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5 Healthy Food Swaps

Avatar • Mar 19, 2012

By Fran of Heyfranhey.com

Last week we discussed how to promote healthy hair growth through our diets. You guys gave me awesome feedback on the “Green Smoothie” so I’ll make sure to keep whipping up different combinations every couple of weeks!

Blending fruits and veggies, on a daily basis, is a quick and easy way to keep up with your nutrient intake. In this article we’ll take our desire to eat healthy up a notch by discussing common, everyday foods and their healthier alternatives. So the next time you’re breaking out, having difficulty losing weight or frustrated with your hair’s chronic dryness and stunted growth, open your fridge and make sure you’re not negatively affecting your health with these processed, low nutrient foods!

Egg Whites instead of Whole Eggs

Egg whites make up two-thirds of an egg’s weight. This consists of essential proteins, vitamins and minerals. The yolk, on the other hand, contains massive amounts of cholesterol, fat and only half the protein provided by the egg whites. Yolks contain up to 55 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 2.7 grams of protein. Egg whites only contain 17 calories, 0.1 grams of fat and up to 5 grams of protein. You can buy cartons of egg whites in liquid or powder form at your local natural food stores. I usually grab mine at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. And believe it or not, they taste just as good!

Almond Milk instead of Cow’s Milk

There has been much controversy surrounding the processing of Cow’s milk. So much so that Harvard released a revised edition of our healthy eating “Food Pyramid” (we’ll be discussing that next week) that no longer includes Dairy. Scary! There have been many debates and documentaries with proof of high traces of antibiotics and growth hormones (pumped into the Cows) in our milk. Not to mention, the pasteurization process it goes through kills a lot of the beneficial nutrients.

Soy milk has been a popular natural alternative to dairy but controversy has been surrounding it as well, as of late. There has been a lot of talk of soybeans now being genetically modified in order to produce larger quantities in less time. While high in protein, up to 7 grams per serving, soy milk is also extremely high in calories with 80–120 calories per serving (Cow milk is 146 calories per serving).

Almond milk, on the other hand, is only 40 calories per serving and made from raw nuts and water; making it your safest and healthiest choice as a dairy alternative. It doesn’t compare as far as protein, containing only 1 gram per serving (to cow milks 8 grams) but it makes up for it by providing a wider range of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to properly function. If you have a nut allergy, another alternative to consider is goat’s milk.

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About Fran

I'm a natural hair, nutrition and fitness blogger from New York City. Battling a kidney related illness that doctors couldn't seem to fix, I became obsessed with alternative medicine. After months of researching and finally curing myself, it became quite evident that healthy resources in our urban communities were lacking. I began my health & wellness tumblr in Dec of 2010 as somewhat of a journal, hoping to shed some light on my journey to health as well as our disconnection with healthy living. It's been my goal to create a safe haven where our wellness concerns could be shared and hopefully cured, as naturally as possible.

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Tami
Tami
8 years ago

I eat whole eggs every day and have perfect cholesterol. The real issue is what people are eating with their eggs.

Loo
Loo
8 years ago
Reply to  Tami

Agree. Especially if they are eating foods high in saturated fats (which impact blood cholesterol even more).

Sue
Sue
8 years ago
Reply to  Tami

When it comes to eggs, this article is very misleading!! The yolk in eggs contains lutein, an essential nutrient that prevents age related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein is better absorbed from eggs than it is from spinach or even lutein supplements. Eggs are fine as nature created them, I prefer them to something in a carton on a supermarket shelf!!

betty
betty
8 years ago
Reply to  Fran

I think it all comes down to how often you have eggs. I am a huge fan of my whole eggs, but that doesn’t mean that it’s what I eat EVERY morning at breakfast. I’ll have cereal one day, oats another, eggs another…etc. I think that, with both our hair as well as our bodies on the whole, we need to take a more varied approach. Everything in moderating. A little bit of everything for a balanced way of life. Even sugar. Try not having sugar in youor tea sometimes. Honey is a nice substitute too, but just have some plain… Read more »

DH
DH
7 years ago
Reply to  betty

+2.

NCS
NCS
8 years ago
Reply to  Tami

I’m so glad to see that people are finally understanding that total cholesterol not only does not determine health but is also not greatly affected by dietary fats. Total cholesterol does not predict any health outcomes other than low cholesterol predicting early death. More important is your triglicerides/hdl ratio. Anyway, lots of folks have said a lot of great things about eggs and they are a wonderful food. I hope this fat-phobic line of thinking comes to an end soon.

NCS
NCS
8 years ago
Reply to  NCS

Oh gosh, now to the agave… If you have a problem with high-fructose corn syrup which is 55% fructose and 45% glucose, then you should know that agave is 90% fructose and 10% glucose. Fructose in concentrated form is a potent liver toxin.

Tami
Tami
8 years ago
Reply to  NCS

I agree with you. “But, but, honey is the greatest thing ever and I use 5 tablespoons of it in my coffee!” Sugar is still sugar. Even natural sugar in fruits has to be moderated. That raw, unfiltered honey they were talking about? It’s full of pollen and helps your allergies by raising your tolerance to pollen, kind of like a vaccine. Go to your local farm stand to purchase local pollen. All other honey is filtered to where nothing is left but sugar.

Oby Rocque
Oby Rocque
8 years ago

Cows milk and now soy bean… Usually you’ll need 3 finding to show a pattern but I can tell you I already see it. Soon Almon milk will be added to these inaccurate write off lists, because man will always find a way to make things bigger including an incoveniently small bean. The best thing to do is to eat organic. Farmers markets produce rich milk which is unpasturised, milk taken from grass fed cows who eat untreated foods. I think we need to stop fretting about what not to eat when there is a very simple alternative. Eat food that… Read more »

Monisola
Monisola
8 years ago
Reply to  Oby Rocque

THANK YOU! i totally agree, everything we eat will eventually be dangerous if we continue supporting the farmers and companies that abuse the natural order of nature and food. Buy Organic, then you don’t have to worry about all those hormones, chemical processes, etc

buy unsweetened organic light soy milk (only 70 calories per serving), you probably only pour 1/2 cup in your cereal and less than that in your coffee making you out at 35 calories with typical use…we need to empower ourselves to make better choices not make ourselves too paranoid to eat anything 🙂

BigSyd`
BigSyd`
8 years ago
Reply to  Monisola

That’s easy enough to say…but if you are a poor college student like myself eating organic all the time is too expensive.

Oby Rocque
Oby Rocque
8 years ago
Reply to  BigSyd`

Vey true, but eating some organic in your case is better than eating none at all. Be positive about it. In the end it’s your vitality that counts… Making such small changes whilst eating healthily will promote a good food attitude, in this life that is all you can really ask of yourself.

Lele
Lele
8 years ago
Reply to  Oby Rocque

I just can’t deal with cow’s milk. It makes my sinuses congested every time, and it just kind of makes my stomach turn to drink milk of an animal. Plus my kids and husband are lactose intolerant. So I buy almond milk and sometimes make my own. I’d hate to hear anything bad about almond milk, but just in case it does go the way of soy milk, I can always make my own, (which is actually not too hard).

Oby Rocque
Oby Rocque
8 years ago
Reply to  Lele

Yes, when you eat organic you stay away from harmful pesticides but there are another things which all foods are capable of giving people and that’s allergies. There’s a high percentage of Black and Asian people who are lactose intolerent and therefore dairy isn’t a good option. But if you are not intolerent, or you are but would like something rich and full of goodness without side effects (if you are then now and again is best advised) then organic is the only way.  Another good alternative to cows milk is rice milk. I’ve been drinking it since I was 9… Read more »

Rachel
Rachel
8 years ago
Reply to  Lele

How do you make your own almond milk ? I’d be very interested to try that at home!

Lele
Lele
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

Rachel, here’s a link: http://www.ohnuts.com/blog/2011/03/how_to_make_almond_milk_recipe_1.html

This is basically how I make mine. But there are other recipes, too.

betty
betty
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

You can also try it with other nuts.
http://thetolerantvegan.com/2011/07/vanilla-walnut-milk/

Rachel
Rachel
8 years ago
Reply to  Oby Rocque

That needed to be said !! Thanks for speaking the truth. Food is only dangerous to us if we play god with it and modify it. Nature is well made and if we don’t alter it, we can eat everything it gives us without fear it could make us ill.

betty
betty
8 years ago
Reply to  Oby Rocque

Agreed

Tami
Tami
8 years ago

Free range just means that they’re in a fenced area outside, with little room to roam. There’s nothing in place to regulate the usage of that term, so anyone can make that claim.

Aderonke
Aderonke
8 years ago

I just want to add that egg yokes are not as bad as they are touted to be. The egg yolk contains most of the vitamins such as Vitamin A, which is very important for skin health. The egg white is where all of the protein is found. As long as you are not eating more than one egg yolk a day, you will be fine eating the whole egg. I agree with Tami when she states the real issue is what people egg with their eggs and also people just eat too much cholesterol in general. Other than that… Read more »

Loo
Loo
8 years ago

Make sure you’re eating those egg whites cooked (for raw foodists out there). Egg whites contain avidin which binds to biotin and prevents it from being distributed properly. Thus, too many raw egg whites may lead to biotin deficiency. To avoid this, cook the egg (which denatures the avidin) as opposed to eating it raw.

I also agree with Aderonke. Egg yokes are not as bad as many think. They also contain biotin.

BlackOnyx03
BlackOnyx03
8 years ago
Reply to  Loo

Whoa! Are there people who would actually eat raw eggs?!?!?!?!?! That seems incredibly dangerous…not to mention unpalatable.

Thin and Natural
Thin and Natural
8 years ago
Reply to  BlackOnyx03

Body builders often eat raw eggs. ewwwww…!

Adrian
8 years ago

It’s always good to know substitutions to try and be a lil bit better. It’s a challenge to eat differently, but when you have support it’s not so bad.

Natalee
Natalee
8 years ago

Another “swap” that I just started was natural almond butter with no added sugar or oils for regular peanut butter.

Nadia
Nadia
8 years ago
Reply to  Fran

Thank you for such great articles, my overall health is improving by taking these extra steps listed from your site and various hair bloggers sites I’m reading. I’m really enjoying this phase of the natural hair movement where more people are sharing there healthier eating practices. I know that healthier consistent eating and exercise are also just as important if not more then good hair practice. I like the fact that I can find this information in one place. Quick question, can you suggest some brands of almond butter?

Nadia
Nadia
8 years ago
Reply to  Nadia

Their

treece
treece
8 years ago

I think one of the major controversies surrounding soy milk is whether it promotes cancer growth. There are arguments for and against the use of soy/ soy based products in patients with cancer and in a regular diet. I think that could have been addressed. I also agree about the egg yolk thing- (the yolk is the best part-just don’t eat too much). Otherwise, good helpful article. I

treece
treece
8 years ago

Furthermore, something about those liquid whites just seem so suspect to me. I’d rather buy eggs than the whites in a box (eating things as close to their natural state as possible).

AH
AH
8 years ago

A better alternative to free range? No meat at all.

betty
betty
8 years ago
Reply to  AH

It really is beneficial for some people.
Doesn’t mean you have to eat it every single day, but sustainably speaking, every so often meat it very good.

merry
merry
8 years ago

a whole egg is fine to eat.

also,rather than describe it as “free” range vs non free range, the comparison should probably be between grass fed vs grain fed meat.

grass fed meat has more good fats and nutrients than grain fed. grain fed meat is also highly inflammatory.

Ogo
Ogo
8 years ago
Reply to  merry

+1

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  merry

Completely agree with both points here… If you’re healthy and you don’t already have cholesterol issues, one egg a day is not going to kill you. I scramble one egg and 2–3 egg whites together pretty much every morning. Breakfast isn’t breakfast without eggs IMO… Also, “free-range” doesn’t ensure that an animal is getting adequate free-range exercise or a chemical-free or hormone-free diet. What you want to see in addition to or instead of “free-range” are words like “pastured” and/or “grass-fed”. Animals that are allowed to live their lives as nature intended (for the most part) tend to be healthier, which… Read more »

FinVoilaQuoi
FinVoilaQuoi
8 years ago

I’d add black coffee instead of those barely coffee drinks at Sbux. I occasionally get a super strong latte when I can’t brew my own but since going black…well you know the rest. No more unnecessary calories, no more weird aftertaste of Frankenstein sugar (although I’m a huge hypocrite here because I lurv Diet Coke), and no more worrying about whether the milk in the fridge is still good. For those that are thinking of foraying into the world of black coffee I’d suggest making it at home first instead of relying on Sbux to convert you because IMO the… Read more »

Zenith
Zenith
8 years ago

Use spinach instead of lettuce for salads, sandwiches. Eat (or drink) more kale (period) DRINK your nutritious greens instead of eating them. This enables you to add a greater variety of nutrients and helps your body process them with greater ease (less, actually NO chewing with all the fiber still there). Drink fruit smoothies (or use them to make homemade popsicles) instead of eating store bought popsicles. (Example: Use a frozen mango and a bag of frozen tropical fruit, place in blender, add a little water and agave nectar, blend).  Make your own potato chips in the microwave rather than buying… Read more »

merry
merry
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

when i make a salad with a leafy base, i use kale. i prefer the raw texture and taste to spinach.

Zenith
Zenith
8 years ago
Reply to  merry

So Awesome , Merry!!! I love kale too. It seems that a lot of people who have been eating regular lettuce find it difficult to jump from that to kale. I have found that spinach is a great “gateway” drug. Oops, excuse me, nutrient dense green. 🙂 I have recently moved my parents from iceberg lettuce to romaine and now to spinach. I’m hoping I can get them hooked on kale eventually Baby steps! Lol!

merry
merry
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

i buy kale just about every week. when i go to whole foods, they probably wonder if i eat anything else. i mostly get kale, collards, and mustards. i feel lost without kale in the refrigerator.  for me, raw kale is more approachable that spinach. i think i just prefer more texture — i like crunch and firmness. i saute kale with onion/garlic and have it with eggs for breakfast. trader joe’s has some stoneground grits and i’ll probably make some soon and have some kale on the side.… for anyone who cares to know, there is a great kale salad… Read more »

Lele
Lele
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

Ditto on the kale greens. Those are the only greens that I have ever eaten are kale and sometimes collards. I love making smoothies. I only like air popped popcorn…the microwaved type tastes funny. Something I do is go meatless a couple days per week.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

I disagree with the concept of drinking your veggies…the fiber lost in juicing is very useful and very much needed by the body. But if you take that pulp and use it in another recipe…I ain’t mad atcha…

I couldn’t agree much with the popcorn tip. Microwave popcorn is a total scam. If you don’t have an air-popper, get yourself some brown paper bags and learn how to air-pop in the microwave.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

*couldn’t agree MORE*

Zenith
Zenith
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

I agree with the concept of juicing — where you would separate juice from pulp, thereby losing a lot of nutrient value. If you place the veggies in a Vitamix or a Healthmaster ‘blender’, you do not extract the pulp All of the same elements are there, but the motor is powerful enough to pulverize it down to a juice (pulp). It is kind of thick, so you may want to add water before drinking, but these types of machines do not separate juice from pulp (unlike a straight juicer).
I apologize for not mentioning that in my previous post.

BlackOnyx03
BlackOnyx03
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

THIS. I have a Vitamix, and it was pricy but worth its weight in gold. Everything goes in. And everything comes out.

Nadia
Nadia
8 years ago
Reply to  BlackOnyx03

Were do you ladies think is the best place to buy a Vitamax? Also has anyone purchased a refurbished one from their site or any other site. Thanks for any information your willing to share in advance.

LBell
LBell
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

Aha…I didn’t know there was a difference there. Back when I was juicing (I think I had a Champion or something similar) I always ended up with a lot of pulp, which I’d put into muffins (when I had the time). Thanks for the clarification! 🙂

Fernando
7 years ago
Reply to  LBell

cupcake8million Posted on congrats- your lviing my dream since you won’t see your family/ friends for a long tie you could go cheesy- wish you were here or on the trail again or Where in the world is (your name)? Best of luck!

merry
merry
8 years ago
Reply to  LBell

veg juice is a great thing.

it is not meant to be a substitute for eating, unless you’re doing a fast.

i drink a beet, carrot and apple mixture often. i’ll also have a kale, cucumber and apple concoction in addition to any veg i eat during the day.

African Violet
African Violet
8 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

I’ve never eaten kale (maybe I should start?), but I do love spinach. When it comes to “fast food,” though, I’m always bothered by the Subway restaurants that don’t offer spinach as a leafy green option for the sandwiches. The only option is lettuce, which, ugh.

Lele
Lele
8 years ago

I hate animal’s milk, so almond milk is perfect for me. It tastes good, and I can drink it without worrying about sinus congestion. Soy milk is really nasty to me.

Jewblacka
Jewblacka
8 years ago

I swap hummus or mashed avocado for mayonnaise on sandwiches and baby spinach on sandwiches. Also buy a magic bullet and you can purée veggies into pasta sauces, smoothies, cake and really anything that has a liquid ingredient.

Kitty
8 years ago

Great suggestions!

I would do the almond milk, but I’m not sure if my migraines would be aggravated by it. Sometimes nuts give me migraines, especially combined with other foods. 

As far as meat, its hard for me to buy the grass fed/organic stuff. I’m on a extremely limited income due to unemployment. I can only afford the lest costly alternative. I do buy mostly poultry (chicken breasts, ground turkey, etc…). 

I guess for me the most important thing is to eat healthy- organic or not.

merry
merry
8 years ago
Reply to  Kitty

honestly, i don’t think it’s possible for anyone in this country to eat organic 100% of the time. i try to focus on eating produce that’s in season first. then i try to buy the organic produce most likely to have higher pesticide levels if it were grown commercially. i make every effort to get organic leafy greens, apples, potatoes and berries. melons, i don’t always break my neck to get organic but i do buy them only when in season. although i mentioned eating grass fed meat, i actually mainly eat fish, and occasionally duck (which i heart). i would… Read more »

Tamara
Tamara
8 years ago

For everyone scared of cow’s milk, its because the milk in the grocery store isnt true milk (can you say blood and puss? yea, mmhmm). Holla at realmilk.com to find some real milk. Im also glad to see folks aren’t believing the lies about eating the whole egg. Also, “free range” meat just means that the factory that houses all the sick cows/pigs/chickens just had a door opened for a small amount of time, thas it. The government has co-opted the term “free-range” and “organic” now cause they know health conscious folks will pay a premium for it. You need to find PASTURED or… Read more »

Hannah
Hannah
8 years ago

Fresh local eggs are better, like fruits & veggies, from the farmer’s market. I agree that it depends on what you eat with eggs which is why I gave that bacon, so hard but they can has a lot of chemicals used during the curing process. I don’t eat any processed or cured meats anymore. instead I’ll go to trader joes if.I get a craving.

instead of seasoning my food first with salt I’ll season food with actual spices taste first, I end up using less salt.

Isisthenicest
8 years ago

I’m vegan.

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