Tiny Tweaks, Big Results

February 1, 2016

By: The Bay Club

Making adjustments to your diet can be daunting—and sometimes it’s hard to know just where to start. So we consulted our friend, Kelly Leveque of Be Well By Kelly for 10 creative tweaks on your daily choices that offer some big, healthy benefits. Instead of starting off your year by jumping on the latest diet fad, make these nutritious swaps for a healthy lifestyle that’s both sustainable and enjoyable.

1. Buffalo, also known as bison, can replace your conventionally raised beef when making a burger, guilt-free steak, or tasty chili. Buffalo is the perfect iron and folate source for a beBABY pregnancy; delivers antioxidant Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E to keep our beBRIDAL clients glowing from the inside out, and is a nutrient-dense lean protein that keeps our beBEAUTIFUL clients satiated post workout. Lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than chicken and higher in protein than beef; buffalo is becoming a new popular substitute. So, when you’re making a pot of chili to battle the cold, consider making it with buffalo. Here’s a recipe to try!

2. Ditch the Mercury; choose sardines or salmon over tuna. Although all cold-water fish (ie: tuna, herring, salmon, mackerel or sardines) are a great source of protein and healthy fat, some are better than others. At beWell, we suggest saving your tuna consumption for special occasions and opting for a low mercury alternative most of the time. Mercury is a neurotoxin that interferes with the brain and nervous system, fertility, and fetal development. Sardines are not only low in mercury, but one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and provide three times your need for B12. If you find it hard to stomach sardines, salmon is also a great option to hydrate your cells with omega-3, while lowering your triglycerides and cholesterol levels. And it’s also delicious, just like this recipe for Salmon Nori Burritos!

3. Goat and sheep cheese, please. Cow dairy (unless organic and 100% grass fed) contain antibiotics and growth factors that are intended to grow baby cows, not humans. Regular consumption of dairy can promote irritable bowel syndrome, exacerbation of asthma, other respiratory and sinus disorders, some skin disorders, and has even been linked to type 1 diabetes in children. If you opt for cow dairy, pick grass-fed organic options, or instead consider the alternatives from goat or sheep dairy.

4. Ceylon Cinnamon is popular in the diabetic community because of its ability to help increase insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, and also a source of manganese. But before you load up your morning coffee, daily smoothie or Moroccan chicken dish, make sure you are using Ceylon. Compared to Cassia cinnamon (the kind most typically found in your neighborhood grocery store), Ceylon cinnamon is not only more effective in blood sugar balance, but it’s also lower in Coumarin, a property known to cause liver damage in excess. And now that you know, add some cinnamon to your daily diet with this smoothie recipe!

5. Coconut Aminos. Swap coconut aminos for soy sauce and its gluten-free alternative Tamari. This easy swap removes soy completely, eliminating phytoestrogens, phytic acid, and MSG. Coconut aminos are made from coconut sap and natural sea salt, and contain 17 amino acids and B vitamins. Bloaty sushi hangover be gone, this swap also saves you 700 mg of sodium dropping your intake from 36% to a mere 5%.

6. Chia is the new Flax. Although both seeds are touted as superfoods, Chia is beating out flax for its place in your blender. Flax benefits come from fiber; omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals called lignans, all present in chia but only assimilated properly in your body when they are ground. Chia is a complete protein higher in fiber, calcium, and phosphorous—and the proof is in the pudding

7. Be picky with your rice. The latest Consumer Report reconfirmed the 2012 findings of arsenic present in 60 varieties of rice by retesting an additional 128 samples at the end of 2014. Arsenic in rice is not regulated by the FDA and sadly, is linked to an increase risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancer. Arsenic accumulates in the outer layers, which are removed to make white rice, thus Brown rice contains 80% more arsenic than white varieties. Region and types varied for arsenic levels as well; white Basmati rice from California and sushi rice have 38% less than white rice from Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, which rank the highest. So save your rice for sushi nights and pick up a clean Cali-basmati for your home if needed. Food for (almost arsenic-free) thought, alternative grains to rice such as amaranth, millet, and quinoa all have significantly less inorganic arsenic than rice.

8. Roasted Chickpeas. Ditch the croutons; they just add empty carbs and calories to a bowl of greens. Instead roast up some beans. Homemade roasted chickpeas are packed with protein and fiber, contain less fat and fewer calories, and are great to have on hand if you like a salad with crunch. To boost your lunchtime salad, click here for a step-by-step guide to roasting chickpeas. 

9. Are you over coconut oil yet? We don’t think you should be! Bulletproof coffee is all the rage and the fat-filled blended coffee is pretty delicious. But for a quick creamer alternative, join the bandwagon and blend 1 tbsp of coconut oil into your coffee. Not only do the medium-chain triglycerides help produce ketones and quick brain fuel, the lauric acid will kill candida and yeast overgrowth. Most importantly for weight loss, the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24-hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term. 

10. Himalayan pink salt: Ditch your table salt. Himalayan Pink Salt is packed with over 84 trace minerals and elements, as opposed to table salt that is 97.5% sodium chloride. Excess sodium increases your risk of hypertension, osteoporosis, and kidney disease whereas the diversity of elements in Himalayan pink Salt is shown to create an electrolyte balance within your body, strengthen bones, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation. It also helps to protect the delicate balance of minerals in your cells, avoid excess water retention and premature aging. Processed foods are loaded with sodium, so limit your processed food intake and when cooking at home, use the pink stuff!