Junk Food Swaps: Ditch the overwhelm and make these simple switches!

Junk Food Swaps: Ditch the overwhelm and make these simple switches!

Today I'm going to show you WHY it matters so much to me and how to get started making your own healthier swaps.

My journey in the pursuit of optimal health began 25 years ago...

On March 15th of 1999, a third doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression. 

He explained to me that I would need to be on Prozac for the rest of my life and that over time my dosage would need to be 'adjusted' as my body got used to it. 

No mention of lifestyle changes. 

No attention to the fact that I came in BECAUSE I had been fainting out of the blue.

No discussion of diet or meditation to mitigate stress.

Just a quick little "take this forever. K, bye."

It was in that moment I had a wake up call...

I could either surrender my power to a drug that would dull my senses for life OR I could accept the fact that I was the one in charge of my life...

My habits...

My eating...

My weight...

and ultimately, my health.

I decided to skip the meds, find a natural solution instead, and...

Go to culinary school to learn how to make the foods that I was addicted to HEALTHY for me. 

See, I was a long-time food addict. And it always felt 'beyond' my control. 

Until that moment where I had no choice but to face it.

And I was finally ready to turn my life around. 

I KNEW I was a food addict. I knew I was wallowing in self pity. I KNEW I was harboring every negative thought to the point of internal self destruction.

So the ONLY person who could solve the issue was ME.

When I got to school and expressed my reasons for being there, my teachers laughed in my face!

"You can't make these foods HEALTHY! Fat is flavor! Sugar is flavor! Without these, you lose the quality of the food all together!"

But the BIGGER question wasn't JUST about fat or sugar. 

And at the time, I didn't even understand what 'GMO' meant or how glyphosate was destroying my gut health...

Or that artificial colors and preservatives were correlated with mental health issues and diminished immunity. Both of which I'd been struggling with for YEARS.

All I knew was that I needed to completely transform my relationship with food and learning to respect it as an ART was the first step.

Eventually, I lost 80 pounds. I gave up junk and fast foods. I stopped feeling depressed about everything. 

Life was...hopeful once again.

But then the BIGGER questions began presenting themselves...

Why was it that 'thinner' people could eat junk foods and it didn't affect them the way it affected me?

Why were bodybuilders able to eat sugar and fat without getting fat? 
Why was MY body so different that I was such a 'victim' to these foods?

And the biggest one...

What does 'healthy' even mean?!?!

During my first two years as a professional chef, I studied everything from veganism to Atkins.

And in all of that I saw something I'd never expected to find...

What is 'healthy' for each person depends on genetics, their area of residence, the time of year, their time of life, and for women...

their time of the month.

Humans are resilient creatures who NEED constant change. 

There is NO one-size-fits-all diet. 

And one diet doesn't work forever.

If you want to learn all about YOUR body's needs, join us for the next Intuitive Eating Course! You can get on the waitlist here.

What my condescending teachers hadn't considered was how the food was grown, what types of chemicals they were exposed to in the growing process, and the potentially toxic ingredients (cue artificial colors and flavors) that were contributing to the damage junk foods cause. 

Additives like...

Artificial colors that have been linked to hyperactivity, gut issues, and allergies. [1]

Preservatives, like TBHQ, that have been shown to negatively impact immune health. [2]

So when you're choosing foods to support a healthy lifestyle, it's best to avoid the things that aren't sourced from real food and choose the foods that come directly from the source.

But that can be TOUGH when you're tired, stressed out, and short on time with minimal energy to make the right swaps. I get that.

You want food to TASTE good and if you aren't familiar with cleaner foods, you're probably assuming that 'healthier' means tasteless.

So if you're at the starting gate, and feeling a little overwhelmed with making the big shifts, here are some of my favorite First Step swaps to get you started.

Through the years I have tested literally THOUSANDS of 'natural' products and these are some of my favorite 'treat' foods. 

These are BEGINNER swaps meant for those of you who are still buying the big brands. And seriously, once you try these swaps, you'll wonder why you waited so long to make the change...FR FR.

We'll start with Goldfish which are LOADED with gut-destroying glyphosate. Swap these out for Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies. They are savory, crispy, and delicious. 

You can trade in your Welch's Fruit Snacks (containing artificial colors like Red 40 which has been linked to migraines, allergies, and mental disorders in children), and try YumEarth Organic Fruit Snacks instead. They are sweet, chewy, and insanely delicious.

Instead of Coke or Pepsi, try OliPop Cherry Cola or Rowdy Mermaid Cola. Traditional sodas have high-fructose corn syrup made with GMO corn and of course, loaded with glyphosate. But these swaps are gut-friendly drinks that taste great and help to support a healthy microbiome!

Switch out your Kind bars (containing glucose syrup and palm kernel oil) for an Organic Tosi Bar. They have fewer grams of fat, half the carbs, and won't stick to your teeth the way Kind bars do.

Instead of buying Doritos (loaded with artificial colors and artificial flavors...linked to hyperactivity, allergies, headaches, gut issues, etc.), go for Late July chips. Their Garden Ranch and Nacho Cheese flavors are SO good! As are just about every other flavor they make. And they don't contain any of the artificial STUFF that Doritos do. 

Instead of choosing a Reese's Peanut Butter cup (containing preservatives known to inhibit the immune system and traces of glyphosate), try Organic ChocXO Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. These are free of preservatives and are keto-friendly too!

If you're a Kraft Mac n Cheese fan, try Goodles with 10g of protein and 6g fiber. They are Clean Label certified which means they are free from over 400 contaminants. No other mac n cheese can say that. Plus, it's wicked good! They even have some incredibly sophisticated flavors for grown ups who still love a boxed mac n cheese. 

And if you're stuck on Quaker Oats, try One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oats. The sprouting helps them digest easier and the texture is out of this world. Certified to be free of glyphosate residue, heavy metals, pathogens and gluten.

As you can see, making healthier choices is not JUST about fat and sugar.

It's about toxins. It's about unnecessary additives. 

It's about avoiding the many hidden DANGERS in our everyday snacks and food supply that wreak havoc on our health.

When you're starting to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle, it's important to start with ONE swap at a time so your body and your palate can get used to the 'missing' toxins that you've become accustomed to. 

And in that process, your body will stop craving the JUNK in junk food and begin craving the FOOD in healthier food. 

Which of these swaps will you try first? 

You deserve the best. 

Choose wisely.

-Alida, The Oracle

PS: Our next Intuitive Eating course begins April 26th. If you're ready to learn how to listen to your body, understand the difference between cravings and true hunger, and create a loving and intentional relationship with your body, this course is for you!

Click the HERE to get on the waitlist.


1. https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/71/5/268/2460188?login=false

2. https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/study-preservative-used-pop-tarts-and-hundreds-popular-foods-may-harm

Back to blog