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FOOD JOURNEY PART 4: FOOD SUBSTITUTIONS

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*Click here to start reading from the beginning of my food journey.

“Should I make a creamy four cheese pasta or a chicken pot pie for dinner?”

I was now out in the working world and a mini Martha Stewart in the kitchen. I finally learned how to boil an egg, among other things, and cook up whatever my palate desired.

The only tiny problem was that I loved to cook with cheese, heavy cream and deep fry almost everything. Vegetables had made their way back into my life but were never the main focus of any meal that I cooked.

And then I looked in the mirror.

My weight has never been an issue for me since it has always been pretty stable. I was comfortable in my own skin and lucky enough to have a fast working metabolism.  However, as I was moving through my 20’s, I realized that all the late night pizzas, cooking with creams and cheese, and having chips and cookies for dessert were finally catching up to me.

I was now slowly gaining weight and feeling more sluggish day to day.

I had finally learned how to cook but I still wasn’t eating like a healthy human.

So what did I do?

Healthy Advice

I followed some advice my co-worker Norman gave me about his outlook on food. Every day he would start off the morning with a mix of raw vegetables, followed by a delicious looking salad with lean proteins, and wrap up the afternoon with nuts, seeds, and fruits.

“Are you secretly a rabbit?” I thought to myself one day as he was munched away on a carrot and then devoured a green pepper whole like it was an apple.

Norman told me that it is all about putting food in your body that helps fuel your body. Why eat something if there’s was no nutritional gain? It would really just be considered empty calories and not doing anything for your body.

“Huh. So these Cheetos really are just a moment on the lips, forever on the hips?”  as quoted by Christina Applegate when she appeared on Friends.

He also introduced me to the idea of tweaking recipes simply by changing the ingredients around for healthier food substitutions. 

I started to adopt this mindset into my own cooking habits and my palate started to accept these changes.  

Healthy Food Substitutions

Heavy cream was substituted for plain yogurt.

Baking cookies with refined flour were exchanged for powdered oats.

Store bought dressing was thrown out for lemon and olive oil.

In the beginning, everything was done in moderation. Swapping a few items here and there made a difference in my weight and I felt like I had more overall energy.

Most of all, I learned how to eat a salad and enjoy it, thinking about all the nutrients that were delivered to my body.

“Mom I made a new friend today!

Her name is Salad.”

This would have been a good place to settle in as I had finally developed healthy and balanced eating habits.

However, as I started thinking more and more about “if it’s not doing anything for my body, it’s harming it” things started to get a bit more tricky.

I’ll explain a bit more in Part 5 of the series.

*Names have been changed to respect the privacy of individuals

Comment below if you’ve ever had someone help you change your mind about food!

 

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