When I first started shopping for “health food,” I had no idea what I was doing or if I would like any of these new products. With that in mind, I know that there are many products out there that claim to be healthy and either really aren’t healthy or they taste terrible. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite products that I think work and taste great.
Earth Balance Buttery Spread
This product wasn’t around when I stopped eating dairy 12 years ago. I remember using some yucky substitute that wouldn’t even melt at high heat! So I was VERY excited when it came along. I promise you will love this. It tastes so good that I don’t even tell house guests or my children’s friends that it’s a healthy butter substitute. They all like it. It’s made of 4 different oils and other natural ingredients. I can’t imagine my life without it. I spread it on toast, bake with it, fry with it, and melt it for popcorn. It’s available in health food stores and I’ve even seen it at Walmart. It comes in a few varieties like whipped organic, soy free, and original. The jumbo tub is a good deal so I get the original in a jumbo tub from Earth Fare and just keep refilling my smaller container.
Tamari is a naturally-brewed, gluten-free soy sauce with only a few natural ingredients. It’s my go-to ingredient whenever a recipe isn’t tasting quite right. Of course, it’s awesome in a stir-fry but I also add it to soups, casseroles, sauces, almost anything. But keep in mind that tamari is sodium, so using it is just like using salt. Note that tamari is a little stronger tasting than regular soy sauce so a little can go a long way in flavoring a dish. Make sure to read the label for any colorings or other chemicals. Organic tamari is best since it doesn’t contain genetically modified soy beans.
Kukicha Twig Tea
Kukicha twig tea is my daily drink. I like to start the day with a cup of hot tea. Luckily, this tea is also super healthy! Regular black tea is made from the leaves of the tea bush and it contains caffeine and is acidic to the body. Kukicha is made from the roasted branches of the tea bush so it has minimal caffeine and has an alkaline, healing effect. It’s energizing and also helps digestion. It tastes similar to black tea but with an added roasted flavor. I drink it straight but my kids like a few drops of stevia to sweeten it. You can make iced tea with it, too. I only buy the Eden brand which most health food stores carry. You can also order it from my favorite on-line store, Swanson Vitamin (www.swansonvitamin.com). One tea bag makes a lot of tea so use a jumbo mug like I do! To make iced tea, bring 8 cups of water to a boil, turn off heat, and add 5 Eden Kukicha Twig Tea bags. Let steep for at least 10 minutes. Let cool and store in a glass pitcher in the refrigerator. To drink, I add a few stevia drops to a glass and pour in the iced tea. Very refreshing!
Almond Milk and Coconut Milk
I’ve never been a milk drinker so I mainly use these milk substitutes for smoothies and in baking. I’m sure it makes fantastic chocolate milk, though. I like these two brands. They both work similarly in smoothies and baking so I buy whichever one is on sale. I always have 2 or 3 in my refrigerator. The best price I’ve found on these is at Kroger and Target. Since I like to control the amount of sugar I eat, I always get the unsweetened versions. For using over cereal, I think the Almond Breeze works better. The coconut milk (which doesn’t taste like coconut, just kind of neutral) is a little thicker. Both of these are great milk substitutes.
I hope you find this information helpful and that by learning a little more about these great products, you’ll give some of them a try.
I wish you good health!