One of the keys to taking off weight and keeping it off is the art of substitution. Trade in refined sugars for the natural type in fruits and vegetables. Swap out red meat for poultry and fish (or even vegetarian substitutes – more on that later). Drink sparkling water instead of coke/pop/soda (depending where you live). Indeed, Change your food palate and change your life.
Over the last two years as I have taken off the weight and kept it off, I fundamentally changed my eating habits and in so doing my taste buds. A former sugar junkie I used to literally drink Peanut M&M’s as I drove through another 14 hour work day. Had to have that sugar rush that an hour or two later sent me crashing. How was I able to transform from a Candy Cowboy to a Vegetable Vaquero? Here are my four top substitutions.
- Swap shakes and M&Ms for apples and bananas. Besides the cups of M&Ms I drank, I used to treat myself to McDonald’s Shake or a Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha on the hour drive home. On the weekends and on Fridays, I often had my older kids go on an ICR (Ice Cream Rum) to get a Blizzard again with M&M’s. These habits are the first thing I stopped when I started my journey and joined Weight Watchers. You see an apple or a banana is 0 Weight Watcher’s points while event a small Blizzard is 35 (a daily allowance for most people). With this one switch, I was a quarter way there!
- Change Cokes for Soda Stream. Another bad habit was drinking at least 4-5 Cokes a day. The mix was usually two “leaded” Cokes and 3 Diet Cokes. But even with more diet than not, the mix was not good. The Christmas of 2016 I got a Soda Stream machine and my life changed. I now stay hydrated and get my fill of carbonation by mixing 0 calorie flavoring with sparkling water from my Soda Stream.
- Ban Burgers for Chicken or that other red meat – Vegetarian Pulled Pork! Along with my shake on the way home I used to eat a Quarter Pounder or if I was trying to be healthy two Cheeseburgers. This took awhile but I changed the burger every other day for chicken, turkey, shrimp or pork loin. But the best substitute I ever had was in Raleigh, North Carolina when I had Vegetarian Pulled pork at the Fiction Kitchen. As a Texan, I never thought I would like NC BBQ over TX or worse yet tempeh over brisket, but this was one of the best meals I ever had. It pays to be adventurous.
- Train and transition your taste buds. Over time, these and other substitutions totally changed what I liked to eat. I literally can only eat one Peanut M&M before feeling ill. I may eat a burger once and awhile but always Grass Fed and without cheese. And soon after I turn to my new fix – Brussels Sprouts!
In closing, you can train yourself to like other foods and “substitute” your way into health. Truly an Apple a Day Can Keep the Peanut M&M’s away!