Food Swaps for a Healthy Diet
Following a healthy diet is all about balance, but the growing number of diseases and health conditions has forced us all to take a step back and really focus on areas of our lives we can improve, control, and change for the better.
Our diet and nutrition are definitely one of them as we get to choose what we eat or avoid, how much time we actually spend in the kitchen, and what foods and brands we buy at the grocery stores. We’re mostly aware of which foods are good for us and which ones are bad, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take it a step further even with healthy foods.
The growing demand for food combined with soil depletion, global warming, and environmental toxins has caused plenty of fruits and vegetables to lose precious vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, this means that a carrot you ate 20 years ago and the one you eat today have very different nutritional values.
So, in addition to eliminating harmful foods from your diet, the focus should also be on adding nutrient-rich foods which can help replenish what you’re missing and help support your immune system to fight pathogens, free radicals, and other harmful agents. This is where superfoods come in and play an important role in your health, wellbeing, and long-term longevity.
Yacon Syrup as a Sweetener
Ultra-processed sugar and foods containing artificial sweeteners are known to wreak havoc on your digestive system and gut microbiome as well as impair the function of your immune system. Not to mention the high blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance, and inflammation that often time lead to serious health conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
This doesn’t mean that all sweet foods are bad for you. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of sweet-tasting fruits and vegetables that have myriad health benefits if you add them to your diet. Yacon syrup is a byproduct of the yacon root and it’s a healthy alternative to sugar. It has a low GI index which doesn’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and it comes packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that feeds your microbiome.
So not only is it suitable even for people diagnosed with diabetes and other gastrointestinal diseases, but it also promotes the health and diversity of your gut, strengthens your immune system, and lowers overall inflammation in your body.
Chia Seeds as Eggs
Eggs aren’t necessarily a harmful food, but often times they come from poorly treated animals and lower-quality brands that offer little to zero nutrients and a variety of hormones and artificial fillers. If you consume eggs from a trusted source and you feel good eating them, this is by no means an invitation to exclude them from your diet, but if you’re interested in trying out a fully plant-based day and swapping them up for a vegan option, chia seeds are an awesome choice.
Chia seeds are incredibly rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, nourishing your body inside out. They are also very versatile in their use, making them easy to add to your daily meals.
In vegan cuisine, chia seeds are often used instead of eggs and this so-called “chia egg” is really easy to make. In order to replace one egg, you will need:
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 2 ½ tablespoons of water
Stir chia seeds in water and let sit for about five minutes. You’ll notice how the seeds will begin to bubble up and glue to one another, creating a sort of gel or paste. And voilà, you have a plant-based, chia egg!
Cacao instead of Cocoa and Other Sugar-Filled Chocolates
Pure, raw cacao is one of the highest antioxidant foods in the world and it’s probably the best food to add to your healthy diet. A very popular misconception is that since it tastes bitter, you need to add a bunch of sugar to make it taste good. Its rich taste creates a depth in your palate that’s unbeatable and if you learn how to pair it with other healthy ingredients and natural sweeteners like yacon syrup, there is no doubt you will fall in love.
Swap your store-bought Nutella by making your own, add a dash of cacao in your pancake mixture to give them a chocolate flavor, or add a spoonful to your chocolate smoothie and enjoy cacao’s powerful antioxidant benefits combined with its delicious and rich taste.
Cocoa is a processed version of cacao that’s stripped of its important nutrients, so swap it for the real thing and reap all the health benefits. Our Criollo cacao is of the highest quality as it grows in the high altitudes of Peru, in an area still mostly untouched and rich in nutrients. Always make the smart choice and go for the highest-quality ingredients first.
Swap Your Raisins for Goldenberries
Many popular recipes feature raisins in their ingredient list. And even though raisins aren’t unhealthy, they are high in sugar and can create a blood spike like no other. Additionally, most store-bought raisins or products containing them are filled with added sugars, fructose corn syrup, and other inflammatory sweeteners.
Goldenberries are incredible Peruvian superfoods that taste delicious and bring just enough sweetness and tartness to any dish. They are high in antioxidants and help you fight free radicals and their oxidative damage, provide you with a great amount of vitamin B3, and support healthy blood sugar levels with their low GI levels. They provide the same texture as raisins but with significantly less sugar. Try using them in your usual raisin-containing meals and taste the difference!
Including more whole foods into your diet, more specifically plants, is probably one of the best things someone can do to promote their health, lower their inflammation, strengthen their immune system, and protect themselves from disease. But even amongst plants, there are some that deserve to be on your plate more often than others. These amazing Peruvian superfoods bring on a variety of incredible micronutrients and powerful health-boosting compounds that can do wonders for your health even when taken in small amounts.
Swap out your processed pizza for a homemade one, avoid store-bought dressings and simply mix olive oil, lemon, salt, and balsamic, and then add superfoods into as many meals as you can, and you’ll already be 10 steps ahead from where you are now.