[Photo: Taken by author]
There are many ways, how we can interpret phrase “healthier lifestyle”, for me it is not only about healthy eating and being fit, I would include a lot of aspects of this term – eating balanced, healthy foods in right amounts for each single individual, exercise daily by doing physical activities that YOU enjoy, having balanced working hours vs. free time, having pleasant social life – having time for people who inspires you, understands you, supports you, are positive etc., and vice versa. Time for your loved one and family. Time for your hobbies and things you love to do. Time for self-development and simply time for yourself.
The starting point to switch to a healthier lifestyle starts in your mind. I could tell you to eat that and this in that amounts, by having that nutritional values, do certain exercises, but I am not going to do so. First of all, I am not nutritionist (I have done a lot of research, talked to people, tried several things, etc., in last 6 years, but I don’t have degree in science of nutrition), second of which, each single individual has their own body, structure of it and way it works, their own personal needs. I can and will give you some guidelines which work for me, in that way you will have some idea how and where to start and in the process, you will be able to figure out your own personal “right” way how to do the best for your body and mind.
Start with your mind. You have to have the right mindset for this. It is not one of the fast diets, it is a lifestyle. Write down reasons why you want to do this. It should be about you – your health, wanting to feel the best you can, to have a lot of energy, to look good because it makes you even happier. Like this, you will live life with your best capability, in this way you will be able to fulfill the reason why you are in this world and help others. Healthy mind, body, and spirit. Write down your eating habits that you have now and those which you would want to have. Write a plan how you can achieve your goal. Set also a deadline for smaller goals, every week write a check-up list. Start with baby steps. Probably it won’t be as fast as you would wish, but like I mentioned before, it is a lifestyle and if you want to make it sustainable, better is to make it slower but right.
Healthy eating is the right choice of a balanced variety of foods in right amounts. To have healthy, well-functioned body, you need to take in all necessary nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals). Food is creating energy (right products provide the right energy exchange), which you are able to use by doing things you love and need to do.
In this article, I will write some tips how to change some products for better, healthier alternatives. Before you dig into this, I will let you know, that I am for plant-based diet, so all healthy or healthier alternatives I will mention, will be vegan, I hope you will find this useful even if you are not vegan, there are a lot of goodies out there nowadays which are worth to try.
Healthy and healthier vegan alternatives:
Processed food – whole foods (vegetables, fruits, greens, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds)
Wheat and white flour products – buckwheat, brown/wild rice, oats, quinoa, whole wheat flour/ pasta/ bread
Soda/sugary drinks – water
Coffee – green tea
Processed juice – freshly squeezed juice; smoothies; fruit/berry/veggie water
Snacks – nuts
Salty snacks – vegetables (baby carrots, cucumber, radish and any others you like); self-made* popcorn with added spices (possibly without salt), spicy Turkish peas, veggie chips, wholewheat snacks, etc.
Candies, cookies – fruit, dried fruit (grapes and dried fruits like pitted dates, fugues, raisins are very sweet); self-made* popcorn with added maple syrup; self – made sweets (vegan chocolate truffles – take pitted dates, nuts, seeds, cocoa powder, chocolate, water, blend it in high power food processor, make balls, roll them in cocoa or coconut shreds, put in freezer for 10-20 min and voila! Bon appétit!)
Deserts – self-made* desserts (one of easiest – avocado/banana/a bit of plant-based milk/ grounded flaxseeds/chia seeds/ a bit of lemon juice/ cacao/ maple or agave syrup – blend it all together and put some berries, nuts or shredded coconut flakes on top)
Cakes – self-made* cakes
Potato chips – vegetable chips (my favorite are beetroot-carrot or kale chips, they are healthier than potato chips, but still they are processed, high in oil and salt, this should be a treat every now and than, not an everyday choice. The best would be if you would make them yourself, I just don’t have the patience for it.
Potatoes – grains (brown/wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat)
Mashed potatoes – mashed cauliflower
French fries – baked sweet potato sticks
Ketchup – self-made* tomato paste/ ketchup
Oil – water, vegetable broth (for coking – plant-based milk, applesauce, water)
*All self-made can be optional, if you don’t like cooking, there are vegan restaurants, grocery shops, and bakeries where you can buy healthy meals, snacks, desserts, cakes, etc. Make sure to check ingredients and ask how it was made if you care a lot about what you are putting into your body.
Any kind of meat – tempeh, seitan, tofu (good sources of protein and other nutrition, if you don’t miss taste of meat, are legumes, beans, peas, lentils); vegan alternatives like vegetarian burgers, sausages, “chicken” nuggets, bacon, ground beef, etc. (texture and even taste is very close to meat, sometimes non-vegans can’t even notice the difference)
Fish and seafood
Fish/seafood – to get your omega – 3, DHA and fatty acids, you can use: walnuts, hemp, chia and flax seeds. Omega – 3 is also in rapeseed oil and some products where it is added as an extra (check the label for it)
High fat/or any dairy milk – plant-based milk. You can use soy, oat, rice, hemp, nut, coconut milk
Sour cream – soy natural yogurt
Yogurt – coconut, soy yogurt
Butter – avocado, tahini, coconut butter, almond butter; dairy free – nonhydrogenated margarine
Cream – coconut, soy, rice, oat cream
Cheese – cashew cheese; vegan cheese alternatives; nutritional yeast, tofu (for example, to get ricotta, you can take firm tofu, drain and crumble it)
Ice cream – blend frozen banana/fruits/berries + cacao/ vanilla + maple/agave syrup; vegan ice cream alternatives
Eggs – there are a lot of ways how to replace eggs (nutrition and healthy alternatives, the source of protein without high cholesterol level, are tofu, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
For example, scrambled eggs you can make from tofu.
For cooking, you can replace eggs with mashed banana, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, soy protein, applesauce, peanut butter.
Check out picture down below 🙂
Mayonnaise made out of eggs – vegan mayonnaise or healthier alternatives like mashed avocado
Sugar/ honey – agave syrup, maple syrup (if you are baking, you can use also banana, dried fruits like pitted dates)
I hope that some of this information was useful for you and now, dear reader, make your first step. I wish you all the best!
What are your healthier product alternatives?