Healthy Substitutes for Guilty Pleasure Foods

Adhering to a strict diet is tough, and many people do not realize how difficult it is to stay the course until they have already committed to it. The benefits of a healthy diet are well documented, but there are always cravings that pop up. By making health-conscious substitutes, it is still possible to enjoy your guilty pleasure foods without neglecting your diet.

Black Beans for Flour in Baking

Most people could benefit from consuming less flour in their diets. If you have any type of gluten insensitivity or are following the Paleo diet like myself, then flour is not an option in your diet. Luckily, black beans make a great flour substitute for baking. Swap out a cup of all-purpose flour for a cup of washed and pureed black beans the next time you are craving brownies. Aside from eliminating the flower, you also add extra grams of protein to the mix.

Spaghetti Squash for Noodles in Pasta

There are plenty of pasta substitutes on shelves in the grocery store, but the best one I’ve found so far is a baked spaghetti squash. Cut the squash in half and spread a layer of oil on the open halves along with some salt and pepper for taste. Lay them open-half up in a baking pan with some water and cover the pan with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until the inside of the squash is easily removed with a fork.

Coconut Oil for Coffee Creamer

Most coffee creamers are packed with sugar and dairy, both of which can be detrimental to your health. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your coffee in the morning and blend it to get a smooth, velvety consistency. Research has also shown that MCTs in the coconut oil help provide longer lasting energy that creamer cannot match.

Avocado for Butter

Someone somewhere had the idea to swap a 1:1 ratio of avocado for butter in baking, and that person should receive a medal. While butter is not awful, it cannot compare to the nutritional benefits of an avocado. Next time you are craving chocolate chip cookies, try swapping out the butter for avocado, and I bet you won’t even taste the difference.

Sticking to a nutritional plan should not make you miserable, and you should be enjoying the foods you are eating. By making these healthy substitutions, you can stay the course and enjoy every meal.

The Health Benefits of Bone Broth

Mark Dziuban - Bone Broth

Bone broth has been a widespread remedy for sickness for years, but before it was a remedy, it was a staple of our ancestors’ diets. Since no part of the animal could be wasted, our ancestors would boil down anything that could not be directly consumed (bones, ligaments, etc.) into a broth that was much easier to digest. Research is now showing that bone broth has multiple health benefits, and it could make its way back into our diets as more than just a cold remedy.

Joint Health

The natural aging process of humans results in wear and tear on our joints. This wear and tear is more evident in athletes as they often put more stress on their joints. This wear and tear causes cartilage to break down and degrade. Bone broth is quite possibly the best resource of natural collagen in the world. The simmering of bone broth causes the collagen from the bone to bind to the broth and become easily absorbed into the body where it can repair and restore damaged collagen. Bone broth also contains high concentrations of gelatin, which is the body’s natural lubricant allowing bones to glide and pivot freely without friction. Researchers at Penn State University ran a 24-week study on athletes who consumed bone broth regularly, and the majority of those athletes saw significant improvements in bone and joint comfort resulting in greater athletic performance.

Gut Health

The same gelatin that helps lubricate your joints has also been found to be beneficial to gut health while having a positive effect on wheat and dairy food allergies. These allergies are usually associated with intestinal inflammation that causes the symptoms associated with allergies like Celiacs Disease and Lactose Intolerance. The gelatin combats these allergies by restoring the gut lining, helping with the growth of probiotics, and most importantly regulating and supporting healthy inflammation levels.

Skin Health

Collagen is the main building block of the compounds that are responsible for a youthful, radiant skin. Studies have shown that the presence of high quality collagen, like that found in bone broth, reduces the sign of wrinkles, decreases swelling, and maintains the elasticity of skin. When women between 35 and 55 years old supplemented with 2.5-5 grams of collagen, they found an increase in elasticity and moisture along with a decrease in transepidermal water loss and skin roughness.

Immune Health

Bone broth has been found to be the best natural remedy for Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut is caused by undigested food particles seeping through tiny openings in the weakest parts of the intestinal lining. The particles make their way from the intestines into the bloodstream causing the immune system to overreact in two ways: inflammation and the release of large amounts of antibodies into the bloodstream. These antibodies end up attacking healthy tissue, which in turn wreaks havoc on the immune system. The collagen, gelatin, and amino acids in bone broth strengthen the intestinal lining, which can ultimately cure Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Along with the above mentioned benefits, bone broth also contains many key micronutrients giving it the title “nature’s multivitamin.” Add bone broth to your diet once a week to capitalize on all of these great health benefits.