Have you heard of functional cooking?
Most of us start the new year with big plans to improve our diets. But small incremental changes may have bigger and more sustainable impact. I have a solution that I think you might like. It’s called functional cooking. That simply means improving the nutrition of recipes without changing the taste or time it takes to prepare them. Fortunately, there are quite a few of those recipes for you to try on theDomesticLifeStylist.com.
What’s also great about functional cooking, is that you can also use this same concept on the go!
Making dietary changes can be overwhelming. Sometimes, you just need a little push to do better. That’s why functional cooking is such a great idea. Often times, all you need to do is make a few ingredient swaps.
Where to start? Instead of white flour, use nut flours like almond flour or even chick pea flour. Substitute ground vegetables for half of the ground beef in a recipe. Use wild rice instead of white rice. Use more herbs and less salt. Swap corn tortillas for almond flour tortillas or lettuce wraps. And use toasted nuts instead of croutons. Try spiralized or riced vegetables in place of pasta and rice. Both are easy to make at home or find at your neighborhood grocery store.
I’m really passionate about dietary fiber, especially with new research coming out all the time about its benefits for everything from our gut and immune health to its ability to put us in a better mood. But it’s estimated that only about 5% of us are getting the recommended amount of fiber in our diets. That’s insane!
I’ve recently started adding a soluble fiber/probiotic supplement called Regular Girl to my foods and beverages. You can add it to anything except hot foods (heat harms the probiotics) and carbonated beverages. It won’t change the flavor, aroma or consistency and you’ll get 5 grams of soluble fiber without unwanted side effects like bloating and gas! It’s also available in on-the-go stick packs, which are perfect for travel and life on the go.
This year, I’m also encouraging you to make an oil change (not in your car) but, in your pantry. Most common cooking oils – corn, canola, soy – are high in omega 6s which can be very inflammatory. Inflammation is at the root of most disease. My functional cooking tip is to start cooking with certified sustainable palm oil. Not only is this oil easy to cook with as it’s harder to burn but, studies have shown it to be heart-healthy, even though it’s 50% saturated fats. After doing my own research, I’m using Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil because of that country’s strong environmental commitment. You can find it in specialty grocery stores and on Amazon.
Another easy functional cooking tip for salad dressings is to swap the bottled dressings for heart-friendly olive oil and vinegar. There’s no telling how long that stuff has been sitting on the shelf anyway. I love infusing garlic and herbs in my homemade dressings for additional flavor. Plus, garlic is full of anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and anti-cancer benefits.
Try functional cooking for a few months and let me know what you think.