Switch-Up: Not, GIVE up

Small Tweaks Equal Huge Differences

I started a blog post about carbohydrate myths and realities. And the more I read and researched, the longer the post got. It turned into a dissertation that wouldn’t end.

I took a detour from the carb post to explore some items that came up with clients recently. As I thought about these items as a whole, I was reminded of how a few small tweaks to our diet and daily routine can positively impact our lives...in a big way. We’re not talking a major overhaul; just consciously switching one thing—one type of food, one type of action—for another. This way, we’re not giving something up and leaving a big hole behind. We’re switching things up.

Here Are Six Things to Switch-Up NOW:

1.    Switch from Ezekiel bread to Julian Bakery Paleo bread. If you're eating bread, what bread should you be eating?  Ezekiel has been all the rage, but I recently discovered Julian Bakery Paleo bread.  I compared nutrition info and the numbers speak volumes: 

                  Ezekiel: 4g protein, 14g total carb, 3g fiber
                  Julian Bakery: 5g protein, 6g total carb, 5g fiber                                       

                  Ezekiel: 80 Cal per slice   Julian Bakery: 35 Cal per slice 

For its high protein, high fiber combo, Julian Bakery Paleo bread wins!

2.    Switch from Agave nectar to RAW honey or fruits for sweeteners.  Why? Agave might not be the healthy sugar we all thought…

Traditionally agave was fermented before it was consumed as a sweet and lightly alcoholic drink, or the sap was boiled for several hours to make a sweetener similar to maple syrup.

Dr. Frank Lipman, author of the book “Spent,” says, “Unfortunately most agave ‘nectar’ found in the US is actually a highly refined sweetener made from the starchy root of the agave plant, in a process very similar to making high fructose corn syrup from corn starch.  So-called agave nectar is also very similar in composition to the now-feared high fructose corn syrup, except that it’s even higher in fructose than HFCS.  High fructose sweeteners can cause mineral depletion, liver inflammation, insulin resistance, and obesity. A recent study (Jan 2013) found that high fructose sweeteners in fact make people crave more and eat more.”

(Lipman is also known for keeping Gwyneth Paltrow in optimum health. For more from Dr Frank, visit: http://www.drfranklipman.com).

In addition, honey has some extra benefits as a sweetener...tennis star Novak Djokovic revealed recently that he eats two teaspoonfuls of honey a day for its intense anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant properties.   It might also maintain those glycogen levels needed for athletic performance.

3.  Switch from high heels to bare heels. Remember how much fun you had as a kid when you kicked off your shoes and ran around outside? Time to do it again. Go barefoot for a few minutes a day—in the back yard, in a clean public park—and get reacquainted with the earth beneath your feet.

4.  Trade-in the dairy. Many of us have difficulty digesting cow’s milk dairy. Sometimes, it can cause a host of other problems (e.g. acne, eczema, allergies, inflammation…) because of the chemical cocktail created through steroids, antibiotics, pesticides from grains, bacteria from infected animals, and genetically engineered growth hormones.

Feeling ambitious? Make your own raw almond milk. Here’s how:

1 cup almonds (or any nut you like – cashews are delicious as well)
3 cups filtered water
a pinch of sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

Rinse and soak the nuts in the water over night, for around 8hrs.

Drain the water from the nuts and rinse.

Put nuts in the blender with 3 cups of filtered water and the salt. Blend until smooth.

Drain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. 

Add the now pulp-free milk back to your blender with the vanilla and/or spices. Blend again.  Use as a base for your oatmeal…or smoothies and protein shakes*.

*I like the Garden of Life RAW Meal protein powder.  Each scoop has 17g of protein and only 1g of sugar, and it’s loaded with enzymes and probiotics, which aid in digestion.  This makes a great breakfast shake with banana, strawberries or peaches, kale and the almond milk!

5. Ditch the low-fat or no-fat eating plan and add fat! We evolved eating marine life, wild game and/or inland plants, which provided abundant omega-3 and other unprocessed fats.

According to a Precision Nutrition blog, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio in a hunter-gatherer diet is around 1:1. We currently consume a ratio of about 16:1 or even 20:1 YIKES!

Much of our omega-6 and saturated fat intake is from refined fat sources, not from whole foods.  Items like corn oil, safflower oil, and factory-farmed meat/eggs/dairy contain unhealthy balances of fat.

“Healthy” fats (from unprocessed whole foods) may do the following for us: Support metabolism, support immunity, hormone production, and aid in the absorption of many nutrients (such as vitamins A and D).

Having enough fat may help keep you feeling full between meals, improve body composition, alleviate depression, improve eye health, and may even reduce symptoms of ADD, ADHD.   If you're not allergic to any of these foods, eat avocados, salmon, chia seeds, sardines and coconut oil and ditch the processed oils (canola, sunflower, corn, soy etc.)

6.  Last but not least…stop stressing and start breathing. Don’t wait for your next yoga class to get in touch with your breath and your lungs. Stop for five minutes at any time during the day, and take five big, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose. Feel your lungs expand fully with each inhale. Exhale through your mouth, loud enough to hear it. (Maybe folks nearby will hear you and follow your lead!)  Check out other breathing exercises from Dr. Andrew Weil. 


The information on this website is for education purposes only, and is not intended to replace professional medical advice or care. Before beginning any nutritional or exercise regimen, consult your physician.