The word "diet" has such a negative connotation for me. It feels like it's all about restriction, qualifying your foods and placing constraints on yourself, which I've learned only leads to rebellion! Instead, I work with my clients to find an eating plan that works with their lifestyles and makes them feel amazing, so that there's no need to cheat. Through gradual awareness, you'll find what works for you, and what you don't really need.
That said, we all have our comfort foods. For many of us who struggle with emotional eating, it can be difficult to follow a transformational eating plan that completely contrasts with conventional eating styles 100% of the time. That's why things like coconut flour are included in the baking recipes of the Paleo diet, because I'm pretty sure that 100,000 years ago our ancestors didn't have the tools or abilities to grind and process coconuts to a fine powder or sugar! But that's fodder for a different article.
What I'm trying to get at is that it's not an all-or-nothing deal; there are plenty of ways for a regular person to shift, or "healthify" their recipes without completely changing old favorites. It's all about knowing where to start and then planning appropriately! The basics are replacing one or all of the following in any recipe, in this order if possible:
2. Refined sugar
3. Gluten-containing grains
4. Conventional dairy
AND of course adding more fiber and nutrients whenever possible! I find this comes most easily in the form of adding ground flax or chia seeds to my recipes, and using apple sauce or squash purée rather than oil to add moisture to my baking. Oils are fabulous, but are much better for you raw; most tend to turn rancid when heated, as you may well know!
Healthification has to be an organic process, because if you force it, it won't stick. Be kind to and reward yourself for your small victories, which will help you to build self-discipline. You certainly don't have to shift all at once, because let's be honest: learning to eat in a new way takes time and effort, and your habits will be much more likely to shift if you change gradually, gaining the momentum of confidence and knowledge as you go!
Use the table below to guide your cooking and baking in the future, and please take advantage of signing up for my newsletter for more helpful wellness insights and easy recipes!