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Make Junk Food Healthy the Easy Way

Pizza, pasta, pancakes, potatoes, and pastries … these five popular ‘p’ foods supply the common western diet with a bulk of its daily caloric intake.

The problem with these five foods and many others in the Standard American Diet (SAD; an appropriate acronym), isn’t only the superfluous saddlebag and love-handle bloating calories. The two primary ingredients--sugar and wheat--in these SAD foods can contribute to an array of chronic diseases.

The main source of carbohydrates in the ‘p’ foods is wheat. Modern wheat processing strips much of the grain’s nutritional value. Because of this, by the time wheat enters the small intestine, about halfway through the digestive process, it has been rapidly digested and turned into sugar; ancient wheat and other grains digest more slowly providing longer-lasting energy and less a release of insulin.

Habitually eating processed wheat, which rapidly turns into sugar, and eating other foods that are digested even more rapidly as simple sugars, over time, can lead to weight gain because the body’s cells can only store so much sugar; excess gets stored as body fat.

The booming rates of allergies, asthma and other medical disorders, could, at least in part, be attributable to the over consumption of processed wheat (read: Trying to go Gluten Free? Good Luck).

But the ‘p’ foods and other SAD foods can be transformed from calorie-laden, potential allergy-inducing, belly-bloating foods  into lean, tasty, healthy options simply by swapping only a few ingredients.

For some of the following, we’ll use a recipe from Blogilates.com, a website dedicated to practical, easy-to-follow nutrition and fitness tips.

Healthy Pizza

The primary chronic-disease inducing ingredient in pizza is the white flour dough, which has been beaten to a pulp and lots any nutritional benefit. You can make your own flatbread pizza by replacing white flour crusts with 100% whole wheat flour, which is healthier than white flour, but for those that are trying to reduce widespread inflammation in the body, there are other crusts that are healthier.

One recipe from Blogilates calls for a cauliflower crust. Yes, cauliflower. The Miracle Noodle team was skeptical at first but judging by the feedback received, it seems that the cauliflower-crust pizza is a hit.

Other healthy crust alternatives includes a quinoa crust and even a wild rice pizza crust. To cut out even more calories, get wild--and crazy--by experimenting with Miracle Rice.

If you’re a meat lover, ditch the heavily processed pepperoni and instead use pasture-raised, grass-fed beef for meatballs or nitrite- and nitrate-free pork for pepperoni.

Also eschew the gooey, over-cooked cheese found on most regular pizza and instead use an olive oil and garlic base. If you love cheese on your pizza try buying raw cheese or unpasteurized but lightly cook the cheese or add it towards the end of the cooking process.

Healthy Pancakes

Most pancakes, a short time after being consumed, feel like bricks sitting in your stomach for a while. Then, shortly after, somehow after feeling stuffed, you feel hungry again, even though you just ate a stack of flapjacks within the last two hours. That’s because the pancake batter is quickly converted into sugar. It’s like pouring the wrong type of fuel in your car.

To make pancakes healthier and even easier to cook, try this amazingly simple recipe from Blogilates.com, run by the super talented Cassey Ho. Ho’s pancakes calls for only two ingredients: a banana and two eggs. Simply mix the ripe banana and eggs in a bowl and make sure the banana is completely mashed. Then spray your pan with some extra virgin olive oil PAM, or coconut oil on low to medium heat, scoop some of the banana-egg batter, give it about 20-30 seconds, flip, and done!

This is probably the easiest and most all-natural pancake recipe you’ll encounter. Thanks, Cassey, for sharing with the Miracle Noodle Team!

And instead of topping your cakes with regular syrup, a serving of which contains over 50 grams of carbohydrates--simple sugars--add a dab of butter to slow down the rise in blood sugar, and also agave syrup. Agave, though it does have an effect on blood sugar, is slower than regular table sugar. Yacon syrup is even healthier for those who really have to watch their blood sugar levels. Top of your cakes with a handful of organic berries.

Healthy Potatoes

White potatoes are among the highest foods on the glycemic index, meaning that their carbohydrates convert rapidly into sugars. If you’re trying to improve diabetes and lower blood sugar levels, it might be good to ditch potatoes all together. The term ‘healthy potato’ for those with high blood sugar should be considered an oxymoron.

However, if you must have your spud and eat it, too, try consuming smaller potatoes as they will contain more minerals and less starch. Most of the minerals are in the skin of the potato so make sure you are eating the skin of a small or mid-size at most potato.

Colored potatoes have more carotenoids than white potatoes. Carotenoids are substances that give color to a vegetable. But more important than the attractive color, aka pigment, of a sweet potato or other varieties of colored potatoes is the cancer-fighting properties of the carotenoids.

When eating a potato, limit the rise in blood sugar by adding some natural fat to the spud. Also eat some lean protein on the side.

Healthy Pastries

Perhaps another dietary oxymoron, healthy pastries, or more accurately, healthier pastries, are cooked using, similar to healthy pancakes, flours that are much lower on the glycemic index. Again, almond flour and coconut flour are two popular healthier options.

The joys of the human experience include dessert. Abstaining from cakes, cookies and other pastries makes dietary sense if you’re trying to lose weight, but for many, it’s a short-lived experiment. Opt, instead for allowing yourself a couple of small servings of dessert per week.

You can even bake chocolate chip cookies using Miracle Rice! Read this blog for more dessert ideas using Miracle Noodle.

Healthy Pasta

If you’re familiar with Miracle Noodle, you know how easy it is to slash hundreds of calories from your diet every week. Shaped from the root of a variety of Japanese yam, Miracle Noodle contains zero net carbs and zero net calories. The Internet is packed with recipes using Miracle Noodle. You can also download for free the Miracle Noodle Recipe Book, an 82-page easy-to-follow cornucopia of healthy pasta ideas.

How great it is to be able to eat noodles every day without raising your blood sugar levels and packing on the pounds.

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