Category Archives: about food substitutions

Substitutions….just a stage


I was with a friend of mine yesterday who has been battling with migraine headaches.  In the five years since I’ve known her, I’ve noticed them worsening.  In the beginning she averaged 5 a month…that was when she started medication and starting all her various experimentation…lately she’s been having them almost daily.

She does Yoga(is a yoga instructor), is a Reiki Master, has had acupuncture(says that relieves her for a short period of time), has had that Botox treatment(that was a nightmare), has been on an elimination diet, gave up caffeine due to a nervous tic on her face and the list goes on.

She’s a fabulous cook using organic, non GMO products and doesn’t skimp on high quality ingredients.  But, I’ve noticed lately how she obsesses over the latest ingredient substitutions that I have seen online as being mainstream.  She wants her diet to contain the categories it always had and the more she experiments, the more foods she finds that don’t agree with her. She will find something she CAN eat and eat that daily…and sometime later is no longer able to eat that either.

When I first went on a gluten free diet, the recipe book I had purchased at the time had recipes for bread and rolls made from a concoction of potato starch, cornstarch, and xanthan gum or guar gum.  It was a white pasty mess but being desperate for bread, I ate it.

Then it was rice flour products and now the trend seems to be  almond meal flour and coconut flour along with massive amounts of eggs.

The question rotating in my brain is, are the substitutions doing more harm than the originals?

I see people on facebook obsessing over how to make desserts like they used to have…so they’ll make a “substitute” using the other flour options…and later find out that the calorie count/fat count is astronomical.

When you have the goal of giving up sugar for example, so many are trying the various substitutes out there so that they can still eat the same way they always have.  It’s like it was in the beginning of being a vegetarian…I used to get the various “fake meat” products…but over the years, I’ve gotten past that stage and don’t need nor do I want that.

My two cents on the substitutions subject…there are no substitutions.  This past year has taught me that success relies on focusing on real food.  In the beginning you will be in the stage of denial of sorts…the total shock that you may have to give that food up “forever”.  This is the stage when you play with the substitutions.  The sad part is that some people never go beyond that point to explore the wonderful world of real food.

It’s interesting how I’ve been able to change my focus this year…to go from apple pie with all the sugar to sliced apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top…and truly savor it.  I no longer look at candy in the same way nor do I even think about drinking sodas or sweetened coffee or cocoa products.

Now, that doesn’t mean that now and then I won’t  be tempted to eat one of my favorites from the past…but I find that a very small portion will satisfy me(also, if I get a large portion of anything overly sweet, I’ll possibly get heartburn and /or a migraine headache…no thank you!)

This does not happen over night.  It’s a learning process and a challenging one in the beginning…but after a while it does become easier…and if you slip, to forgive yourself and move on.

til next time…Evacountry roads 002aphoto by Eva…Country Road