This post is all about so- called “healthy” food swaps. You know the sort.. Cauliflower rice ditching spaghetti in favour of spiralled veg and using ANYTHING other than white sugar (heaven forbid!) when it comes to baked goods.
Disclaimer before people get aggy: Of course some people do need to make swaps if they have an allergy or simply don’t like the taste of some foods.
So first up the nature of these food swaps is that they vilify certain foods, because of the intrinsic fear of weight gain (usually masked as a ‘health concern’) This food is normally its a carbohydrate and normally it tastes great. This is powerful and creates huge food fear, and instant banishment from our diets. We know that this restricting leads to us feeling deprived of said food, and leads to ‘over-eating’ sooner or later. This is not a problem in itself but when combined with the phobia of gaining weight and feeling that sense of failure and shame then it is problematic. We vow to start again but be more vigilant. Repeat to fade.
The next concern with food swaps, is that the food we are swapping with is usually far less satisfying! When we feel dissatisfied with what we’re eating, we generally will feel hungry and continue to eat until we hit satiety.
Remember that time you made those alternative brownies with everything except white flour and sugar and ended up eating the whole tray? This is not uncommon! That brownie just might not have tasted as good as a regular brownie which was actually the one you wanted therefore it doesn’t hit that sweet spot.
And for those that argue about the health benefits from using dates or vegetables etc in their baking – yes they do contain more vitamins and minerals Totally But you would have to eat a copious amount of these ingredients in your foods in order to see health benefits over time. “Health” also means obtaining pleasure from foods – not just nutrients.
If you genuinely enjoy the alternative version and it satisfies the craving your brain and your body needs then that is a great reason to eat it. If you’re doing it because you’re fearful of the authentic food or you’re concerned about the vets & mins, then I would suggest getting those nutrients elsewhere and eating the tasty spaghetti bol that reminds you of your mum 🙂
Depriving ourselves of the authentic foods that we love, like pasta, cakes and other ‘forbidden foods’ never ends well, so why not start to tune in to what you’re really craving.
Once you realise no food is off limits you can learn to trust what your body wants to eat, and enjoy the freedom that that allows.