When we wanted to find out how to drop those pesky winter pounds that we inevitably packed on, we knew we couldn't mess around. This is why we consulted Tricia Williams, whose custom health-specific food service Food Matters targets the specific dietary needs and goals of each individual client. Not only does she deliver fresh, organic meals to their homes, she also counsels them on everything from the contents of their pantries to healthy ways to incorporate their favorite foods. Clearly, she means business.
So, where to start? "There are three things I always remove from people's diets: gluten, sugar, and dairy," Tricia tells us. "I feel like no matter where people are in life, when you take those three things out, they feel so much better."
As you read on, you'll notice that some of her suggestions for dietary substitutions might seem a little... extreme. She knows. "Just try one new thing every two weeks and see how you deal with it," Tricia advises. "The people who try and go radical and change everything honestly don't stick to it or end up getting away from it because it's overwhelming. So, baby steps!"
"White flour is not only highly refined, it has a high glycemic index, which makes your blood sugar spike and then crash. Oat flour has a lower glycemic index and it's whole grain, which helps you to feel fuller, longer."
"Coconut sugar is the nectar of the blossom of the coconut before it grows, and it has a low glycemic index. What I love about it the most is that it behaves a lot like white sugar when you bake with it. It's low in calories, and it gives you that crunch in cookies that you don't always get from those artificial sweeteners."
"We take diary out of the equation because it makes a lot of excess mucous in the body. Almond milk is the best go-to and it's also really easy to find in grocery stores. I think almond milk pairs really well with different things — in cereals, in porridges."
"When you make cashew milk, you soak cashews in water and then grind them up and strain it. Then what you can do is make cheese — this is like a cream cheese, and we can flavor this with basil or chives. We can also dry it out and make it have more of a goat cheese texture. All you need to make this is just water and cashews — it's so much easier and so much less expensive to make than to buy."
"Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, there’s plenty of evidence that it contains medium and long-chain fatty acids, which help you burn fat. It’s anti-microbial, so it has lots of healing properties, too. I also love to bake with it — it keeps moisture in whatever you bake."
"Canola oil and or safflower oils remain stable at high heat. They're better choices than things like olive oil, which becomes really unstable — this makes free radicals form and that causes a lot of oxidative stress in the body. You know the oil becomes unstable when it starts smoking."
"The 'alkaline state' references the amount of acid in the body. There are many things that are acid forming in the American diet: white flour, white sugar, grains, and animal proteins. One of the things we do is try and alkalize their foods — if you pair something with a green vegetable, it alkalizes and balances it. Mountain valley spring water is naturally alkaline, Evian is naturally alkaline. It has enough minerals to adjust the pH in the water."
"I don't necessarily say coffee is bad, but it's addictive for a lot people, which I think is negative. With green tea, you get the benefit of all the antioxidants, and there's still some caffeine in there if you're a person who absolutely needs it!"
"Quinoa is a whole grain — technically it's the seed — but it's very protein-rich. It's almost a complete protein. It's lower on the glycemic scale than white rice so it won't cause that spike and crash that you can get from eating gluten."
"Kale is just nature’s best super food. It's the healthiest green leaf and it's packed with so many vitamins and minerals. Baking kale chips gives you the crunch you'd get from eating potato chips."
"This is our new favorite thing! There are lots of recipes online that you can look at. It’s a bread that's base is almond flower, taro root, and egg. What's great about it that it's so dense, it makes you feel fuller, longer."
"I like to put kale, celery, and romaine in my green juice, and I would recommend pairing it with fruit. Sometimes apple and pineapple make it more tolerable. A good place to ease yourself into it is Juice Generation — they make a juice called Supa Dupa Greens. Sometimes people come to me with circulation issues, so I put in jalapeño peppers and ginger, which is an anti-inflammatory."