Step By Step, Food Changes

Meg wrote in with the following, “For me, to truly change my eating habits, I have to go in very small and tasty steps. Once I find a healthier food or drink that I really like, after a few weeks of eating that I don’t miss the junk stuff and don’t feel deprived.

It would be great to find recipes / meal plans that “step you down” from junk to healthy organic by offering variations from A to B. For example, I’ve switched my typical breakfast from decaf with halzelnut non-dairy creamer and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese by first switching to whole wheat toast with a scrape of butter and cinnamon-sugar, then to one slice with the sugar, and finally to one slice of whole wheat bread with a scrape of butter or Nutella and a few spoonfuls of organic yogurt with walnuts.

I’m ready to tackle the (processed) decaf coffee with (chemical) halzelnut-flavored non-dairy creamer. Trouble is I really, really like the flavor and I don’t really like the taste of green tea (yet). Can you recommend a healthier breakfast beverage replacement that could be transformed in stages?

I find that lots of folks really like their coffee and have a hard time giving it up.  Part of it is the chemical addiction to caffeine.  What’s actually more harmful than the caffeine is the flavored non-dairy creamer. With Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Dipotassium Phosphate, and Sodium Caseinate this is not food.  I would say there is nothing wrong with one cup of coffee in the morning to get you started, just use real cream instead.  If you want to give up caffeine and switch to decaf that’s certainly a good thing to do, but that real cream is going to make it taste a whole lot better.  And it goes without saying that organic dairy is best, read this article for more information about that issue.  Green tea is certainly a great option, filled with anti-oxidants, but maybe starting with one cup of coffee and then switching to green tea for your other beverage choices (including water, water, water, and herbal teas) is the way to go.

The most important thing to remember about your breakfast menu is that you want to make sure you are getting some good protein, some fiber, and a healthy fat.  This will help you make it through the morning with stable blood sugar.  When choosing your bread make sure that you are getting WHOLE GRAIN instead of just whole wheat.  Unfortunately whole wheat doesn’t have all of the parts of the grain, so it’s not as healthy.  Marketers are aware of how much we look for those key words and so be aware that multi-grain is also not whole grain.  For butter, choose a good, organic, butter and you can have more than just a scrape.  For your yogurt and walnuts, that’s a great choice.  Organic full fat yogurt is best.  Again, it helps you feel full, gives you the protein that you need and helps you start your morning with a stable blood sugar.

About Mira

Mira Dessy is The Ingredient Guru. A holistic nutrition professional, author, and a popular public speaker, she knows that it's not just what you eat, but what's in what you eat. She is the author of The Pantry Principle: how to read the label and understand what’s really in their food. Dessy is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner whose mission is to educate and empower consumers. She curates the Lean Clean Green Subscription box, the premier, organic, earth-friendly, healthy, sustainable subscription box which can be found online at