It has been a few years now since I began embarking on my plant-based foods journey. I say plant based as on the odd occasion I still indulge in a steak or sausage and personally have absolutely nothing against those who choose a more carnivorous diet. However, 97% of the time my meal is entirely plant-based and additive free. Suffice to say, over the years I have discovered many surprising and healthy plant-based alternatives to my previous meat and processed foods diet. The following article contains my five favourite and most frequent plant-based food swaps.
1) Extra-virgin Olive Oil Instead of Butter
Bread, especially toasted bread has always been a big part of my diet. In saying this, I avoid white bread (which is full of mostly empty calories) and opt for seedy whole grain alternatives. In the past real butter (not that margarine plastic stuff) was almost always a partner. After changing my diet, I began swapping out butter for extra virgin olive oil. To be completely honest it did take a few days to adjust, its certainly not as creamy and doesn’t have that same buttery flavour. However, olive oil is a very clean source of fats, is much lighter on your body and does not clog arteries. It has been years now since I have made this swap and I can honestly say I now prefer the taste and would choose EV olive oil over butter any day of the week!
2) Real, Raw & Organic Fruit Juice
There was once a time when I would frequently buy your everyday conventional fruit juice, you know that stuff you buy from the supermarket. This was before I knew that it is just refined sugar, additives, and preservatives in disguise. Even the ‘natural’ stuff has been pasteurised – so really it isn’t all that ‘natural’. Now days I drink only raw, real, and organic fruit and vegetable juices, juices that have not been pasteurised and contain only natural ingredients. These juices are much richer in living nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals. Plus, they just taste better!
3) Skip the ‘Cereal’ and go for ‘Granola’
Most well-known cereal brands contain highly processed ingredients packed full of refined sugars, saturated fats, and preservatives – check your labels! There is normally a reason why these brands are cheap, you truly do ‘pay for what you get’. Now days I am far less concerned about the price and more so concerned about the impact on my health. I have found granola to be a fantastic alternative to these ‘conventional’ cereal brands. Granola is packed full of nutritious nuts and fruits that give you long lasting energy for the day ahead, plus its quick and convenient! Personally, I add coconut yoghurt and some organic fruit for a sweet and creamy twist!
*P.s - always check the ingredients list, look for whole grains and seeds, avoid any weird numbers and preservatives.
4) Leafy Greens Instead of Burger Buns
Many burger buns sold at supermarkets and even restaurants are nothing more than refined carbohydrates and sugar, simply empty, useless, calories. If possible, always opt for whole grain seedy buns, better yet swap them for leafy greens like lettuce. These vegetables hold together very well, keeping your burger wrapped neat and tight while providing a nutritious crunchy bite. Most restaurants allow you to swap your buns for leafy greens, just ask!
5) Skip the White Sugar Hold the Honey!
Whether you love baking, deserts or a sweet tea or coffee, white sugar normally makes an appearance on the ingredient list. Now we are by no means anti-sugar, in fact sugar is a healthy part of a well-balanced diet and has already received its fair share of uneducated criticism, however, white processed sugar is not the greatest option. A much better alternative is organic, unrefined brown sugar or natural honey! Both options contain far more nutrients. Honey is known for its therapeutic benefits, particularly in fighting bodily inflammation and diseases. So next time a recipe calls for white sugar, swap it out for unrefined brown sugar or honey.