- Grated cheese instead of sliced cheese (less cheese will go further).
- Use oat or wheat bran as a sauce, soup, or stew thickener (an easy way to increase soluble and insoluble dietary fiber).
- Add one part non-fat yogurt to one part avocado when making guacamole (this results in a lower fat, higher protein dip).
- Use the 50/50 principle. If your patients can't tolerate the change to lower fat, higher fiber, and less refined foods, suggest to them that they blend healthier alternatives to the foods they now consume. For example: (a) add one part non-fat yogurt for each part of sour cream, (b) add one part non-fat milk to each part low-fat milk, (c) add one part non-fat salad dressing to each part regular salad dressing, or (d) one part unsweetened applesauce to each part sweetened applesauce. You can be creative, and after analyzing the foods your patients normally consume, you can give them customized suggestions.
- For patients who eat canned or frozen foods, have them try to add something fresh or a legume to their meal. For example, if they eat canned chili, have them add a fresh bell pepper, onion or tomato. If your patient eats frozen foods such as a pot pie, after cooking stir in a can of rinsed, drained beans.
- For your patients who will not buy whole wheat or whole grain pancake or cookie mixes, try having them just add a tablespoon of wheat or oat bran to the batter. They will not taste it, but the benefits are obvious. Imagine, just a teaspoon of fiber for each cookie each American consumes, the health care savings from intestinal disease would be staggering.
- When ordering sandwiches out ask for mustard instead of mayonnaise, and vinegar instead of oil.
- Have your patients cover one-half of the holes on their salt shaker at home. Instruct them not to use salt until after cooking, and always taste their food before salting.
- Instead of butter, cheese, and sour cream, and for those who don't like yogurt, try non-fat cottage cheese on baked potatoes -- it's great.
Tips for the Junk Food Patient
Even these people can painlessly improve their diet. For example, instead of ordering a cheeseburger, large fries, and a large soda, suggest they order a hamburger, salad, and juice or tea. When dining out order salad dressing or potato toppings on the side: when done this way people will tend to use less. For those patients who hit the doughnut shop in the morning, suggest that they order a muffin instead of a doughnut. Even though most doughnut shop muffins are not low calorie foods, at least they are not deep-fat fried in rancid oil.
For your "pizza" patients, suggest they order their pizzas with a little less cheese. Suggest that if their pizzeria offers whole wheat crusts they try it. This author orders double vegetable pizzas with no cheese, and they taste great. Your hard core "junkie" patients, however, will probably need some cheese on their pizzas. The best types of pizza topping are vegetables, with the exception of olives, which are high in fat. There will be some patients who insist on meat toppings. For people in this category, have them order ham or Canadian bacon instead of pepperoni, sausage, or pork bacon.
Even the hot dog can be improved by using whole grain buns instead of traditional white flour product.
Finally, most Americans do not drink enough pure water. Furthermore, telling "junkies" to have eight glasses of water a day is a joke; they just won't do it. However, there is a good chance you can sell them on consuming one large 12 to 16 ounce glass of pure water every morning as soon as they wake up. It doesn't sound like much, but over time that extra 16 ounce of fresh water a day will have a very positive effect on their health.
G. Douglas Andersen, D.C.
Click here for previous articles by G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN.