This is the question I get most often. How do I turn my old favorite recipes into Real Food recipes? With a few simple purchasing changes and a little elbow grease on some homemade items, you can make your favorite recipes and I guarantee they will taste even better!
There are of course exceptions to this rule. If the recipe included anything from a box mix (like cake mix, etc.), toss it and find an alternative “from scratch” recipe that will be easier to adjust.
Hopefully my tips will help you get started.
If a recipe calls for vegetable oil, substitute with…
- For sautéing or frying, coconut oil (raw or Expeller-Pressed), Palm Oil or Ghee (clarified butter) – where to find quality oils
- For baking, Raw Virgin Coconut Oil or grass-fed butter – where to find coconut oil
- For cold dishes, Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil (test to ensure it is real olive oil by putting some in your refrigerator, if it solidifies then it is real EVOO)
- Or experiment with animal fats like beef tallow, lard or chicken schmaltz
If a recipe calls for margarine or vegetable shortening, substitute with…
If a recipe calls for sugar or brown sugar, substitute with…
- Raw honey, in equal measure
- Grade B maple syrup, cut in half
- Coconut sugar or Whole Cane Sugar (Rapadura) or Sucanat – I personally have not been able to tolerate these sweeteners so use them cautiously if you are trying to wean yourself off refined sugar
- Note – if the recipe is for candy then this swap will most likely not work so find a recipe with the real food sweetener you want to use and try that instead
- where to find quality sweeteners
If a recipe calls for salt (iodized or sea salt) substitute with…why?
- Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt or other whole mineral salts – where to buy salt
Broths and Stocks
If a recipe calls for boxed chicken or beef broth, substitute with…
- Traveling bone broth (dehydrated and ground chicken stock)
Choosing flours can be tricky. Whether you are gluten-free or grain-free or eat whatever flour you like then be sure you know your flours and how they will impact your system. To keep this simple:
If the recipe is calling for a couple of tablespoons of white flour as a thickener for sauces, substitute with…
- If grain free, 1 tbsp of coconut flour or arrowroot powder mixed with water to make a slurry
- If you can tolerate some grains, then just use the white flour – it is more easily digestible than substituting a whole grain flour and a couple of tablespoons never hurt anyone – where to find flours
If the recipe is calling for white flour for baking, substitute with…
- If you can tolerate some grains, experiment with sprouted spelt – it is lighter than whole wheat flour and also more easily digestible – where to find sprouted flour
- If grain free – sadly – you cannot do a measure for measure swap to coconut or almond flour – try to find a new recipe for what you are trying to make to experiment with these new flours – where to find coconut products
If a recipe calls for store bought mayonnaise, substitute with…
- Homemade mayonnaise which is very easy to make and will make your recipe that much more delicious. You can cut down on the salt content in your recipe as your homemade mayo will add a lot of flavor. Store bought mayo, even if labeled as olive oil mayo, contains soy and other vegetable oils (read the ingredients).
If a recipe calls for ketchup, substitute with…
- Homemade ketchup or just tomato paste in a pinch
If a recipe calls for pasta, depending on the recipe, substitute with…
- Rice or quinoa – where to buy grains
- Buckwheat noodles – did you know buckwheat isn’t a grain?
- Spaghetti squash
- Zucchini ribbons
If the recipe calls for any low-fat or no-fat dairy product, substitute with…
- Full-fat grass-fed dairy, preferably raw to include vital enzymes which aid in digestion – where to find raw dairy
If the recipe calls for any fake dairy products like soy milk, cheese or fake cream (usually vegetable oils and chemicals), substitute with…
- Coconut milk – where to find coconut milk
I also condensed all of this information into a nifty graphic which you can print out for your kitchen (or share online):
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