Healthy Kitchen Basics

Healthy protein and omegas Healthy protein and omegas By: Marian Tamayo, NASM CPT

Ok, let’s face it, there are so many choices for food out there and it’s so confusing!  How can I make smarter healthier choices when I am trying to win the week?  Well I am here to help with a healthy recipe makeover series.  Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.  It takes baby steps, small changes, to get there.  So start with one little thing and when you get used to that, try something new.    Here are some staples that you can substitute for healthier choices to cook with in your kitchen:

FOOD: Margarine
BETTER: Butter
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Coconut Oil/Olive oil/Grapeseed Oil
WHY IT'S BEST: Margarine is a processed fat that hardens in your arteries and contributes to heart disease.  Oils like coconut, olive, grapeseed oil are much better in contributing to healthy brain function, healthy cholesterol levels, etc.  Use these oils and butter very sparingly.

FOOD: Sugar Local
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Wild, Unpasteurized Honey/Stevia/Coconut Palm Sugar/Maple Syrup
WHY IT'S BEST: The less processed, the better,  Local wild honey is a good choice because local pollen helps the body with fighting allergies.  Also the closer to the natural source, the better it is for you and the planet.  Coconut Palm Sugar has potassium and other health benefits.  Maple syrup is known for prostate health for men.

FOOD: White Bread
CLEANER REPLACEMENT:  100% Whole Grain/Whole Wheat (read the label), preferably organicI like Ezekiel bread or Dave’s Organic
WHY IT'S BEST: Why it’s better? White breads, pasta turn straight into simple carbs, sugar leading to more fat.  We need fiber, so adding whole grains gives you complex carbs you need for energy as well as some of the fiber we need for healthy digestion. We need carbs for energy!  If you lift weights regularly, increase your carb intake on strength training days and be more cautious of simple sugar intake on rest days.

FOOD: Yogurt good sub for sour cream, whipping cream, heavy cream, mayonnaise
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Nonfat, Plain, Organic, Greek
WHY IT'S BEST: Plain – much less sugar than the flavored varietiesOrganic – organics lessen the toxins that you are taking in, therefore forgoing extra sludge that you don’t need to have to burn off later. Greek – talk about added protein!

FOOD: Eggs
CLEANER REPLACEMENT:  Organic – non GMO Fed, Cage Free
WHY IT'S BEST: Good source of protein and omega fatty acids.  1 egg = 70 cal

FOOD: Chicken
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Skinless Breast – Free Range, Organic, Sustainable
WHY IT'S BEST: Good source of lean protein

FOOD: Fish
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Refer to app, Seafood Watch, created by the Monterey Bay Aquarium for Wild Caught or farm raised when buying fish for the best seafood choices
WHY IT'S BEST: Excellent source of lean protein and omegas

FOOD: Nuts
WHY IT'S BEST: Healthy protein and omegas

FOOD: White Rice
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Brown rice or other whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, bulgur, barley
WHY IT'S BEST: Refer to commentary on white bread

FOOD: Fruits and Veggies  
WHY IT'S BEST: Organic if you are going to eat the skinCan be non organic if not going to eat outer layers – Why?  Pesticides are contributors to certain cancers and other chronic diseases.

FOOD: Snack Foods
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Popcorn with a little sea salt,  Nuts, Apple slices with a little almond butter, hummus with carrots/celery , hard boiled egg
WHY IT'S BEST: Replace the cookies, chips, dip for these foods

FOOD: Fiber
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Chia seeds/Flax Seeds/fruits and veggies
WHY IT'S BEST: Chia and Flax seeds add omega fatty acids andare really good at cleaning out the sludge in your gut

FOOD: Deli Meat
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Nitrate/Nitrite Free.  I like Nature’s Gate Organic or Aidell’s
WHY IT'S BEST: Nitrates and Nitrites are cancer contributors.

FOOD: Organic Salad Greens
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Spinach, Kale, Leafy Greens
WHY IT'S BEST: 2 cups a day helps your body maintain healthy cell function, and in turn keeps your immunity up

FOOD: White Pasta
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Whole Wheat, or eat whole grains instead: Quinoa, bulgur, farro, barley, etc
WHY IT'S BEST: See commentary for white bread

FOOD: Cereal
CLEANER REPLACEMENT: Steel Cut Oats, Quinoa
WHY IT'S BEST: If you choose a cold cereal, read the label, you might be surprised by how much sugar is in it. Also pay attention to the serving size.  Very important

FOOD: Chicken/Vegetable Broth  
WHY IT'S BEST: Organic, Free Range, Low Sodium

FOOD: Flour
WHY IT'S BEST: Whole Wheat, Almond/Coconut, White Whole Wheat 

READ YOUR LABELS!!  Your health is worth the extra time in the store!!  Here is a list of things to use in moderation/be skeptical in your food:
Partially hydrogenated oils -artery cloggers!
Added Refined Sugars
Added Colorings
High Fructose Corn Syrup – A Highly processed cheap sweetener
Soy/Soybean Oils – Soy is controversial, but new findings are that unless it is whole, organic soy,  it is highly processed; for children, causes early puberty; for women may cause some cancers. If you don’t understand or can’t read what else is in it, research the ingredients first or just don’t buy it. 

 Cooking veggies: To get the most nutrients out of your veggies, roast or bake. If you need to steam, but do not let them sit in water or much of the nutrients will be leached out. 

 Be on the look out for my healthy recipes!!  Small changes can sometimes yield big results!!