A lot of people ask me how I eat the way I do. “How do you give up chocolate? Potato chips? Ice cream?” The answer is simple. I don’t. I love food too much to give any of it up! At the same time, however, I have learned too much about refined sugars and artificial flavoring to put any of it in my system. Instead, I find whole-food alternatives that don’t add tons of excess sugar, hydrogenated oils, or things that I can’t pronounce. While I still need to exercise moderation when eating these replacements, I never feel guilty while eating them because they’re made of whole, digestible, ingredients that have at least some benefits. Here are some of my favorite craving busters.
Chocolate, believe it or not, is actually good for you. It has tons of antioxidants that promote heart health and can improve your mood. These benefits however, are minimal compared to the effects of the excess dairy, sugar, and wheat flour found in processed chocolates such as Kit-Kats. Instead, I opt for 80% dark chocolate that is free of dairy and has minimal sugar. Or better yet, I buy raw organic cacao powder; this is the same thing as cocoa powder but raw so that the chocolate retains all of its nutrients. You can blend it with liquid stevia and coconut oil to make a delicious chocolate syrup to put on fruit or put it in hot almond milk with stevia to make hot chocolate. So much more satisfying than mass-produced chocolate…
Non-Dairy Ice Cream
There are tons of way to eat ice cream without reaching for the pint of Ben & Jerry’s. First, try a frozen banana. You can eat it alone or you can roll it in dark cacao nibs to make a Hagen-Daz like treat. Or you can put it in a food processor with almond milk to make homemade frozen yogurt. If the frozen banana isn’t doing it for you though, and you really need to eat something out of a pint, try So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream. It is sweetened with Agave, which is not the best alternative, but it’s better than what they put in most ice creams!
Oooohhh this is my weakness. I love French fries. What I don’t love is the disgusting feeling my tummy gets after eating them from a diner. Instead, I make sweet potato fries at home. Sweet potatoes are much better for you than regular potatoes; they’re high in Vitamins A and B and have tons of serotonin, which helps boost your mood. Just sprinkle some olive oil, and salt on sliced sweet potatoes and bake (not fry) for half hour. Eat your heart out McDonald’s .
There are so many alternatives to the gluten, simple-carb type of pastas. For Italian Pasta dishes, I recommend brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta. Jovial brown rice pasta is definitely one of my favorites. For Asian noodle dishes, I recommend soba noodles, which are made from a gluten-free grain called buckwheat. Yum!
Sometimes you don’t have time to make what you crave, but you want it badly! Don’t go for the junk! If you want a candy bar, grab a Larabar—made of dates, nuts and dried fruit. If you want potato chips, grab the plain flavored pop chips (not the other flavors, which have tons of artificial ingredients). If you want coffee, check out some of the swaps I used when giving it up. My rule of thumb is if you have to eat something that you’re not making yourself, make sure you can pronounce everything on the label.
There is a replacement out there for everything you could ever crave–you just have to look for it. If I find something that I really have a particularized craving for, I look online for a better version. The blog Chocolate Covered Katie has a vegan dessert option for every sweet you can think of, with several gluten-free and raw options. Celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder and Food Babe have some awesome swap recipes as well. With all the great, whole food options, do you really want to buy that yucky bag of chips?