At the age of 20, I started losing hair and along with that discovery I had to completely re-adjust my life. Diet was the biggest contributor to my hair loss. It was shocking how many typical supermarket foods I relied on, I could no longer eat! It made me take a serious look at what I was eating without even realising.
The food industry has come a long way. There are more and more companies who are creating foods with sensitivities and allergies in mind. This means we can eat good food, without having to wonder about what other ingredients are being hidden along with it.
These days, I can be a little more flexible with my diet, so it’s much easier, but I do know the struggle of finding food alternatives.
Read on to find some of my tried and tested alternatives to conventional foods. They gave me so many more options and variety to my diet.
I went through a period where I didn’t eat any type of flour and unfortunately that also meant cutting out rice noodles. I’m Thai and I’ve lived my ENTIRE life on noodles prior to my diet shakeup so it was a struggle! When I found these, I was so happy! They are thinner than normal noodles but when they’re cooked they don’t break apart and have good bite. They are free from corn starch, modified starch, thickening agents, salt, wheat, dairy and egg.
I ate these exclusively for quite a while and never had any digestion issues. They also have a range of different rice and brown rice noodles, but these and the organic brown rice pasta are the best. I don’t use those for pasta dishes, rather miso based soups because once they’re cooked, they’re very similar to udon noodles.
Once I recovered from being at my most sensitive state, the first thing I started eating again was rice paper rolls. I’m addicted to those things. My favourite to use now are from this brand. They have a little more flavour than the plain ones and the purple helps make them look even more appealing! In terms of how they work, they’re very easy to roll as long as you wet them properly.
If you’re used to eating conventional chocolate, it’ll take a little to get used to the taste of these. Once you’re converted you won’t go back! This version and the Cashew Mylk Chocolate are the best to start off with because they’re very creamy and sweeter than the others. My other favourite is the Raspberry cashew, but they do have ones with a higher percentage of raw cacao.
Another brand that I can eat without issue is from Pana Chocolate. I can only have the 80% or 60% (pictured here). It’s nice but super dense, almost like eating a brownie, so it’s not the one I’d choose first!
Ok, so I don’t really believe that you can have healthy chips … but you can have healthier chips! These are the only ones I’ve found that I can eat without having digestion problems. The oil they cook with is avocado and they don’t use artificial flavourings. I would have never touched these when I was at my most sensitive. Now that my body has settled, whenever I have cravings for chips, these are my choice. My favourite ones are the Malt Vinegar and Seasalt and Seasalt and Cracked Pepper.
These have a grand total of two ingredients: Corn and sea salt! They taste great, are easy to heat and hold up well with fillings. I hadn’t had soft tacos for so long but now that I can buy these at most health food stores, it’s opened up a completely new meal option for me.
This salsa is a delicious alternative. It tastes so fresh and has a good kick, all made without white sugar and any oil. I love spice, so the medium is best, but there is also a mild.
This quick and easy packet pasta is gluten free, vegan, soy and nut free. It is packed full of flavour and they have a free different options. I much prefer the one with mushrooms and I often add extra. They also have a pizza dough, some bread and cake mixes so check them out if you’re after some gluten free alternatives to conventional foods.
Did you know that most wasabi that’s pre-made in a tube or sachet most likely doesn’t have any wasabi in it? This is because it needs to be prepared fresh and with the right tools! The compounds in this root begin to break down as soon as they’re exposed to air. Even the type of grater used can affect the taste! My biggest issue with the fakes is that they have flavour enhancers, preservatives and oils added to form the paste.
Fresh wasabi root is quite the luxury unfortunately. It’s expensive and hard to buy fresh. I first saw Sushi Sonic in Wholefood. This isn’t pure, but it’s the highest concentration I’ve seen that’s still affordable.
If you’re after a stronger flavour, and cheaper alternative try this one from Eden. The ratio of horseradish to wasabi is much higher, but this means you need a lot less.
So there you have it! Some of my favourite alternatives to conventional foods that even my sensitive stomach can handle. I’d love to hear if you have some go-to pantry staples that are healthier versions of their counter-parts. What companies are bringing out new products you want to try? Let me know in the comments below.