Sunday, June 26, 2011

Replace unhealthy options by healthy ones - ARTICLE

This is another core nutrition tactic you can start using straight away.

Here is an example:

I love chocolate.

I was born in Switzerland, so you imagine!

Lots of chocolate around here!

Many of my snacks as a kid were chocolate with bread, chocolate bar or a class of milk with chocolate powder.

Of course, most processed chocolate bars with all the saturated fats and refined sugars are unhealthy.

So, about 20 years ago, I progressively started shifting my diet to healthier options.

When it came to chocolate, I started replacing it with dried raisins and other dried fruit for snacks.

This was still giving my body the sugar kick it needed without the negative saturated fats content.

I felt that the process was still incomplete.

So, some years ago, I went one step further and started preparing myself snacks made of a mix of dried fruit, cashews and raw cacao nibs.


What an awakening and realization.

The craving for chocolate?

Gone! Instantly!

I am not kidding!

Here is what I believe happened

I feel that my craving for chocolate was due to 3 core ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Fat
  • Cacao = Stimulant

When I prepared my mixes here is what I was getting:

  • Dried raisins = Sugar
  • Cashews = Fat
  • Cacao nibs = Stimulant

In other terms, from this home made mix I was getting the exact ingredients I was craving for, simply in a different form.

Instead of thinking “I have to suppress my craving for chocolate”, I said instead “Let’s try to replace chocolate by a healthier option”.

It took me a few years of testing and research to actually get this!

Nowadays, when I think of chocolate, what comes to mind is the heavy saturated fats and the bad impact it has on your teeth.

The emotions associated with chocolate have shifted.

If one day, I am really hungry and I have no healthy snacks with me, if I am in a city and I see all these chocolate bars in a kiosk, I might be tempted and get some.

That could happen.

But these are totally isolated cases.

I go now for years without ever buying chocolate.

In 99% of the cases, when offered chocolate, I simply say “No thanks!”

Now you might argue that dries raisins still contain sugars or that having some cashews without soaking them first means that the enzyme inhibitors are not yet deactivated.

Well… I agree!

The food that you eat is NEVER perfect.

For dried raisins, I simply don’t use too many, just what I need.

Here is what I believe:

The energy mix I use (dried raisins, cashews, raw cacao nibs) gives me a health score a 8/10.

I believe that the chocolate I used to consume is at a lousy 2/10.

Most chocolate bars are JUNK FOOD!

So, did I make a big jump forward by making that shift?


Can you make the same type of healthy shifts in your diet?

Of course you can!

Will it take you some experimentation to identify the exact ingredients you need to replace your unhealthy options?

Yes! I think it will!

Let me give you another example:


With cheese, it was the same story as with chocolate.

I have been consuming tons of cheese since childhood!

Some years ago, when I started realizing that cheese was not that healthy, I started looking for alternatives.

It’s only 2 years ago that I succeeded with that one.

In my case the core substitute for cheese is coconut!

I now use coconut in all sorts of recipes!

I use coconut cream, coconut nibs and coconut water.

I use them in salads, in dressings, as snacks and in my energy mixes.

I put coconut water in my smoothies.

It works!

When I put coconut in my preparations, the craving for cheese disappears.

Why is that?

Because I believe that coconut contains ingredients which are similar to cheese.

That’s protein and fat.

If you check the nutritional content of cheese and coconut, you will see that they are very similar.

That’s why I believe you can easily replace one by the other.

If you just try to fully remove cheese out of your diet without giving your body a substitute, it is tough!

That’s a suppression tactic.

It requires 100% will power and it’s no fun!

If you substitute cheese with coconut, it requires 20% will power and 80% flow.

It’s actually quite natural to do it.

As you can see, I still use some discipline when making that shift.

It takes around 3 months to get completely used to a new nutrition shift.

If the nutrients in cheese and coconut are quite similar, why is it that the shift is not instant?

Why is it that you still need to use some discipline and will power?

It is because the addiction that you naturally develop to foods is not just connected with the biochemical composition of that food.

Here are 2 other aspects that play a role as well in your attachment to food.

These are “tastes” and “emotional associations”.

Let's have a look at these in the next articles.