So you want to eat healthier.
Decrease your waistline, sure, but also improve your body’s performance — make the engine run at optimum. And some foods burn cleaner and better than others.
With that in mind, here are seven caveman-easy substitutions you can add to your diet today that’ll make you healthier and brighter. Get to it.
Substitute kimchi for lettuce or cole slaw on a sandwich. Lettuce — especially anything that’s not dark green — lacks nutritional value. And slaw is not only drenched in mayo, it also calls for raw cabbage, which is difficult to digest. Kimchi is cabbage that has been broken down by the miracles of fermentation so that it’s loaded with probiotics (the good gut bacteria) as well as nutrients. Plus, it’s spicy and delicious.
Substitute cashew milk for dairy, almond or soy milk in your cereal. Why? Dairy milk is just plain bad for you, and soy’s not much better. Most almond milk is loaded with preservatives and light on almonds. Cashew milk is thicker, silkier and easy as pie to make at home. Blend 1 cup cashews, 4 cups water, ½ tablespoon vanilla extract and a pinch of salt on high. You’re good for 4-5 bowls.
Substitute yerba mate for coffee, especially if you need to take a break from the latter. (Do you get headaches in the morning if you don’t drink it? Time for a break.) Yerba mate is a South American plant that’ll give you a nice burst of energy. But unlike coffee and some teas, it lacks high acidity, making it easier on your bowels. And its energy is sustained and bereft of a crash. Add some of the cashew milk for a silky texture, some honey for sweetness and maybe a dash of turmeric for an added antioxidizing kick.
Substitute spinach for raw kale in your smoothies (or anything, really). Kale is a superfood that is great for you. But only if it’s cooked. That’s because raw kale contains raffinose, a sugar that’s hard for the body to digest. It also has more fiber than most bodies can handle, and it stimulates thyroid function, which actually makes you eat more. You can still have those green smoothies, but use another dark green veggie, like spinach or arugula.
Substitute avocado for bananas in your smoothies. Bananas are loaded with sugar. Hence why they work so well in desserts. But that sugar content translates to bad fat in your body. To get the same heft that a banana lends a breakfast smoothie, use half an avocado. It’s loaded with the good fats that give you natural energy throughout the day.
Substitute grapeseed oil for butter in your cooking. Butter makes everything taste better, but it’s hard on the body, and you’re getting enough of it if you eat out often (ungodly amounts of butter are the restaurant industry’s dirtiest little secret). Unlike olive oil, grapeseed oil burns well at a high temp and doesn’t drown out your food’s flavor. You can use olive oil for a finisher, but cook with grapeseed.
Substitute Laird Hamilton’s Superfood Creamer for creamer in your coffee. This goes double if you’re one of those Bulletproof junkies who takes butter in his coffee. Fat and coffee together are good for sustaining caffeine, but drinking that much butter isn’t great for you, especially if you’re lactose intolerant. Hamilton’s creamer is made with coconut oil. It’s delicious and has zero crash.