Updated: Feb 28, 2020
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.