March 28, 2017
If you think you’re avoiding sugar by skipping dessert but are eating preservative-packed cereals for breakfast, you need to take a step back. Even cereals that appear healthier may have more sugar and calories than you’d think. Sugary cereal is highly processed with many additives; starting the day with it will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.
The Substitute: A DIY breakfast! A great recipe with purely whole foods is 1 cup of oatmeal topped with your favorite fruits, walnuts, cut up dates and served with almond milk. It’s sweet, satisfying and won’t turn your tongue rainbow.
Diacetyl is a volatile chemical found in the butter flavoring of microwave popcorn. It’s a natural compound in foods like cheese, milk and coffee. It’s safe when swallowed but not inhaled.
Popcorn factory workers exposed to the vapors from heated butter flavoring often develop “popcorn lung,” a lung disease that causes irreversible scarring of the lungs’ tiny air sacs. Many harmful chemicals, including diacetyl, aren’t disclosed in popcorn ingredients because the exact makeup of popcorn’s flavorings is considered a trade secret. Instead, you will find something like “natural and artificial flavors” describing the hodgepodge of unlisted ingredients.
The Substitute: Make your own stovetop popcorn with coconut oil, and top it with Earth Balance or real butter, a pinch of salt and other seasonings like curry, garlic powder or even brewer’s yeast.
The only things that should be immortal are jellyfish and vampires — not noodles. However, instant noodles are created to have an eternal shelf life, meaning they are highly processed. They are high in fat, calories and sodium, with minuscule nutritional value. For a graphic account of what happens when you digest instant noodles, watch this disturbing video of someone’s stomach putting in 32 hours of work to break them down.
The Substitute: Shirataki noodles are an incredible option to replace highly processed and/or highly caloric noodles. They come from the konjac yam, which is the source of glucomannan – a water-soluble dietary fiber that makes you feel full with less food. These noodles have zero calories and are vegan and gluten-free. They come very long, so you’ll want to snip them with kitchen shears before sautéing. After snipping, you can add them to broth, a stir-fry or any dish that requires noodles. Just be sure to cook them for no longer than 2-3 minutes because they will become chewy if overcooked.
Organic foods may seem like a fad, but nonorganic foods can pose a legitimate health threat. This especially applies to foods with an unprotected skin, like strawberries. Even if you wash the skin, pesticides will linger after their dystopic application. Pesticides are stored in your colon, where they can slowly poison the body and are linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, ADHD and birth defects.
The Substitute: Eat organic strawberries! If you’re on a budget, make fruits with exposed skins the priority. Foods with outer coverings, like bananas, are better protected from pesticides.