Real Food Alternatives for Health and Enjoyment

When most people think of eating healthier, they think of all the things they need to give up. Salt, sweets, and fried foods have all been given bad raps, but, if you're willing to try a few new things, you may not have to shun all of your favorites! Here's a list of real food alternatives to the processed impostors we're used to, as well as a few items, such as probiotics and broth, that will help heal your gut so that you more readily tolerate everything else.

1. Switch from regular, highly processed table salt to a healthier alternative such as Real Salt. I recommend their Free Clay Value Pack, if you have any interest in making your own toothpaste.

2. Add homemade probiotics into your diet! Kombucha, yogurt, water kefir, milk kefir, and sauerkraut are just a few examples of probiotic-rich foods that can be made cheaply. Did you know homemade probiotic food is much more potent than most expensive probiotic pills and powders? I currently have two batches of kombucha going at all times, as well as this awesome no-appliances-needed yogurt, and, of course, sauerkraut. We all enjoy drinking the kombucha straight. The yogurt goes into smoothies, is used in place of sour cream, and is used in dressings. The sauerkraut is eaten with most meals (the boys drink a tablespoon of the broth instead). This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fermented foods. The possibilities are just about endless.

3. Use alternative sugars as often as possible. Raw, local honey. Real maple syrup. Sucanat. Palm sugar. Mashed, ripe bananas. Applesauce. In addition, I've often found that the amount of sugar can be reduced (sometimes greatly) and still produce a great product.

4.  Make and use ghee for baking and cooking. The health benefits are wonderful and the taste is amazing!

5. Incorporate homemade meat broths into your cooking. Make and freeze to use for soups, chilis, and casseroles. You can up the nutrition and flavor content of so many dishes with this one step!

6. Substitute coconut oil in place of olive oil in high-heat cooking. Coconut oil is good for so many things that I can't even begin to list them here. It's wonderful for high-heat cooking and is a healthy replacement for vegetable oils in baking. Costco is a great place to get inexpensive coconut oil!

When our family decided to start eating better we were afraid we were doomed to a life of "rabbit food"; we've since found that we can still enjoy amazing foods and, paradoxically, we find that we consume things like fried foods and salt without a second thought while most people consider these things a guilty pleasure. Some changes have taken a bit of getting used to, I won't lie, but it's been well worth it!


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