Eating For Allergies: Healthy Swaps For Everyday Staples

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If you’ve lived with an allergy for a long time, perhaps your entire life, then you’re probably well aware of the alternatives. If, however, you’ve recently developed an allergy, or maybe your child has, then knowing which foods to avoid, and importantly, which foods you can substitute, is incredibly important.

We’ve detailed a few of the most common allergies here, and offered advice on what you can sub in to replace them. Where appropriate, we’ve even mentioned where an alternative might be better for you, even if you don’t have allergies.

Swap: Almond butter for peanut butter
The first and most obvious on our list is the peanut. Millions of children and adults around the world suffer from an allergy to peanuts and other tree nuts — often just peanuts. Cases range from mild to severe, and exposure to peanuts can be fatal for those with an extreme allergy.

Swapping almonds in for peanuts is a good idea, and a great way of introducing healthy fats and protein back into your diet. Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, which is fantastic for maintaining healthy skin and hair. Almond butter can be spread and blended just like peanut butter, and the flavour is more delicate than peanut butter, too.
Tip: Almonds add an awesome crunch when sprinkled with coriander on top of curries and salads.

Swap: nut milk for dairy
If dairy is your foe, then swapping it out in favour of nut milk (or mylk, as it’s often called), could be the way forward.

Nut milks are made by blending and pressing different nuts, then mixing with spring water, and sometimes a natural sweetener or thickener. You’ll need to experiment with the kind of nut milk that suits your tastes, as they all have their own unique flavours. Making them yourself is easy, but can be costly. We recommend buying your nut milk from any large supermarket. You’ll find cashew, almond and hazelnut in most places.
Tip: Nut milks don’t do so well in coffee, but if we had to choose one, it’d be cashew milk, as it has the mildest flavour, and the best texture.

Various swaps for eggs
Eggs used to be a problem area for people with allergies, but with so many replacements, if you’re making your own food, then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. This brilliant post over at She Knows, details four great substitutes for eggs, including bananas, applesauce, flaxseeds and a mixture of oil, flour and water.
Swap: buckwheat for wheat-wheat
Don’t let the name fool you — buckwheat is 100% wheat and gluten-free. It’s also high in protein and can be found in seed form, or ground into flour. Check out these cool recipes for buckwheat bread, and for dessert, try buckwheat pancakes.
Those are a few of our favourite swaps for your everyday staples. Got one that you love? Let us know on Facebook.

Why Choose All-Natural Food Over Processed

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There’s no reason why you can’t start eating better at any time of year, but right around the start of January is when most of us — hungover or not — have the fresh motivation to try something new. Call it a resolution, or just call it getting your butt in gear, but eating more healthily — that is to say, eating more natural foods as opposed to processed ones — can only be a good thing.

Processed Foods Are Overpriced
But we’re facing a problem, and it’s not as simple as too many leftover chocolates. We’re still buying and consuming too many processed foods. We’ve talked about it before on the FitBites blog, about how sales of processed foods are continuing to rise, despite the thousands, probably tens or hundreds-of-thousands of articles and blog posts on the internet telling us to cut back and choose natural (this one included.)

Why do we do it? Why are we still buying overpriced, processed foods and ready meals, when whole food ingredients that are packed with nutrients and flavour are not only cheaper, but better for the environment and better tasting? Maybe it’s convenience. Maybe it’s an addiction to all of the salt and sugar that’s rammed into processed foods to (a) make it last longer, and (b) to distract you from how god-awful the stuff that’s in it really tastes. The reality, is that it’s probably both of those reasons and then some.

Natural Whole Foods Are Better For You
We don’t think that this is a problem unique to countries like the UK and the US, but we’re certainly getting a raw deal when it comes to the food we buy. Walk into most shops and supermarkets, and while some effort has been made to make the cheaper, more natural choices favourable, profits win every time, and if you’re not going in there consciously to buy food that’s value for money, healthy and delicious, you’re going to get suckered into buying nonsense that’s overpriced, lacking in nutrition and frankly, pretty disappointing for the price.

Choose Protein and Good Fats Over Sugar and Fillers
A part of the reason a lot of people are reluctant to buy natural foods to prepare at home, has to be that ready meals and processed foods are made to look so filling and delicious. If they’re small and expensive, you assume they’re outstanding quality. If they’re huge, you assume that they’re filling and/or nutritious. That’s not always the case.

We say processed foods because what we’re talking about is food that’s been torn apart and stuck back together with tons of sugar and artificial oils and preservatives. Those cakes, cookies, pasta sauces, ready meals, cans of stuff and boxes of things that never go off, they’re full of things your body has to filter out just to get what it needs.

Instead, what you ought to be looking for is food that’s as unaltered as possible. It can be cooked or prepared in some way — FitBites balls are raw, but they’re prepared with care to naturally preserve and highlight their best flavours and nutrients — but your food ought to be recognisable for what it is.

Nature is fine as it is. Eat what the world provides, and keep the preservatives where they belong — which is nowhere.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2017, from everyone at FitBites.