Do you ever look at the state of your life and wonder how you managed to pick up so many vices and guilty pleasures over the years? If you’re of a certain age, there’s a good chance that you’re a bit heavier than you’d like to be or that you have an unwelcome habit or two – like smoking, for instance. As you’ve probably already learned, though, quitting a long-term habit is never easy regardless of how much you might want to do it.
In this article, we’re going to propose an easier way to manage the guilty pleasures in your life. Instead of thinking of things in terms of just quitting the vices that you know aren’t best for your health, think in terms of replacing those things with alternatives that are better for you but no less satisfying. That way, you’re less likely to feel like you’re missing out on the things you enjoy. Here are a few suggestions that can help you get started.
1. Replace Smoking with Vaping
Smoking deserves a place in any discussion of life’s guilty pleasures because, no matter how much you may enjoy tobacco, there’s no way to get around the fact that it’s going to shorten your life in the long run. Unfortunately, there’s also no way of getting around the fact that smoking is extremely difficult to quit. The easiest way to eliminate tobacco use from your life is by replacing it with something that’s just as enjoyable, and that “something” is vaping. Tens of millions of people around the world have switched successfully from smoking to vaping, and the reason is because inhalation makes vaping more satisfying than traditional nicotine replacement therapies. Vaping also tastes infinitely better than cigarette smoke. Why would you want to smell like an ashtray all day when you could fill your room with the sweetness of Smores by Loaded from vapejuice.com instead?
2. Replace Soda with Carbonated Water
If you weigh a bit more than you like and are a habitual soda drinker, replacing your soda habit is something that can potentially help you improve your body shape almost immediately. Constant soda consumption is almost as bad for your health as eating several bags of candy each day. To make matters worse, current research suggests that replacing regular soda with diet soda is not going to solve the problem. In fact, the available data seems to indicate that diet soda may contribute just as much to obesity as regular soda – perhaps because the artificial sweeteners alter the balance of microbes in your digestive system. Whatever the reason may be, switching to diet soda isn’t the solution if you want to lose weight. Instead, try plain unsweetened carbonated water. You’ll still get to enjoy fizzy drinks, and you may actually lose a few pounds in the process.
3. Replace Meat with Veggie Protein
At this point, there can be no question that meat consumption does more harm than good from a health standpoint. Most types of meat have an unhealthy balance of omega fatty acids, and there is no amount of dietary cholesterol that’s good for you. Even if you don’t have a negative opinion of meat from a health or animal welfare standpoint, though, there’s no denying the fact that meat production is a major contributor to global warming. So, whether you’re doing it for your health, the environment or your karma, replacing meat with veggie protein at least a few times a week can be a great thing. Luckily for the meat lovers of the world, veggie protein is tastier and more satisfying today than ever before. The latest veggie burgers taste almost like real meat and are a great place to start.
4. Replace Ice Cream with Shaved Ice
Almost everyone craves something sweet some time to time. If your guilty pleasure isn’t soda or candy, maybe it’s ice cream. It’s always fun to enjoy your sweets cold – especially when the temperatures are as warm as they have been this summer. Ice cream is a completely unique food. There’s nothing else with quite the same combination of coldness and creaminess. Although it isn’t quite the same experience, you should try replacing ice cream with shaved ice. A classic Hawaiian treat, shaved ice replaces the traditional custard base of ice cream with ice that’s shaved to a fine powder and topped with sweet syrup and condensed milk. Shaved ice is about as sweet as ice cream, but it’s a healthier alternative because it’s significantly less fatty – especially if you omit the condensed milk. It’s becoming increasingly popular in the mainland United States, so give it a try the next time you’re craving something cold and sweet.
5. Replace Lasagna Noodles with Eggplant Slices
Are you a pasta lover? If you are, you may have heard about the trick of replacing noodles with spiralized zucchini. It’s significantly lower in calories and carbohydrates compared to pasta, and it has a texture that’s very reminiscent of actual noodles. Zucchini is so much lower in calories, in fact, that you can cover your dishes with sauce and cheese and still lose weight in the long run. Here’s another idea that you may not have thought of: Slice eggplant thinly with a mandolin and layer it with sauce and cheese in a baking dish to make a healthier version of lasagna. If you like eggplant parmigiana, you’ll probably love eggplant lasagna.
6. Replace Beer with Hard Seltzer
If you’re a beer drinker, you’re probably well aware of the fact that your beer consumption is doing absolutely nothing to help your expanding waistline. Beer is so high in carbohydrates that it’s almost like drinking bread – and although low-carb beer does exist, it’s not going to make a huge difference if you’re the type of person who goes through an entire six-pack on football days. Try hard seltzer as a low-calorie and low-carb alternative. You’ll still get the fizziness you enjoy, but you won’t get all of the extra carbs that make it impossible for you to stay slim.