Sometimes it feels like a fact of life that if you live long enough, you’re likely to acquire a vice or two along the way. In most cases, an adult’s vices aren’t particularly harmful. There’s nothing especially wrong, for instance, with pouring a bit of cream into your coffee in the morning or drinking a beer after work. Those vices are really only going to become problematic if you don’t exercise moderation. On the other hand, though, there are also certain vices – smoking, for instance – that represent terrible risks to your health even if you indulge in them infrequently.
The reason why unhealthy choices eventually become long-term habits is because they taste good or feel good. In some cases, they even cause addiction. Considering the positive response that your body gives you when you indulge in a vice, it’s no wonder that many people have trouble quitting their unhealthy habits. In this article, we’re going to suggest an alternative strategy. Giving up something that you enjoy is always difficult – so don’t try. Instead, replace a vice with an alternative that’s just as pleasurable but doesn’t carry the same risk. Before long, you’re likely to notice a significant difference in the way you feel. You may even notice a reduction in your waistline.
Looking for some ideas? We’ve got four good ones to help you get started. Make these substitutions if you can’t quit your favorite vices.
Substitute Vaping for Smoking
Without a doubt, smoking is one of the deadliest vices you can possibly acquire. Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to their health, but hundreds of millions of people around the world choose to smoke anyway. The governments of the world have tried to hammer the message home by increasing tobacco taxes to unbelievably high levels, but people continue to buy cigarettes anyway because nicotine is one of the world’s most addictive substances.
So, what can you do if you’re a smoker? If you’ve been smoking long enough, chances are that you’ve already tried to quit with the help of a traditional smoking cessation product like nicotine gum. Since the success rates with traditional nicotine replacement products are extremely poor, it’s also likely that you failed to quit. What you need to do instead is replace smoking with vaping. Grab a vape pen and some Pure ELiquids, and you’re set to go.
Vaping is more satisfying than traditional forms of nicotine replacement because it tastes dramatically better than other nicotine products and because nicotine is much more satisfying when you inhale it. Research actually suggests that using an e-cigarette increases your chance of quitting smoking even if you aren’t trying to quit.
Substitute Hard Seltzer for Beer
Have you noticed how popular hard seltzer has become over the past few years? In some supermarkets, it’s almost gotten to the point where there’s actually more seltzer than beer. That’s an important comparison to make because beer is precisely the segment of the alcohol market that hard seltzer exists to capture. Specifically, hard seltzer is designed to appeal to you if you’re the type of person who would normally buy light beer. While a can of light beer typically has around 150 calories and 15-30 grams of carbohydrates, hard seltzer generally has about 100 calories and 2 grams of carbohydrates.
If you primarily drink light beer, there’s a good chance that you don’t love the flavor. It’s more likely that you simply like the fizziness and enjoy the relaxing effect of drinking a beverage with a little alcohol. If that’s the case, you’re exactly the type of person who should try seltzer instead. If you drink a couple of beers every night after work, those calories will really add up – and as you probably know, it’s hard to lose excess weight without minimizing your intake of carbohydrates. If you drink seltzer instead of beer, you may find it easier to shed those extra pounds.
Substitute Milk for Cream
Do you enjoy adding cream to your coffee every morning? Let’s suppose that you drink one cup of coffee per day and that you add two tablespoons of cream – or perhaps half and half – to your beverage. Take a look at how heavy cream and half and half compare to milk with a serving size of two tablespoons or one fluid ounce.
- Heavy Cream: 101 calories, 11 g fat, 32 mg cholesterol
- Half and Half: 36 calories, 3.2 g fat, 10.6 mg cholesterol
- Whole Milk: 19 calories, 1 g fat, 3.1 mg cholesterol
As you can see from the list above, switching from heavy cream to half and half – or from half and half to milk – can substantially reduce your consumption of excess calories, fat and cholesterol in the morning. Want to go even further? One fluid ounce of unsweetened soy milk contains 4.1 calories, 0.2 g of fat and no cholesterol – and it’ll still reduce coffee’s acidity and bitterness.
If you drink a cup of coffee every morning, switching from half and half to whole milk can reduce your caloric consumption by over 6,000 calories per year. That’s three days of calories eliminated, just from making one simple substitution. If you switch from half and half to soy milk, The difference is close to 12,000 calories per year.
Substitute Veggie Protein for Meat
Every dyed-in-the-wool carnivore loves an old-fashioned meat dinner. Meat consumption, however, doesn’t do anything for your cardiovascular health or for your waistline. Let’s use the old-fashioned burger as an example. A quarter-pound beef patty has 308 calories, 20 g of fat and 101 mg of cholesterol. A popular veggie burger brand, on the other hand, has 250 calories, 18 g of fat and no cholesterol.
If you don’t think that you enjoy veggie protein, it’s probably because you haven’t eaten it recently. These days, the makers of veggie meats have analyzed animal meat on a molecular level and do a better job than ever of replicating it with plant-based ingredients. Today’s veggie meats aren’t just salty pucks of soy protein; they’re legitimately delicious. More importantly, substituting veggie protein for meat – even if it’s just for a meal or two per week – can make a major difference in your total consumption of calories, fat and cholesterol.