Here’s a quick and easy guide for turning a favorite recipe into a bone-healthy recipe, or for creating one from scratch!

1. Replace sugar with Xylitol. Xylitol is the commercial name for a naturally occurring sugar, called xylose, commonly derived from corncobs and birch trees. Xylitol is like other sugars in taste, but it as one major difference: The xylose molecule contains only 5 carbon atoms rather than the 6 of most other sugars. This molecular difference results in 40% fewer calories and a low glycemic index, as well as increased dental health. When cooking, I replace sugar with XyloSweet, an all natural Xylitol sweetener, in equal measures. XyloSweet is heat-stable for cooking and baking, and it mixes and dissolves just like table sugar. By replacing sugar with xylose, I avoid the insulin spikes, adrenal stress, and acid ash associated with table sugar.

2. Replace butter with Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread. Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread tastes, spreads, and bakes like rich butter, but it’s completely non-dairy! It’s churned from cold-pressed oils–truly natural oils–that are precisely balance and patented by nutrition researchers of Brandeis University to help improve the cholesterol ratio when used as a part of a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise regimen. It contains no genetically modified material, it is not hydrogenated, it is trans fat free…and it’s delicious!

3. Up the veggies, if possible, in proportion to meats. For example, when making beef stew, put in the normal amount of meat, but add a ton of veggies, such as, potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, onion, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, lentils, and snow peas.

4. Replace peanuts with almonds. Peanuts are acid-forming, while almonds leave an alkaline ash. Nuff said.

5. Steam in pure H2O or Saute in olive oil, rather than frying vegetables or meats at high heat. The body has a terrible time trying to digest fried foods, and fried foods leave behind a ton of acid in the blood! According to The Acid Alkaline Food Guide by Brown and Trivieri, all commercial fried foods are highly acid-forming. In fact, preparing potatoes as home fries by sauteing them in olive oil would be in the “low akaline-forming” category, while deep frying potatoes as french fries makes them “high acid-forming.”

6. Use fruit to provide sweet flavor. Want a sweeter almond butter sandwich? Add thinly sliced apples or banana to your sandwich. Want a sweeter cup of herbal tea? Throw in some organic raisins. Yummy!

7. Replace cow’s milk with almond milk. Cow’s milk–whether skim, low fat, or whole–is acid-forming. Almond milk, on the other hand, is alkaline-forming, and it tastes great! My brand of choice is: Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze (Unsweetened Vanilla flavor). It’s perfect for cereal, mashed potatoes, or just by itself!

8. Replace nitrates with no-nitrate meats. No-nitrate bacon can be found at Publix in the Greenwise section. No-nitrate lunch meats are available at both Wal-Mart and Publix.

9. Use free-range eggs. Some people worry about cholesterol from eggs, but fertilized eggs contain lecithin, which emulsifies the cholesterol. Free-range eggs are a good source of protein, and I usually eat or two a week.

10. Substitute leaner cuts of meat. For example, if the recipe calls for ground beef (27% fat), use lean Maverick beef (4% fat) instead. Other extra-lean cuts of beef include eye of round roast, bottom round roast, top round steak, and top sirloin steak. Other low-fat choices are turkey breast, both ground and whole, and chicken breast.

Bonus: To enhance the flavor of your recipes, try adding spices, nuts, and extracts. I add vanilla extract to oatmeal, as well as chopped walnuts and cinnamon.

Okay, let’s practice. Today I’m going to create a bone-healthy recipe for oatmeal cookies by converting the recipe on the Quaker Oats package step-by-step, and I’ll post it later today on this website. Would you like to try creating a bone-healthy recipe, too? If you make one, I hope you’ll share it with us!

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