Updated: Feb 28
Cooking like this, has really changed my life in the kitchen and thus my health, because I can eat basically whatever I want - just by making some ingredient 'tweaks.'
There's nothing worse than the rest of the family tucking into a big lasagne and you can't eat it because it's full of gluten and dairy! This is how you CAN eat it!
I take standard recipes or old style traditional meals (which are not so healthy) and convert them into healthy versions, using my healthy swap formula!
Then you’ll be able to scan any recipe in a magazine or somewhere else and mentally swap out any ingredients that you know aren't healthy with healthy ingredients. It's so liberating!
The trick is to have a supply of these ‘healthy swap ingredients’ in your kitchen to call on whenever you feel like cooking (for me I just get the urge when I feel like something in particular!)
Learning to swap out ingredients is actually a really fun thing to do! It's like ‘the secret sauce' to keeping your food interesting and to be able to cook and eat whatever recipe you like.
Most people fail at healthy eating after a while, because they don’t know how to swap out recipes and sadly they end up getting bored with eating the same old ‘health food’ every day.
Here's My 9 'Healthy Swaps' :
Replace with: Almond Meal or Almond Flour (the difference is the husk remains in the meal) Coconut flour or gluten free plain/self raising flour.
Tip - Commercial Gluten Free Flour: Even though I've mention it here, these are not as healthy as some of the lovely nut flours (which are naturally gluten free and full of good for you oils eg. almond and coconut.) However anything is better than eating harmful gut aggravating gluten. So always choose nut flours first, and if you absolutely have to, or you have a nut allergy, go with gluten free flours.
Tip - Crumbing With Almond Flour: This make a perfect crumb! Great for crumbing steak, chicken or fish. To make the crumb taste savoury: just add nutritional yeast flakes (non dairy taste like Parmesan) or Parmesan cheese, onion and garlic powder, sea salt and your favourite dried herbs.
Tip - Making Desserts: If you want to make a dessert tart base or pie top - Almond flour is perfect! Just add a little olive oil (or butter if having) and a drizzle of maple syrup. This will give you a sweets pastry. Here, you've simply swapped the savoury ingredients to dessert ingredients to transform your almond dough.
Tip - Uses: I use almond meal when I'm making my healthy cheese cake bases and pizza bases.
Replace with: Chia Seed gel
Tip: If You’re Not Eating Eggs (or don’t like the eggy taste) chia seed gel is the perfect replacement. Remember, eggs although nutritious for some people, can be very irritating to a weaker gut.
Formula: 1 egg = 1 tablespoon of chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water.
Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes and you’ll notice it becomes a gel.
Now just multiply this formula with the number of eggs in a recipe.
Tip - Uses: I love to use this replacement in my healthy pizza bases which need something to bind it (gluten would otherwise do this job) and cakes.
3. Dairy Milk
Replace with: Almond Milk, Macadamia, Cashew or Coconut Milk (Nut Milks)
Tip - Be Aware Of Unhealthy Nut Milk Brands: Some nut milk brands make unhealthy nut milks. This is the case of many of the 'cafe nut milks.' I recommend you buy the 'Nutty Bruce' brand or if you don’t have access to this brand, 'Pure Harvest' does a great almond milk that’s also shelf stable too. Optimally, you could make your own nut milk.
Tip - Uses: I love to use Almond milk to make healthy hot chocolate, super healthy coffees and chai teas.
Replace with: Maple Syrup, Raw Honey or dates
Tip - Processed Sugar Plays Havoc With Your Health: Sugar addiction has become so bad for so many people these days, that it is ruining both their physical health mental health!
Tip - Natural sugars: The swaps above are still high in natural sugar, but they also have nutrients too (unlike sugar) so this makes them better for you and slower to release (so you don't get the highs and lows of sugar consumption (think toddler on cordial!)
Tip - Maple syrup Is My Favourite: It's perfect to use where ever you would usually use sugar. So for desserts, just add a tiny bit and taste test. A little maple goes a long way! The more you decrease your sweetener, the more you'll be able to taste the natural sugars in whole foods. You can re-train your taste buds again!
Tip - Uses: I love using maple syrup in my healthy home made dark chocolate, cakes, almond flour tart bases and much more!
Replace with: Organic Cold Press Australian Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
Tip - Use These Swaps Anywhere You'd Usually Use Butter: The oils (so good for your health) are great to make cakes, pizza breads, biscuits, as they do the same thing as butter does.
Tip - Olive Oil & Coconut Oil Reduce Cholesterol: Remarkably, Olive Oil does a great job of balancing your cholesterol (reducing the bad cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol.) Coconut oil has endless health benefit too.
Tip - Uses: I love using olive oil in my vanilla cakes as it makes them so moist. I use vanilla extract to counteract the very slight olive oil flavour - so no problem there.
Replace with: Cashew Cheese Cheese, Nutritional Yeast Flakes or Kefir Cheese
Tip - Cashew cheese: is delicious, but expensive so easily make your own. Use cashew cheese as a spread, dob onto salads and pizza.
Nutritional yeast flakes: can be used anywhere usually asking for Parmesan cheese e.g. quiches, pasta, or to add a savoury taste to breads or pizza base. Buy from a health food store.
Kefir Cheese: This is made fro straining milk kefir and the great news is it's usually no problem for people who can't tolerate dairy otherwise. This is because the lactose has been fermented out. I make my own kefir cheese and flavour it with herbs to make different variations. It's also a high probiotic cheese - The best cheese you could ever have for your gut health!
I love kefir cheese over a salad, or a spoonful straight out of the fridge as a snack or to counteract a sugar craving.
Tip - Cashew Cheese Uses: The beauty is that you can tweak the recipe, and add your favourite herbs and spices to make you own savoury flavour. I make mine using green pepper corns and hint of garlic.
Replace with: Coconut milk or Coconut Cream
Tip - Carefully Choose The Brand: The ingredients lists should have just pure coconut extract and water. Some brands have additives which are bad. ‘Full Fat Ayam’ is a good regular supermarket brand but health food stores have better brands too! Never buy the 'light' brands.
Tip - For a Thicker Cream Consistency: Chill the tin of coconut cream in the fridge and scoop of the top creamy layer off the top. Perfect for desserts.
Tip - Uses: I love using coconut milk for my chocolate mousse, chia puddings and mango or chocolate pannacotta, curry bases and smoothie bases.
Replace with: Zucchini spaghetti
Tip: Spiralize a Zucchini : Anywhere a recipe asks for wheat pasta. If I’m feeling really lazy or don’t have a spiralizer, I just use a potato peeler and make lovely long ribbons. Then saute the ribbons or zucchini spaghetti gently in a touch of olive oil, to remove the 'rawness' but make sure you don't over cook it (al dente is best!)
Tips - Uses: I love using zucchini spaghetti for my healthy gluten free Meat Spaghetti Bolognese - a perfect way to have more veges too! I also love to make wide zucchini ribbons to swap pasta in my lasagne and with my dairy free cheese sauce!
Replace with: Cauliflower rice.
Tip - Blitz Up Cauliflower Heads in a Food Processor: This then forms into the size of rice grains to make cauliflower rice. I then sauté it in very lightly in some olive oil, salt and pepper, dried herbs, garlic and onion powder to give it a lovely savoury flavour. You’ll probably love it more that rice!
Tip - Uses: I love to use cauliflower rice for my healthy chicken, lamb or beef curries and nourishing stews.
So there you have it! 9 tricks to have up your sleeve for when you're cooking for taste AND health!
One last bit of advice: Don't tell the family what you're up to (making their food healthier) until after they've eaten and loved it. Slowly they will become more open minded about these healthy swaps and be better for it!
Where Can You Get My Recipes?
If you'd like any of my foods ideas or recipes mentioned above... such as cashew cheese, healthy cakes, slices, dessert likes chocolate mousse, mango panna cotta, cheese cake, quiches, breads and pizzas and much more - Check out My Gut Health & Recipe Site Here - Where Member Are Loving All The Recipes!