8 summer food swaps that can make you healthier
When it comes to selecting the right summertime foods – including meat, dairy products, butter and eggs – the fundamental concept to remember is organic foods, which are usually safer and most likely healthier than conventionally grown foods. This is because you end up ingesting fewer toxins and reducing your body’s total toxic chemical load. This fact was confirmed by a study from Stanford University and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which showed a 30 percent reduced exposure to toxic pesticides when consuming organic versus conventionally grown produce.
Let’s Get Swapping:
Swap CAFO Meats for Organic, Grass-Fed Meats
A joint collaboration between the USDA and Clemson University researchers – which was later published in the Journal of Animal Science and on the website Proffitfamilyfarms.com – and found that organic, grass fed meats were higher in beneficial omega-3 fats, and higher in vitamin E, beta-carotene, the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin, the minerals calcium and magnesium, and also higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA, which is a potential cancer fighter). Grass-fed meats are also lower in total fat when compared to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where animals are fed grain diets that are oftentimes composed of genetically engineered (GMO) grains that can result in a vastly different and less healthy nutritional profile.
Swap Margarine for Organic Butter
At the present time, there is a shift in thinking by health professionals towards embracing healthy fats rather than shunning them as was done in the past. Butter alternatives such as margarine are no longer considered the healthiest choice for some very good reasons. They are loaded with unhealthy components including trans fats (contribute to heart disease and other health problems), free radical formation from high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils used in non-butter fats, emulsifiers and preservatives such as BHT, and industrial hexane and other toxic chemical solvents used in the extraction process.
Clearly, a better choice is good, old-fashioned butter that happens to be rich in beneficial CLA and vitamins A (eyesight, immune system and cell growth), vitamin D (brain nutrient and cancer fighter), vitamin E (brain nutrient and antioxidant) and vitamin K2 (brain nutrient, bone and heart health). Butter also contains the trace minerals manganese (bone, thyroid, skin and sex hormone health), chromium (insulin production), zinc (brain nutrient), copper (brain nutrient), and selenium (brain nutrient).
Switch from CAFO to Organic Pastured Eggs
Eggs are one of the best sources of animal protein and contain all eight essential amino acids, which makes them one of the complete protein foods. Eggs are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (eyesight), choline (brain nutrient), and Vitamin B-12 (brain nutrient). The trick here is to make sure you are buying eggs from hens that are organically raised, and free-range pastured where they can forage for their natural diet of seeds, green plants, and insects.
Dump the Soda and Replace with Sparkling Water
Sodas are loaded with chemical additives and lots of sugar, which is toxic to the body. The average 12-ounce can of soda contains approximately 40 grams of sugar. Excessive amounts of sugar consumption is linked to diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and Alzheimer’s among other health problems. When you thirst for a bit of the bubbly, grab a bottle of sparkling water and add a dash of lime or lemon, or perhaps select a beverage variety that is already sweetened with Stevia or Luo Han – both are safe natural sweeteners.
Ditch Bottled Water for Pure Filtered Tap Water
You may be one of those who believes that bottled water is more pure than filtered tap water. However, just the opposite is true. Unfortunately, about 40 percent of bottled water is nothing more than regular tap water, which may or may not have received additional treatment. It’s been pointed out that most municipal tap water must adhere to stricter purity standards than does the bottle water industry. In addition, plastic bottles can leach out hormone-disrupting plastic chemicals such as PFOAs (cancer link), PBDEs (linked to reproductive problems and thyroid issues), phthalates (chemical used to make plastic flexible, and linked to reproductive problems and cancer), and BPA (hormone disrupter).
Instead of using a plastic bottle, I reuse a Mountain Valley sparkling water green-glass bottle, which I use to re-fill daily with pure, filtered tap water from my home. I add the juice of a lemon and enough Stevia to satisfy my sweet tooth. It’s like drinking delicious lemonade all day. You stay well hydrated and can now “pee your way to a healthy day.”
Chuck Iceberg Lettuce for Organic Baby Spinach
Whether it’s for a salad or to top a sandwich, spinach is the hands down nutrition champ compared to Iceberg lettuce, which scores very low on the nutritional score board. Spinach is packed with vitamins Vitamin A (eyesight, immune system and cell growth), Vitamin C (brain, immune and heart health), vitamin B-6 (brain, energy and hormonal health), folate (brain, blood and fetal health), riboflavin, thiamin and niacin, plus the minerals iron (brain nutrient), copper (brain nutrient), magnesium (muscle/nerve/bone health, energy and heart health), phosphorus (energy, bone and teeth, and cell health), potassium (water balance, heart and nerve health), calcium (bone and teeth, and weight health), manganese (bone, thyroid, skin and sex hormone health), zinc (brain, immune and skin health), and dietary fiber (regularity health).
Drop Chips for Organic Baby Carrots
Caught you with a bag of chips didn’t I? As the unofficial Prescott food cop, I’m asking you to drop the bag. Thank you citizen for your cooperation. Stop by my office for a bag of organic baby carrots to help make it a crunchy good day. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene (antioxidant and immune health), lutein (eyesight) and dietary fiber (regularity health).
Abandon Rice and Pasta for Beans
This starchy twosome can’t hold a candle to the nutritional power punch of beans, which are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Beans are a good source of folate ((brain, blood and fetal health), the minerals iron (brain nutrient) and potassium (water balance, heart and nerve health), vegetable source of protein, and soluble dietary fiber, which helps you to fill up faster so you may eat less.
Look this list of food swaps over carefully and select at least one or maybe two suggestions that grab your attention. If you are still unsure and need a little help, shoot me an email and I can give you a little custom coaching.
Learn more about Registered Dietitian Nutritionist/author Deralee Scanlon on her website: www.beverlyglennutrition.com, watch her monthly segments on “The Morning Scramble,” and check out her new “Memory Health Class.”