Living natural starts in the kitchen (naturally). But while a home-cooked meal kicks McDonalds’ ass any day of the week, you might not be aware of just how harmful some of the most basic and accessible cooking ingredients actually are. The result: even though you think your health is right on track, those sneaky little culprits are thwarting all your efforts. And you’re blissfully unaware as you shovel cheesy goodness down that gaping pie hole. (Well…what’s the problem?! The recipe said vegetarian!).
Fear not though: I’ve compiled a list of delicious AND nutritious substitutions for the ingredients you love but won’t love you back. And the best part? Once you try these alternatives (or even get creative and experiment with your own ideas!), you’ll never notice the difference.
Well, maybe you will…but it’ll be a good difference. Trust me.
1. Instead of Butter or Margarine: Try pureed avocado, no-sugar-added applesauce, hummus, mashed black beans, or nut butters (e.g. cashew, almond, all-natural peanut)
2. Instead of Dairy: Try nut milks (e.g. almond, soy, hazelnut), seed milks (e.g. hemp, flax, chia, coconut), or grain milks (e.g. rice, oat,)
3. Instead of White Flour: Try ground quinoa, rolled oats, whole grain flours (e.g. spelt, millet, barley, buckwheat), or seed meals (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, chia)
4. Instead of Sugar: Try agave nectar, chopped raisins or dates, cinnamon or nutmeg, brown rice syrup, or all-natural sweeteners (e.g. stevia, monk fruit)
5. Instead of Table Salt: Try herbs (e.g. basil, dill, rosemary, oregano), spices (e.g. cumin, tarragon, cracked red pepper), garlic, dried seaweed, or lemon zest
6. Instead of Sour Cream or Mayo: Try plain Greek yogurt, honey mustard, or Mediterranean spreads (e.g. tzatziki, baba ghanoush, olive tempenade, pesto)
7. Instead of Eggs: Try silken tofu, pureed fruits (e.g. bananas, pumpkins, apples), ground flaxseed paste, egg whites, or arrowroot powder
8. Instead of Vegetable Oil: Try heart-healthy oils (e.g. coconut, olive, avocado, palm), or 100% fruit juices (e.g. cranberry, pomegranate, carrot, beet, lemon, lime)
So, what are you waiting for?! Get in the kitchen and show those processed fake ingredients that they’ve finally met their match. (Spoiler alert: both your waistline and digestive system say “thanks!”).