Everyone today is talking about how you should avoid gluten, or refined sugar and even milk because they are unhealthy. This is absolutely correct, but they rarely suggest healthy alternatives and leave people in a frenzy! Today I am going to provide some healthy alternatives for some of the popular commercial products that are overused and hold very little benefits for our body.
Cow’s Milk: Where am I going to get my calcium from? This is a common question asked when people are told to take dairy out of their diet. Milk may contain calcium but it is not the only source or even the best source of calcium. Milk is actually very acidic to the body (we want to avoid being acidic) and instead of helping us build healthy bones it actually weakens our bones. The calcium in milk is poorly absorbed and does not have a huge beneficial effect making strong bones. Cow’s milk is also homogenized and contains hormones given to cows for growth, which are also detrimental to health. In the past few decades more people have announced that they are lactose intolerance. This is because the lactose contained in milk cannot be broken down due to the fact that humans lack the necessary enzyme. Lactase (the enzyme) decreases after about the age of 2, the point in time humans should stop consuming milk. Casein the protein in milk has also become a problem in the last little while, causing allergies to milk.
Alternatives: Try brown rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, or almond milk instead of cow’s milk. Also increase you consumption of green vegetables as well as nuts and seeds to ensure adequate consumption of calcium.
White Bread: Not only is white bread refined and stripped of vitamins and minerals, it also contains gluten which has become a common allergen in the past decade or so. It is important that we make sure the food we consume has a high nutrient content and provides our body with the necessary amount of vitamins and minerals.
Alternative: You can have whole grain bread if you are not allergic to gluten or wheat, but I would suggest having bean bread or brown rice bread. Some great brands include Queen Street Gluten Free Bread and Aidan’s Gluten Free Bread.
White Sugar & Brown Sugar: These sugars are highly refined and stripped of any nutrient value. Consumption of sugar can cause an insulin spike and our blood glucose levels to rise drastically. Constant consumption of sugar can send us on a rollercoaster ride with sugar highs and lows, leading to symptoms of hypoglycemia (fatigue, headache, irritability) and even sugar cravings. Increase insulin levels can also lead to weight gain which not many people want. It is important to balance our blood sugar and prevent the spikes and crashes. Try adding fiber and protein to slow the break down of sugar or add a sprinkle of cinnamon to help balance glucose levels.
Alternative: Try using coconut sugar (low glycemic index, does not spike insulin), raw honey (nutrient dense and great for the immune system), pure maple syrup or even dates. These are all great choices that provide nutrients along with sweetness and prevent the scary insulin rollercoaster ride.
Hope you enjoy these tips and no longer freak out when you are told everything is bad for you 😉