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Simple, Fat-Burning Swaps For Your Favorite Foods

When you remove the seven highly reactive (high-FI) foods I discuss in The Virgin Diet for at least 21 days, amazing things happen.

Symptoms like headaches and fatigue vanish. You look and feel better than you have in years, or even decades. Difficult weight-loss plateaus disappear. I’ve had people drop seven pounds during the first week alone.

Despite these improvements, I sometimes hear from readers who tell me that giving up their favorite foods feels like a herculean challenge. 

Trust me, I get it. I hated the thought of giving up my favorite high-FI foods. I wondered how I’d live without my occasional slice of sourdough bread and my beloved breakfast omelets. I couldn’t believe I’d ever be happy without that inch of foamy milk on my caffè Americano. 

You usually crave the very foods that are hurting you, and yet you're most likely eating them every day. But the good news is that you don’t have to give up your favorites.

Healthier upgrades—what I call lateral shifts or simple swaps—allow you to enjoy all of your favorite foods and beverages, but without added sugars, food intolerances, and other “no” ingredients.

I love Thrive Market, where you can find many of these swaps listed below, and have ordered from them for years. The prices and selection are unmatched. Whenever possible, I've linked the product to Thrive Market. Not a member? You can sign up for an account here. I'm certain you will love Thrive Market as much as I do!

Swap #1: Dairy 

Contrary to marketing propaganda, dairy isn’t great for your skin, bones, or your waistline.

But dumping dairy can be a challenge! After all, dairy is everywhere: in your coffee drink, in your breakfast bowl, on top of your grass-fed burger. Fortunately, manufacturers are creating more dairy-free products, so I’ve got plenty of smart swaps for all of your favorite treats.

Swap #2: Gluten

Gluten is a form of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and many processed foods.

Unfortunately, many of us have some form of sensitivity to gluten that is not celiac disease. Nevertheless, gluten sensitivity is a real problem with serious symptoms, including painful digestive problems, headaches, joint pain, infertility, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression. 

Gluten sensitivity also can damage your intestinal lining and produce a leaky gut. And it can vastly increase your chance of gaining weight and making it nearly impossible to lose as long as you keep eating gluten.

You know that most breads contain gluten, but this tricky protein can also hide in strange places like deli meats and mustards. You’ll want to closely read the ingredients.

Despite their health glow, many gluten-free foods contain added sugars and other “no” ingredients that make them unhealthy. I've scrutinized ingredients and found these approved alternatives:

Swap #3: Eggs

Some folks find that they can occasionally handle high-quality, pasture-raised eggs. Even if you can, you don't want to eat eggs every day.

If you're used to starting your day with an omelet or sunny-side-up eggs, a loaded smoothie makes a quick, simple alternative. Here are some other egg-related alternatives:

Swap #4: Peanuts 

Peanuts and peanut butter may be the easiest swap on this list. Peanuts aren't a nut, for one; they're a legume. Learn more about why peanuts drive me nuts in this blog.

  • Swap your peanuts for almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and macadamia nuts.
  • Swap your peanut butter for unsweetened almond or other nut butter. My favorites include:

Swap #5: Corn 

Corn is a pro-inflammatory food as well as a high-glycemic one, meaning that it can cause your blood sugar to spike.

It’s also one of our most genetically modified foods, which means there can be a lot of issues with GMOs. The protein in corn can also mimic gluten, creating all of the problems I discuss here. 

Fortunately, you can easily swap corn and corn-based products for healthier options that taste just as good.

Swap #6: Soy 

Soy has been marketed as the miracle food of all time, maybe because it can be produced cheaply and some big companies have invested in its production and modification.

It's not. Eating soy daily may create problems, whether in traditional forms like tofu and edamame, or more modern incarnations such as soy milk, soy ice cream, and soy cheese.

With these swaps, you can say adios to soy and all of its problems:

Swap #7: Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners

If you've read The Sugar Impact Diet, you're aware that sneaky sugars are everywhere, including “healthy” foods and beverages. You also know that artificial sweeteners aren't a free pass, and may be worse for you than sugar itself.

Learn all about sweeteners here.

Fortunately, you have lots of healthy alternatives to many foods containing sugar and artificial sweeteners:

Here's a sweet idea to swap out your favorite treats. Whether you're craving cookie bites, freezer fudge, or brownies, all of these recipes are healthy! You’ll find them and lots more in my Sweet Treats Recipe Guide. Get the sweet, decadent, guilt-free recipes here.

With these swaps, you can effortlessly upgrade nearly any food or beverage. And use these suggestions to inspire your lateral shifts. Deprivation has no part in any of these plans, and with a little creativity, you can find a smart substitute for any favorite. I hope you'll see that the only things you are going to give up are the foods that are hurting you!

The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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