Fat vs. Sugar. Which is the True Enemy?

Today let’s talk Fat vs. Sugar.


I was a little girl when I began to hear people say things like…

  • “Low fat is the way to go. We should only eat #?# fat grams per day.” (I can’t remember the exact number. I just remember faithfully counting my fat grams daily as a teen.)
  • “A bacon cheeseburger? That’s a heart attack on a plate.”
  • “Butter?! Butter is terrible for you! We only eat margarine.”
  • “No beef. Just chicken. White meat. Skinless.”

I remember vividly when my mom started following a low-fat diet. I joined her because I was a teenage girl who most certainly didn’t want to get fat by eating fat. I remember hating my fat free turkey breast on low fat bread with fat free mayonnaise. But I ate those sandwiches faithfully for lunches because I was convinced that was the “healthy” way to go.

Oh my gag-ness. I can still imagine the taste of fat free mayo and it makes me turn green. What was in that stuff?

It’s funny (not funny) to me that I actually thought I needed to sacrifice good tasting food in order to be healthy. What a sad mis-conception.

I remember snacking on baked, fat free chips (aka salted cardboard).
I didn’t even like them, but seeing as I was into eating healthy…I made the sacrifice.

That was over three decades ago. I’d like to think we are making progress toward getting away from these untruths about what is actually healthy or unhealthy about our food.

I’m grateful to see that at least the coconut oil trend has caught on. But I still frequently hear people talk about fat as if it is the enemy. I’m determined to educate people about this.

A New Generation of Fat Eaters? Maybe?

Justus, my 16-year old, doesn’t get why people get freaked out about fat. He’s been eating the “real food” way since he was 6 – so fat isn’t scary to him. He knows what it means to eat food our bodies recognize, and he definitely knows that the real food at our house tastes great (atta boy). Recently he was talking about a conversation with friends. He had been telling them about his “mom’s homemade french fries” and they were like, “What? You eat french fries? At your house? I thought you only ate healthy food!” And he was like, “Ummm. Yeahhh???”

Friends of Asa, our oldest son, watched as he salted his food liberally in the college cafeteria. We chuckled when we heard his friends’ conclusion that, “He’s probably doing that because he’s used to eating bland, healthy food at his house.” Hahahaha! Please pass the sea salt and slather on the butter and watch me eat the crispy, flavorful skin of a chicken. Real food tastes so amazing I don’t even know where to begin.

I suppose I could begin by comparing it to that Fat-Free Mayo. Gag me.

Well anyway.

So not everyone is there yet. There is still a lot of confusion as to what actually is good and healthy. Since we have believed (and taught our children) for several decades that fat is bad, I believe it will take a few more decades to undo the damage and re-educate people about whole foods and nourishment.

coconut_oil

Good Fat is Good

I’ve done extensive research on the subject of fat. I didn’t jump aboard the “fat is good” train just because I heard someone say it once or because I “read an article somewhere.” After all, I was riding the “fat is bad” train for many years, so getting on a different train was a little bit hard for me. Real butter? Are you sure I should it eat?? Beef? I don’t know. Bacon? Well now you’re pushing it. I really don’t want to get fat. I’m not sure I can eat this stuff.

So I read and I researched and I found sources and I asked questions. (Some of my favorite sources include Weston Price Foundation and Dr. Mercola. Note that this article I found in my research quotes 73 different sources. These people are thorough!)

I looked in depth into the history of food trends and the health problems that came with them. The results of my research tell a story that is almost completely upside-down compared to what I had heard about fat. (Ironically, I’d never researched the low-fat thing when I started eating a low-fat diet. I just went with what I heard and stuck with it for years. Not smart.)

The truth is that the instances of heart disease and obesity did not rise until after the low-fat trend began. Alternatively, as people started cutting the fat, many started consuming much larger quantities of sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Fast food replaced home-cooked meals. Fruits and vegetables took a back seat (or didn’t even get a seat at all). Donuts and poptarts and sugary cereal became a morning standard. White bread and chips filled the lunch boxes.

Ultimately, we forgot to give our bodies nourishment.

Occurrences of destructive health conditions soared. We blamed the fat.

jelly-beans_fyb6Xwtu

I actually thought jelly beans were healthy because they were fat free.
Avocados, though. I stayed away from those high-fat things. What???
Let us all rejoice that I actually started reading the facts and using logic. 

So fat vs. sugar?

Refined sugar doesn’t nourish. It’s fun and it’s tasty but what does it offer the body so that it will thrive? On the contrary, when we eat it, our bodies have to work very hard to find something to do with it. When it finds little to no useful nutrients, it calls in the reserves, depleting us and killing our immune system. Then often, whatever can’t be used gets tucked away in storage (aka, it turns to fat).

Some would tell you to never eat refined sugar. I say: be informed and use wisdom. Treats are fun. But keep ’em treats. ;)

butter

Shall we go crazy with the fat then?

Our bodies are smart. If we listen, they tell us what we need, what to eat, and when to stop. Your body doesn’t want you to eat an entire stick of butter in one sitting just because it’s good for you. But your body probably won’t mind if you eat a nice thick pat of it on your veggies knowing that it adds great nutrients and amazing flavor.

It’s important to remember that we need to eat food in balance. I don’t think we need to go overboard – keeping track of what we eat when and how much and what time and with what. When I say “eat food in balance” I mean that when we eat a variety of wholesome foods, we will naturally be eating the right blend of nutrients and getting the right amount of naturally occurring fats, sugars, proteins, vitamins, etc.

All food comes perfectly packaged with a lovely blend of nutrients. Some food is naturally fat free and high in natural sugar. (Have you met my friend the strawberry?) Some food is naturally high in fat and tastes amazing with a strawberry. (Cream, meet Strawberry. Be my BFF.)

We eat a lot of fat in our house, but it’s all balanced with many other high-nutrient foods that work together to nourish.

Fats to Avoid

There are certainly fats I stay far away from. Some fats are manufactured and our bodies cannot use them for nourishment. When considering which fats to focus on and which to avoid – remember that we’re going for nourishment, helping our bodies thrive on food that offers cells something to work with, not fight against.

This article on fats says it all much better than I can, so do go read it. In summary:

  • Hydrogenated Oils cannot be digested and utilized in our bodies.
  • Soybean oil, canola oil, and most vegetable oils aren’t great for many reasons. What most resonates with me is that they go rancid very, very quickly and can turn into trans fats when heated.
  • Margarine didn’t even make this list of fats, so I’m going to take that to mean it doesn’t count as food, the end.

Fats that Nourish

Obviously, not every person can tolerate every food or fat. But these are the fats that should be considered for nourishment. (Again, details here.)

  • Coconut Oil
  • Real Butter
  • Palm Oil
  • Olive Oil (at room temp)
  • Animal Fat from Meat, Eggs, and Dairy
  • Natural occurring fat in nuts, avocados, and seeds

Why We Need Good Fats

Fats carry vitamins and minerals to our cells. Fats give us energy. Fats help us fight depression. Fats help us concentrate. Fats satisfy and keep us from excessive hunger. Fats help us maintain a healthy weight. Who knew? Fat doesn’t make you fat.

Always Consider: What Nourishes?

To feel your best, focus on eating food that nourishes. Our bodies need food that feeds the cells with what they can absorb and utilize.

Obviously, there is so much more that goes with optimal health (exercise, hydrating, so much more). But when it comes to food choices – we must choose real food that nourishes.

Weigh In

I’d love to hear what you learned about fat while you were growing up. How has that effected the way you eat now? What is your current status in the fat vs. sugar debate?

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Are you in? Join many others who are making simple, healthy changes this month to take steps toward better health. Learn more here. (There’s a $100 prize involved!)

Ready to join? It’s free and refreshing to know we’ll be working on this as a team. Sign up here!

The Real Food Ingredient I’ve Mostly Stopped Buying

It was one of the first real food ingredients I wrote about when I started this blog. It made the top of the list on this post. I recommended it highly and always stocked up to keep it on hand. This goes to show that we can never stop learning and never stop changing what works best for our families.

The Real Food Ingredient I've Mostly Stopped Buying

Is it butter? Did I stop buying butter?

Girl, are you crazy? I did not stop buying butter.

But I have realized that I’m buying less and less sucanat.

Why am I buying less sucanat?

There are several reasons. Allow me to share:

1. Our grocery bill is a killer. Some things had to go.

As the boys have gotten older – our grocery bill has more than doubled with their teenage appetites. I’ve found that I had to make some compromises on what I consider to be “less important” items in order to make sure we’re still eating plenty of nourishing foods. It doesn’t make sense to me for hold out on the fruits and vegetables so that we can afford to buy sucanat for our brownies.

2. Sucanat is better for us, but it is still sugar.

While sucanat does have some nutritional value, our bodies still recognize it for exactly what it is: sugar.

There is a clear difference in sucanat and regular white sugar. I love that sucanat has many nutrients still intact – so when we eat sucanat, our bodies can utilize its nutrients. Great. But I’m not relying on sucanat as a main source of nourishment. Our primary sources of nourishment come from our meals, not our desserts. If we don’t eat sucanat, our bodies won’t be deprived of important vitamins and minerals. We’re getting those from other food sources.

Any sugar – even the natural sugars like sucanat, honey, and maple syrup – can effect our bodies negatively even if they do offer some nutrients here and there. Thus, making sucanat less of a priority only makes sense for our family right now.

3. We’re eating less sugar overall.

Well, at least I am. And Matt is. The kids…well. They still like their sweets and you can read more of my thoughts on this matter here.

Overall, I’m baking fewer sweet treats to have on hand. Also, I’ve learned to cut down the sugar in the treats I do make. In summary, we go through less sucanat because I’m not stirring two cups of it into a batch of brownies every other day. Good grief, I used to. I was such a sugaraholic!!

I love only using 1/2 cup of sugar in a recipe that originally called for 2 cups – and turning out a product that still tastes amazing. Why, Betty Crocker? Why??

Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake

What I Am Using Instead of Sucanat

More and more, I’m learning to use Stevia to sweeten our treats. It has taken some trial and error to find the correct amount to use so that our smoothies, frostings, and custards will be sweet enough but not bitter. We’ve gotten the hang of it now. I love it!

I’ve tried my hand at making Homemade Stevia Extract, but I’m not confident enough in my efforts to share the recipe with you yet. I stick with NuNaturals brand, which I have found to be the best tasting with ingredients I trust.

For baked goods, I frequently use regular ol’ brown sugar from the store. It saves us money, and that is important right now.

I also still use real maple syrup and our wonderful local raw honey. But I’ve cut back on the quantity of those too now that I’ve learned that I can still turn out delicious treats with a lesser amount of sweetener!

sucanat

I Haven’t Stopped Buying Sucanat Completely

I really like the taste of sucanat in certain items. I haven’t stopped buying it altogether. I’ve just stopped making it a grocery priority. I watch for online sales on sucanat at Olive Nation or Amazon and I grab it if the price is right. But I’ve definitely stopped buying 25 pound bags every few months. Whoa, Nellie. The grocery budget says “no way” right now.

So how about you?

Are you a fan of sucanat? Have you found a good source to keep the cost down? Have you found that you compromise on certain items in order to stay within your real food grocery budget?

How to Adapt a Recipe to Make it Healthier

How to Adapt a Recipe to Make it Healthier

I’m often asked how much Sucanat to substitute for white sugar, or if whole wheat flour can be substituted one for one with white flour. I decided to share a little bit about how I adapt “regular recipes” to make them healthier! Please know that when I say “healthier”…I’m not talking low fat. To me, healthier means real, whole food.  Click on the following links so read about how I feed my family and why I love real, whole foods!! Be sure to also check out this entire series on Simple Steps Toward Healthy Eating.

Fats


  • If a recipe calls for vegetable or canola oil I switch it out one for one with melted coconut oil or melted palm shortening. It’s a little bit tough to measure out solid coconut oil to an exact needed amount. I just kind of “eyeball it”. If a recipe calls for 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, I make my best guess at how much 1/4 cup of coconut oil (or palm shortening) is while I’m scooping it out…then I melt it down in a small saucepan on the stove. If you are new to cooking/baking…you may prefer to melt it, then pour it into a measuring cup to be sure you  have the correct amount.
  • If a recipe calls for margarine (I gag and then) I switch it out one for one with real butter. This means that if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup margarine, I use 1/2 cup of butter.
  • Usually butter and coconut oil can be used interchangeably. For instance, when I make muffins…sometimes I use coconut oil and sometimes I use butter. It depends on what I have on hand and what sounds good at the moment (coconuty goodness, or rich buttery flavor). If you are unable to eat dairy, you can substititute coconut oil for butter in most recipes.
  • I almost always use melted palm shortening to fry foods (like french fries, onion rings, homemade corn dogs, etc.).  Palm shortening does NOT create the same freaky effects from frying that vegetable or canola oils create. This means that foods fried in palm shortening (or coconut oil) are NOT unhealthy!
  • I use olive oil if a recipe calls for just a few teaspoons or Tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • You can read more about the fats I prefer and why I prefer them here!!

Sugars


  • Sucanat (or Rapadura, which is the same thing…just under a different name) can be substituted one for one with white or brown sugar. This means that if a recipe calls for one cup of white sugar…you can instead use one cup of Sucanat. However, I generally cut the Sucanat down just a hair because the flavor is stronger…and because it is more expensive…and because wow…do we really need that much sugar? :)  Sucanat, by the way, is dehydrated cane sugar juice and the healthiest form of cane sugar I’ve found. You can read more about it  here.
  • Honey can be substituted for white or brown sugar, but I usually use 1/2 to 2/3 the amount the recipe calls for. This means that if a recipe calls for one cup of white or brown sugar, I only use 1/2 to 2/3 cup of honey. Honey has a rich flavor and is sweeter than sugar. I have not found that substituting honey causes much difference in the consistency of a recipe, even though honey is a liquid and sugar is not. If anything, I find that honey makes quick breads, muffins and cookies more moist…and that’s never a bad thing if you ask me!
  • Real Grade B Maple Syrup can be substituted for white or brown sugar, but I don’t often bake with it (ooh, except for Coconut Macaroons!). I use maple syrup for liquid treats like Chocolate Milk and Smoothies and Ice Cream. If a recipe calls for corn syrup, I use Grade B Maple Syrup instead, substituting it one for one.
  • You can read more about the sweeteners I prefer and why I prefer them here!!

Flours

To make things a little bit easier…I created a free printable “Healthy Recipe Substitutions” download. Click the following link, print it off and keep it in your kitchen as a handy reference!

Healthy Recipe Substitutions

How do you feel about adapting recipes? Are you good at making substitutions…or do you prefer to follow a recipe exactly?

This post was originally published March 9, 2011.

Breaking Free of Sugar Addiction — Should We Be Eating Stevia?

For every positive piece of information we can find about a product, we can typically find a negative piece of information to go along with it:  Butter is bad. Butter is good. We all need to drink milk. We should all stay away from dairy products. Eat only organics. Organics don’t matter. Eat brown rice. Brown rice may be a source of toxic arsenic.

Pardon me while I go bang my head against the wall. (Although I read once that doing so may not be good for my health.)

Because there is so much conflicting information out there, my conviction is to stick with eating a balanced variety of food that is food. Food that has been around forever. Food that provides needed nutrients to keep me healthy and strong. Meat, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, whole dairy, eggs, nuts, beans…my body needs them all.

Breaking Free of Sugar Addiction

But then there’s sugar.

Should we be eating sugar? And if so, in what form? Artificial sweeteners are not real – which is, in fact, the reason they are called artificial – so we should not be putting them into our bodies. White sugar is completely empty. High fructose corn syrup is highly processed and toxic. So instead, shouldn’t we stick with sugar in its whole form: honey, real maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar (sucanat)?

Yes, if you’re going to eat sugar, that’s my recommendation. Those are real. Our bodies recognize them and utilize them. But here’s the bigger “thing,” along with my confession to you:

Sugar – in any form – whether it is all natural, whole, or straight out of a bee hive – is still sugar.  Our bodies handle these better than processed white sugar and high fructose corn syrup, for sure. But don’t think that since you’re eating cake made from sucanat you can go ahead and eat half the cake. You’ll still get sugar overload.

I know this. I’ve lived this.

I’ve been addicted to sugar my whole life. I hate to think how much sugar I’ve put into my body. When people tell me, sheepishly, how much they love sugar and have a hard time giving it up, I so totally get it. I’ve been right there with you, loving sugar, eating too much sugar, sneaking extra bites of sugar-filled goodies – all in the name of “I’m eating healthier treats so this can’t possibly be too terribly bad for me.”

My body has not been like, “Oh, thank goodness all this sugar you’re feeding me is in its natural form.”  No way. Instead, my body has been like, “Mmmm, sugar. Give me more. Sorry you feel crummy and catch colds frequently. Now about that sugar. Weren’t you going to feed me more? I’ll take it in chocolate form. Or butterscotch. Why are we even still having this conversation? Give me sugar!”

Let’s Learn Moderation

Our bodies do need sugar to function properly. Yay! Bring on the cheesecake.

Hmmm, well actually, our bodies don’t need that much sugar. Plus it prefers sugar from fruit, vegetables, and other carbs like potatoes and grains. Cheesecake? It’s an awesome and fun treat sometimes. Enjoy!!! But keep it a treat and keep it occasional. You’ll enjoy it so much more this way.

Do you struggle with eating sugar in moderation?  Oh how I know how you feel.  Don’t feel guilt. Don’t feel stupid. Don’t give up and eat a quart of ice cream. God knows what you need, what your struggles are, and what you desire. He’ll help you break free from this. Don’t make it a “thing.”  That will just make you worried and frustrated. Let God help you with this one. That’s the one and only way I know how to beat the addiction.

So What About Stevia?

Should We Be Eating Stevia

I’ve recently been experimenting with liquid stevia.  Stevia is an herb, which is naturally sweet. It is not a sugar, nor is it an artificial sweetener. It takes a teeny-tiny bit of stevia to provide just the right sweetness, compared to the amount of sugar/honey/maple syrup/sucanat it takes to provide sweetness.

Sounds great, right? Yep, and I’ve been excited about using it as a way to cut down on sugar.

But guess what? There’s controversy about stevia. (Surprise, surprise.)  Is it really good for you? Does eating it cause side effects?

I spent several hours recently doing more research on stevia. I went to some of my most trusted sources. I went to random sources I’ve never heard of. I did internet searches. I read article after article. My findings?

Most say that stevia is safe and healthy.  Some people are allergic to stevia. (Some people are allergic to cats.)  Highly refined stevia can cause digestive issues. (As does most anything that is highly refined.)  Stevia in its whole form has not been approved for consumption by the FDA. (Though they have approved pesticides, aspartame, and Captain Crunch as a part of this balanced breakfast.)

Then there are the forums I found that talk about stevia being used as birth control. These claims caused me to spend considerable time researching.  I only found a few articles on this topic, and while it seemed that the authors had done their research, none of them were from sources I’ve heard of. Based on what I read, I believe you would have to consume a LOT of stevia for it to effect your fertility.

My Conclusions About Stevia

I tend to stick with my trusted resources (Mercola, Fallon, Price) who tell me that stevia is an okay food when it is in its whole form. Much of the other information I found was in forums or not backed by research.

Some countries have been consuming stevia for centuries. Japan has been using it as a sweetener since the 1970’s. According to Price, “In all this time, there have never been any reports of toxicity or adverse reactions to its usage.”  I found that article to be very helpful, especially given how many years of research and study went into Price’s findings.

Stevia should not be eaten in excess, because that is not the purpose of stevia. Those who have been consuming stevia for years and years have not been gorging on it. They use it as it should be used – in very small amounts.

After all my hours of research, I’ve concluded that I will keep eating it occasionally. Stevia gives me a nice option as a sweetener when I want to avoid sugar. I encourage you to do your own research and seek your own conviction.  You can certainly take stevia or leave it.  It’s not like we’re talking about vegetables, which are not an optional food choice for optimum health. Stevia isn’t a health food that we all need in order to thrive, right? It’s simply a real food sweetening option.

Here is What I Really Want You To Hear Me Saying Today:

Desserts, treats, and sweets? Whether we’re adding table sugar, sucanat, honey, real maple syrup, or yep, even stevia – these should never be our main food focus. I think we get all wrapped up in figuring out how to sweeten our drinks and desserts in a healthy way, when the bottom line is that we should not be eating or drinking many sweets anyway.  I’ll continue to use a tiny bit of stevia in my Chocolate Whipped Cream. I’ll drizzle a few drops of real maple syrup on my Whole Wheat Waffles. I’ll add a touch of honey or sucanat to my homemade muffins. These are all real food, real good options as a part of my balanced, whole food diet.

But none of those foods are going to be my main food focus.  Desserts, no matter how I sweeten them, will remain a treat. Fruits, vegetables, meats, good fats, eggs, whole dairy, nuts, beans, and a few whole grains will continue to be my focus – in balance and for wholesome nourishment.

Balance, Balance, Balance

That’s the key word, right? Balance.  Try not to let all the contradictory information out there baffle our minds. If we do, we’ll all just feel like banging our heads against the wall. (Which is, if you recall, not a healthy option according to all the experts.)

Let’s continue to enjoy the gift of food variety, and focus on giving our bodies balanced nourishment. Sound like a plan?

Where are you in your journey to cut down on sugar? Have you tried and do you like stevia?

Eat Less Sugar

simplesteps

You know why I’m writing this post? Because I need to hear it.

While our family has made huge strides over the past few years in Our Healthy Eating Journey, my one major struggle remains:  I really like sweets.

Yes, I’ve given up all forms of soda and have switched to healthy beverages. Yes, I’ve switched from white sugar to sucanat, honey or real maple syrup. So in those ways, of course I’m eating much healthier. But still, while these are healthier sugars and are much better than processed sugar…they are STILL sugar.

Too much sugar (in any form) can suppress our immune systems, mess up our blood sugar and insulin levels, make us feel sluggish, cause depression. Sugar can cause heart issues. Sugar can make us gain weight. 

Sugar tastes really, really good.

And sugar is addicting.

I’m not really convinced that any one of the Steps Toward Healthy Eating is more important than another. I truly think that each little (or big) thing you can do to improve your health is a step in the right direction whether it’s eating more fruits and veggies or switching to whole grains But doesn’t it sort of make sense that if you make all kinds of healthy changes, but you’re still eating a lot of sugary foods…you’re kind of taking some steps backward health-wise?  Our bodies are busy trying to make good use of all the healthy foods we’re feeding it, and sugar sort of sets us back one sweet morsel at a time.

Am I saying that we need to give up sugar altogether? Good grief, I hope that’s not what I’m saying. 

No indeed, I just had a meeting with myself and I have decided that we do not all have to give up sugar entirely. In fact, while giving up sugar entirely would be good for us in some ways, it may cause us to have an “all or nothing” mentality as in…eat no sugar for several days or weeks, then finally cave in and eat a whole bag of chocolate covered sugar with sprinkles, and a side of ho-hos.

I think that if we can achieve a healthy balance when it comes to sugar, our bodies will thank us, and so will our sweet tooth.  

  • If you are in the habit of eating sweets during a certain time of the day, make a conscious effort to DO SOMETHING ELSE during that time period. Pray, read your Bible, call a friend, play a game with your kids, exercise, paint your nails…anything to distract you from your habit of sugary temptation. 
  • Eat fruit to satisfy sweet cravings. Fruit tastes so much better when your palate isn’t covered in sugar.
  • Instead of cookies and cakes, make sweet treats that are lower in sugar like muffins or a biscuit with a little honey drizzled inside.

Allow yourself some of your favorite treats every now and then. But you’ve gotta make those sugar calories worth it. Don’t settle for sour gummy goobers if you don’t even like them. Say NO to the sweets that you aren’t really big on and savor your favorites every once in a while.

So…what are your thoughts about eating less sugar? Is eating too much sugar a struggle for you? What tricks have you found to eat less and find a healthy sugar balance?

Be sure to read the other posts in this series: 
Switch from White to Brown; Eat Out Less; Invest Money in Good Food;
Healthy Beverages; Drink More Water;
The Decision to Eat a Healthy Diet; Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Switching “from White to Brown”

simplesteps

In last week’s podcast I mentioned that another great step to make in your journey toward healthy eating is to make the switch “from white to brown”.

And what, you ask, does it mean to switch “from white to brown”? In three major areas, I would suggest starting to move away from refined, highly processed, nutrient void ingredients…and instead choose unrefined, unprocessed, nutrient filled ingredients. These three major areas would be:  Rice, Sugar and Grain

Yeah, because guess what?! White flour, white sugar and white rice have pretty much NO nutritional value. When we eat them, they fill our bellies…and that’s about it. Our body really can’t do anything with them since the nutrients have been stripped out of them…which is why they are called “empty calories”. In fact, because our bodies crave nutrients in order to function properly, these “white ingredients” can also be “negative calories” – as in the nutrients stored as reserves in our bodies are then sucked out to help our body function, leaving our reserves depleted. And then what often happens with the white stuff? It turns to fat.  Well, no wonder. It’s bored and has nothing else to do.

In addition, once our bodies are depleted of nutrients, we are much more likely to get sick. Did I mention that eating these nutrient void ingredients can even cause depression? OUR BODIES NEED NUTRIENTS!!!

Now that I’ve made this suggestion…I am also going to reassure you that it really is okay to take one step at a time as you start replacing white ingredients with brown ingredients in your kitchen. This switch “from white to brown” takes a little effort. It may take a while to adjust your family’s taste buds. You also may find that it adds a little more expense. (Remember though that you are investing in REAL whole food – an investment in your health and the health of your family that is well worth the cost and effort!)

But I believe in the end, you will LOVE making this switch. 

Want to know a little secret? Brown ingredients actually have flavor!! It’s amazing what nutrients will do to food – it makes them taste good!! Go figure.  :)

Here are some tips to help you transition “from white to brown”:

  • Make the switch gradually. You can make a mixture of white rice and brown rice to help get your family used to it. You can do the same with white flour and whole wheat…white sugar and sucanat. Mix it up a bit…literally.
  • Read through the suggestions about the sugars I recommend here.  There are several different “healthy sugars” that make fantastic treats!
  • Try to find whole wheat flour made from hard (or soft) WHITE wheat. White wheat is a variety of grain that has the same nutrition as red wheat…but white wheat makes a lighter, fluffier flour that is not as hard to get accustomed to. We love hard white wheat at our house. And…I know I’m telling you to switch from white to brown and white wheat is white…but really…white wheat makes brown flour. Really it does. :)
  • Cook your brown rice in chicken broth to make it taste awesome – yum! (I’ll try to post a tutorial on how to easily cook brown rice sometime soon.)
  • Whole wheat pasta really is tasty! Our favorite whole wheat spaghetti is bionaturae. This brand works great for my Creamy Mac and Cheese recipe!

 I’d love for all of you to pipe in and share your tricks for making the switch from white to brown! What works for you and your family? What have been some of your biggest challenges in making the switch?