese grater, peel it or use a special thingy (?) to make the courgette strips as thin, and as good looking, as spaghetti itself! I was very skeptical about replacing my beloved pasta with courgetti however I barely noticed the difference. Just cover you courgetti with your go to pasta sauce (homemade and avoid the creamy based ones such as carbonara in favour of a clean and lean version of bolognese) and voila! Another good alternative to spaghetti are soba noodles which are normally in the oriental or 'free from' section of UK supermarkets. These noodles are made from buckwheat flour which makes them a good alternative to wheat pasta if you are gluten intolerant. These noodles are good as a one off however don't provide many nutritional benefits and as such should be limited in favour of more beneficial alternatives.


  • Wholegrain pitta bread/ Rye bread VS white bread
Step away from the bread ladies and gentlemen. Bread is often a key part of the average person's life however it is not something to be consumed 'lightly'. In order for your bread to be 'white' all the nutrients need to be stripped out meaning that you are left with an empty shell of negativity, no one needs that kind of negativity in their life let's be honest. There is also no room to be fooled by these half and half ideas. I for one cannot stand the taste of brown bread and as such must content myself with wholegrain pitta bread as my healthier option. Thankfully I am not one for sandwiches and toast anyway which makes this transition easier for me. I am yet to try rye bread however it would seem that I must now, 'practice what you preach' and all that! I will keep you all updated on my rye bread experience however I will leave you with some yummy looking avocado and scrambled eggs on rye in the meantime.

Image from rachaelraymag.com

I will carry on doing a few of these swap posts to make it easier for healthy transitions; I hope this has been helpful and informative!

Ellen xo


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