This amazing guest post was written by Stephanie Dodier, clinical nutritionist, speaker, and creator of the Dodier Protocol. To learn more, check out Stephanie’s website!
I’m a nutritionist and I love pizza. I bet you do, too!
In a recent survey, kids 3 to 11 years old preferred pizza to any other food. The average North American adult consumes 46 slices of pizza in a year… There’s no doubt that we love pizza!
Unfortunately, our love for pizza can be dangerous to our health and has been contributing to the poor health of many people. Because we love pizza so much, the food and restaurant industries are using ingredients that are less than healthy, mainly because of their desire for profit. We must remember that their primary goal is to make money and not to make us healthy.
The Problem With Pizza Ingredients: How Bad is Pizza For You?
Let’s start with the crust. It’s likely made with refined white wheat flour, which has a very high glycemic index due to the refining process. Wheat flour will cause your blood sugar to spike, leading to the release of insulin that will take the excess sugar in your blood and store it as fat. Furthermore, wheat flour contributes to chronic inflammation. 
The next big problem with most restaurant-made or store-bought pizzas is the use of various vegetable oils. If you look at the ingredient list, some types of vegetable oil that are typically listed are canola oil, rapeseed oil (another form of canola oil), soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. The problem with these types of vegetable oil is that, like wheat flour, they are also known to promote inflammation.  Vegetable oils are used in the making of the crust, the sauce, sometimes the toppings, like most forms of processed pepperoni.
Cheese may also cause health problems due to its lactose content, which some people can’t digest because they lack the enzyme called lactase. This may lead to bloating, gas, acid reflux, weight gain, and constipation or diarrhea.
How to Make Healthy Pizza
The good news here is you don’t have to give up pizza. I believe you shouldn’t give up pizza because you are likely to develop a feeling a deprivation. This feeling of being deprived will only make you crave pizza even more. As time goes by, you are more and more likely to head to the nearest pizzeria and eat all the pizza to your heart’s content. Soon, you’ll realize that you’ve just eaten too much of it. (Sound familiar?)
In my own health journey and through my patients’ experiences, I’ve found that one of the best ways to prevent cravings for junk food is to “healthify” them so we can satisfy our food memories and taste buds and prevent raging cravings. We simply swap the unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones! They have the same look and same feel, but they are health promoting instead of devastating. In my opinion, they taste even better than the original.
Learn to make a quick and easy pizza at home that will satisfy your cravings without damaging your health and allow you to stay on track with your health goals!
How to Make a Healthy Pizza Crust
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One of the best options for a healthy pizza crust is an almond flour-based crust. I have swapped the wheat flour for almond flour and vegetable oils for coconut oil. Easily made, this pizza crust recipe will give you a crusty and crunchy pizza that is reminiscent of the old-fashioned pizza you used to enjoy. 
A cauliflower-based crust is also another great option.  It has a very low carbohydrate content so you can enjoy pizza to your heart’s content without having to worry about your blood sugar. The main ingredient—you guessed it—is cauliflower florets shredded in a food processor. Then, add a little bit of spice and some eggs, and voila! You’ve got yourself a healthy pizza crust!
One of the healthiest alternatives to topping your pizza with cheese is putting more toppings (see next section for my favorites) and drizzling the whole thing with nutty or an infused type of olive oil. The healthy fat content of the olive oil will tickle your taste buds the way cheese does.
You can also crack 1 to 2 eggs directly on top of your pizza as your last topping. Once the pizza is cooked, you can crack the yolks so that it will spread all over your pizza. The egg yolks will please your taste buds as cheese would.
Another alternative for cheese is my zucchini cheese (100 % dairy free) that will bring the cheesy taste to your pizza without any of the side effects of dairy. It’s very simple to make, has few ingredients, and is loaded with vegetables.
The best substitute for the traditional tomato sauce is pesto. You can learn to make your own pesto sauce here with a few simple ingredients.  Once you’ve made a batch, you can keep pesto in the fridge for up to 3 months. You can also use it as a marinade for chicken.
You can also make your own marinara sauce with this recipe here.  I also have been able to find very healthy organic tomato sauce made only with vegetable and olive oil at certain grocery stores. Just carefully check the ingredients.
This one is pretty easy… vegetables, more vegetables, and some more vegetables. I like to top my pizza with the traditional mushrooms and red peppers, but I also add some fresh tomatoes, spinach, and, very often, some avocado. Pick your favorite vegetables and load up your pizza with it. Don’t be afraid to experiment! For example, you can use grilled eggplants or some finely chopped zucchini, or even spinach.
When it comes to healthy toppings, the possibilities are endless. However, the number one question I always get is, what about pepperoni? Well, the healthiest substitute I have found for pepperoni is some traditionally prepared prosciutto, which is simply made with sea salt. You can read more about it here.  You can also add pre-cooked chicken, ground beef, or even seafood, like shrimp.
One last important layer to your healthy pizza is the flavoring. Add a few sprinkles of fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, chives, etc. You can also add some sweetness with fruits such as pineapple or zest it up with some sundried tomatoes or olives. This last layer will surely make you forget about store-bought or restaurant-made pizzas. You now have a new favorite here!
Depriving yourself of delicious pizza is not the answer to staving off your pizza cravings. After all, wouldn’t it be better to satisfy your cravings in a healthy way instead of resisting them? Learning to make healthy pizza is the best solution to your stubborn pizza cravings. If you are looking for a way to reduce your food cravings and your emotional eating, come over here and join us in a revolution to heal our food cravings!
 Punder, K. D., & Pruimboom, L. (2013, March). The Dietary Intake of Wheat and other Cereal Grains and Their Role in Inflammation. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705319/
 Esmaillzadeh, A., & Azadbakht, L. (2008, October). Home use of vegetable oils, markers of systemic inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction among women.
 Dodier, S. (2016, July 26). Pizza dough. Retrieved from http://www.stephaniedodier.com/pizza-dough/
 Dodier, S. (2017, March 10). Pizza the world healthiest option. Retrieved from http://www.stephaniedodier.com/pizza/
 Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe. (2015, December 28). Retrieved from https://paleoleap.com/homemade-pesto/
 T. (2016, September 25). Easy Paleo Marinara Meat Sauce Recipe. Retrieved from http://www.paleonewbie.com/paleo-marinara-meat-sauce/
 HOW IT IS MADE – Prosciutto di Parma. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.prosciuttodiparma.com/en_UK/prosciutto/how
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