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Amelia Freer's 5 Easy Swaps

Renowned Nutritional Therapist Amelia Freer tends to the dietary needs of a roster of high-profile clients and has become a star in her own right within the health industry for her widely-followed pure-eating principles. With the release of her new health bible, Eat, Nourish, Glow, SL asked Amelia to come up with five easy ditch-and-switch tips for your next supermarket shop, so you can easily start to integrate healthier cooking into your daily routine. Prepare to be converted to her balanced food mantra...

1. Ditch: Cow’s Milk

Switch: Coconut milk, unsweetened almond, cashew or rice milk.

Why? Although dairy has many positive attributes, there is increasing evidence that it may be best avoided or at least kept to a minimum. It is one of the seven most allergenic foods and can trigger both digestive and systemic health problems such as eczema, asthma, increased mucus production and low mood. 95% of the world’s population (individuals not of northern European ethnicity) are lactose intolerant, which contributes towards digestive issues such as diarrhea and wind.

Contrary to the myth created by the dairy industry, dairy is not required for bone health – nuts, seeds, legumes, small fish and greens, such as broccoli, provide better, more absorb-able sources of calcium than dairy. Dairy consumption is linked to an increased risk of hormonerelated cancers as it contains a growth hormone called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), which is great for young, growing calves but not so good for the human breast, ovaries or prostate. Dairy is a source of animal fat, which can have a pro-inflammatory effect due to its high levels of arachidonic acid. 

2. Ditch: Milk Chocolate

Switch: 70% dark chocolate or sugar-free, raw chocolates available from health food stores. For the more adventurous, make your own with cacao powder, coconut butter and coconut crystals.

Why? See dairy above. Chocolate is often cited as a superfood as it is rich in antioxidants and minerals. However, this applies more specifically to raw chocolate. Processed chocolate is a little less super, but good-quality dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa is better than milk chocolate.

Did you know that the word ‘cacao’ describes raw chocolate, while ‘cocoa’ describes processed 71% chocolate? Go for cacao where you can! Milk chocolate is lower in cocoa and high in sugar, cancelling out much of what is ‘super’ about this ‘food of the gods’.

3. Ditch: Sodas

Switch: Fizzy coconut water, sparkling water with fresh lime, lemon or orange squeezed in, fresh mint or rosemary, fruit or herb ice cubes, kombucha, iced herbal teas. Fruit juice is high in sugar so if you are using it, dilute it 50:50 with water or sparkling water.

Why? A standard 330ml soft drink contains between 4–7 teaspoons of sugar, which will quickly enter the bloodstream leading to an insulin spike. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is sometimes the sugar used in fizzy drinks (more so in the US), which not only impacts calories but also contributes towards fatty liver disease and elevated cholesterol levels even more heavily than regular sugar or glucose. ‘Lite’ or sugar-free soft drinks usually replace sugar with sweeteners, which are artificial chemicals that are an unnecessary burden on the body. Research has shown that low-cal drinks do not appear to help with weight loss.
 

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