How to Stay Healthy at Home

Today’s post is all about spring cleaning for your kitchen. I want to go through different foods you can swap out – not giving up your favorite things – but just making cleaner, healthier changes.

This is going to be all about COMMON foods because I feel like when I mention eating well, people assume you have to cut out some of your favorite things or it’s going to be very restrictive …and it’s really not. Let’s get into it.

  • Marinara Sauce. I use this all the time. It’s so versatile – I use it as a sauté instead of oil because you’re not using as much fat. Unfortunately, a lot of traditional marinara sauces come with canola oil, added sugars and tons of other additives.

Thrive marinara sauce has simple, clean ingredients: whole peeled tomatoes, onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and basil. It has just 3 g of sugar (naturally, what comes from tomatoes). This is a great swap for a lot of condiments you might have in your cabinets.

  • Pasta. This is such an easy one to swap out. One key here is to make sure it’s gluten-free – lentil, brown rice, chickpea, edamame and quinoa pastas are all naturally gluten-free.

If you’re eating traditional pasta, the glycemic index (how quickly your blood sugar spikes) is the main concern. You don’t want foods that will spike it up really fast because your insulin, which controls all your other hormones, will get thrown off balance.

Compared to traditional pasta, lentil pasta is full of protein and fiber and will keep you full longer. This switch is a no-brainer because it’s so easy and will allow you to eat pasta guilt-free.

  • Oatmeal. Plain oatmeal is very healthy, but sweetened ones use multiple types of (usually low quality) sugar: cane sugar, glucose syrups, etc. A lot of times they also have those scary “natural flavors,” which you always want to avoid.

Nature’s Path makes a plain, organic instant oatmeal that’s still in the individual packs, so it’s just as convenient. You can add cinnamon, monk fruit, Stevia, or whatever natural sweeteners you want to flavor it on your own.

  • Nutritional Yeast. This is an amazing substitute for any kind of cheese. Even if you’re not vegan or plant-based, I recommend that you at least go dairy-free. Dairy is so bad for you, and it’s easy to be dairy-free now with so many amazing alternatives. 

I know a lot of people think that dairy has calcium and is good for your bones …but it’s actually kind of a scam. Dairy is acidic, so when your body processes it, it tries to go into compensation mode to become alkaline. Calcium, on its own, is an antacid, so if you’re drinking/eating dairy and acidic things, your body ends up pulling calcium out of your bones to act as an antacid to get rid of this acidic reaction.

I really like Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast – they fortify it, and it has a lot of B-12, B-6 and B-2. I sprinkle it on top of salads or popcorn, use it when I’m making vegan mac n cheese – there are so many things you can do.

  • Almond Butter. For any nut butter, there are so many great ones out there, but a lot of them are roasted, salted and some even have added oil. Always get your nut butter raw, unroasted and unsalted. I really like Artisana Organics Raw Almond Butter.
  • Tortilla Chips. Generally, tortilla chips have lots of unhealthy fats from canola oil, are deep-fried and are full of unnecessary grains. I definitely eat grains, but where I can substitute them in a healthy way, I will. If tortilla chips aren’t made from grains, they’re often made from corn, which is usually GMO.

Siete tortilla chips is such an amazing swap. They’re paleo, vegan and gluten-free, and made with avocado oil and cassava flour, so you’re still getting that carb-y chip, but no grains and no unhealthy, toxic oils. There are so many great flavors.

  • Rice Cakes. This is a good one to sub out for bread every once in a while. I still like eating bread, but in its time and place. When it comes to snacking, I don’t like having too much bread because it can get really heavy.

Rice cakes are plain on their own, but so easy to grab and go. Sometimes it’s all about that crunch – I’ll do these in place of chips in a sandwich or for crunch in a salad.

  • Coconut Aminos. This is a great substitute for soy sauce. Naturally, soy sauce has a lot of salt and is high in histamines, which can be very toxic if you’re eating too much of it …The problem with soy sauce is that you usually want a good amount.

Coconut aminos are made from the sap of the coconut. Swapping it out for soy sauce can reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

  • Ketchup. There’s nothing wrong with what ketchup should be, but Heinz has made it out to be something else. Let’s compare the ingredients in Heinz Ketchup to Primal Kitchen Organic, Unsweetened Ketchup: 

Primal Kitchen: organic tomato concentrate, organic balsamic vinegar, less than 2% salt, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder, organic spices (1g of sugar)

Heinz: tomato concentrate, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, regular corn syrup, salt, spices, onion powder, natural flavors 

Enough said.

  • Pancake Mix. I make pancakes on my own a lot, but sometimes I don’t feel like doing it all. Simple Mills makes a clean, almond flour pancake mix that uses almonds and coconuts as the base of the ingredients. It’s gluten-free and low in sugar, and you’re not getting the white flour and extra additives. 

To compare, the ingredients in Bisquick pancake mix are: enriched bleached flour, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, dextrose, salt, baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate and monocalcium phosphate.

Enriched bleached flour is made by taking flour, bleaching it with toxic chemicals to make the color more white, then enriching it with the nutrients that were in the flour before, but were removed when they bleached it. Definitely avoid that when you can.

  • Trail Mix. The theory is healthy, but when you look at the ingredients that typically come in it, most of the nuts are drenched in oil, there’s dried fruit with added sugar and there’s usually chocolate chips, m&m’s or other unhealthy add-ins.

You can make your own, super clean trail mix. Mix any kinds of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, even Lily’s dark chocolate chips – totally make this your own.

Pro Tip: Making your food more presentable and your kitchen more organized is so big for spring cleaning. When everything has its space, you know where to reach for it and it’s laid out beautifully, it makes you eat healthier. Put your trail mix in a mason jar – it’ll be so cute and make you really want to eat it!

  • Cleaning Supplies. Let’s talk about how to detox the things that you wash your dishes with that end up going into your mouth. We have to pay attention to little things like this, especially things we clean the surface with.

Thrive Market has so many great options – free from things like alcohol, solvents, synthetic fragrances, dyes, parabens, SLS, SLES, etc. We don’t need dyes and color additives in things that we just want to help us stay clean.

I hope you guys liked reading about my spring cleaning tips. Let me know if you have any questions!

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Written by

Mona Vand

Doctor of Pharmacy. Beauty, Health, & Wellness Q’s

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