1/22/16

Two simple swaps for more real food


Over several years, I've slowly changed my lifestyle habits and moved myself more and more away from a heavy processed and convenience-food diet toward a very real food diet.

Some dietary changes happened quickly whereas other changes required a different appreciation and time to create new habits.

I really value what real food can do for a body, when it comes to health and performance so I've worked really hard over many years to make some swaps when it comes to incorporating more real food into my diet.

I'm not against processed food and don't cringe at the thought of "food" in a bag but I do believe that some foods, like well-fortified foods, help to keep people healthy in all parts of our world. And since I don't have an off-limit food list, I never feel guilty, anxious or remorseful if I eat something processed.

I have a most of the time diet and then there are foods that I eat some of the time/on occasion. The great thing is that neither one is a mass-marketed diet plan so I am able to eat intuitively and mindfully and it's up to me as to what I put inside my body and when.

And I ALWAYS feel great when I eat and even better after I eat.

One of the biggest lifestyle changes in adopting a more real food diet is breaking away from food that is bought or consumed out of convenience. Certainly, it is just as convenient to snack on a washed and chopped fresh fruit salad that you put together and stored in your fridge and combine with Greek Yogurt or a hardboiled egg, as it is to snack on chips, cookies and bars, but it takes a lifestyle change to make sure fruit is available. 

I really believe that something magical happens to the body when real food takes the main stage. With a more real food diet, there is flexibility so that no macronutrient (carbs, protein, fat) takes the center stage. I prioritize proteins and fats, alongside carbs that pack a lot of nutrient density and give me the energy I need to train consistently well. In my diet, plants certainly get the spotlight and I feel this approach is great for everyone to ensure that your body stays in great health with a variety of vitamins and minerals.

I would like to share two simple real food swaps that you can easily try-out next week. 



For lunch the other day, I had this beautiful stir-fry dish.
Would you believe that this dish only had 5 ingredients???
Mixed frozen veggies, cooked black rice, cooked jasmine rice and tempeh cooked in olive oil.

Instead of a fast-food sandwich or wrap, with the meat and veggies in the inside, let's turn that sandwich inside out and fill a bowl with lots of nutrient powerful ingredients and add a grain instead of the bread.
I'm not anti-sandwich but there is only so much "plants" that you could squeeze between two slices of bread.
This swap does mean you have to eat with a fork and not with your hands but perhaps this can be the start to a new lifestyle change of sitting down to eat - with utensils. And, if you have all these items prepared ahead of time, this dish takes less than 10 minutes to assemble and heat.

This real food swap is so simple.
Consider turning your favorite sandwich, wrap or pita inside out for a more plant-strong meal. 
Your goal is to combine lots of veggies, a grain/starch, a protein and a fat for a balanced meal. You can use any meat instead of tempeh and add any fat that you'd like inside of olive oil.
Ready for another swap?


Before an early evening workout this past week, I was in need of a snack. I had some cooked sweet potatoes in my fridge so I took a few out and drizzled them with a little honey and topped with a little butter and cinnamon. I then added a small handful peanuts for a delicious and nutritious pre-workout snack. 

Eating a granola bar or a sport bar didn't even come to mind as I had real food waiting for me for a yummy snack.
Ironically, as I was eating and thinking about the composition of this snack, it hit me that this pre-workout snack had almost the same calories, carbs, protein and fat as a sport bar! Plus, you save a wrapper by eating real food instead of a processed bar so it's great for the environment too.
WIN WIN.

1 sport bar - ~240 - 300 calories, 5-10g fat, 45-50g carbs, 5-15g protein

Real food swap:
1 cup sweet potato
1 tbsp honey (or 4 pitted dates)
10 peanuts
~240 calories, ~5g fat, ~43g carbs, ~5g protein

What real food swaps will you make next week?