by Olivia Nelson
Why are people increasingly interested in choosing “Healthy Food”?
Before I even begin to answer this question, I’d like to discuss the irony of the phrase “Healthy Food”: if food is the energy source we fuel our bodies with, shouldn’t it always be based on health?
Unfortunately, it seems, not so much. In a society where junk food rules as the comfort of the masses, type 2 diabetes is soaring on an international level and social media appears to be obsessed with how many ways we can eat literally pounds of melted cheese on every item we consume, the phrase “healthy food” could be construed as an oxymoron.
Fortunately, saner minds are prevailing and the trend of eating food that is actually healthy is becoming more and more of a mainstream concept. If you are teetering on the fence about how important healthy food is to you and your loved ones, here are 3 reasons to rethink that deep-fried snickers bar:
1. Maintaining a healthy weight
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to lose weight or gain it. Every human being has an optimal body weight, based on their genetics, lifestyle, age and current health status.
If you are looking for a permanent, balanced and sensible way to manage your weight; eating healthy foods including organically sourced, toxin-free vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, fish and dairy, in serving sizes that accurately reflect the correct amount of fuel your body needs to meet your individual goals is an evidence-based solution.
2. Food as preventative, curative and restorative medicine
You could eat whatever you want and try to make up for your nutritional sins with vitamins and supplements. Or, you could eat healthy food and cut out the middle man.
Healthy foods, in their purest, least processed state contain all the vitamins and minerals you need, in amounts that easily convert with a bit of planning, to a day’s worth of preventative and restorative pills.
The research has been conducted and collected and we know that eating healthy can prevent type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers as well as promote cardiovascular health, balanced “good gut” bacteria and help restore mental clarity and an overall heightened sense of wellbeing.
3. Pound-wise savings
Please excuse the pun, but healthy eating can save you money in the long run, despite the initial sticker shock you may experience when shopping for organic, healthy produce and protein sources.
As you become more experienced as a healthy food shopper and cook, you will find that your tastes will change, and you will not be spending money on empty, craving-based and calorie laden coffee drinks, late afternoon, sugary and carb laden snacks and late-night microwave and freezer product fests full of empty calories and processed “food”. The savings continue, as you gain health and wellness and stop taking over the counter pain relievers and antacids.
The money really adds up as you eventually start dodging health crisis bullets that require expensive lab tests, specialists and hospital stays that are increasingly, NOT completely covered under standard insurance plans.
What are 4 of the latest trends in Healthy Food Consumption?
If you are at all worried that eating healthy food in its purest state sounds boring or challenging, fear not! These four trends as well as many others ensure that the road to healthy eating offers new and different, yet convenient culinary adventures at every juncture.
1. Plant Based Meats
Whether you are a committed vegan, having a dalliance with vegetarianism, or a meat lover looking for healthier alternatives, plant-based meats have the answers to your protein intake questions.
This newest crop of meat alternatives is a far cry from the tofurkey of yore. The newest plant-based meat offerings look, taste and cook like they’re off the hoof. Peas and beets are major contributors so far and burgers are the most successful item to date, but poultry and fish can’t be far behind in this exciting new range of foods!
2. Pea Protein You Can Drink
Speaking of peas, and pea protein, it’s not just available in a burger. Pea milk is making a splash as the newest non-dairy vegan alternative to traditional animal milk. Benefits include offering a nut-free solution for those with allergies, high levels of protein per serving as well as double digit percentages of daily calcium and vitamin D recommended needs in each glass. This also can be your additional ingredients for your smoothie.
3. Soup In a Bottle
Soup has long been a dieter’s best friend, full of low calorie goodness in a warming liquid that fills you up. Drinkable soups are the latest rage in bottled, portable and down right tasty nutrition that packs your 5 to 10 veg a day requirement in a convenient, condensed meal. No cooking is required with these bottles o’ soup. Just twist off the lid and enjoy, anywhere, anytime you need a healthy food-filled meal!
4. Frozen TV Dinners Get a Makeover That’s Going Viral
The road to healthy, organic frozen dinners that actually look, and taste appetizing is littered with disappointing attempts. Not that ORIGINAL TV dinners were anything to write home about, but I digress…2018 has heralded in a new chapter in frozen food history that ups the ante from healthy frozen dinners that feature bland, “nuts n’ berries” wholesomeness to exciting new offerings that feature the best of aquaculture, low sodium and process-free whole grains, and veggies that can stand up to their fresh counterparts in taste and texture.
What’s Next? The Future of Healthy Food:
If I had a crystal ball that could predict healthy food trends as well as it could align my chakras, I’d be a lucky health and wellness writer. Until then, here’s some food for healthy thought…
A rise in consumer healthy food demand WILL be supplied by mainstream food manufacturers: I think of this statement as the “umbrella” prediction about healthy food of the future. In the spirit of “everything old is new again” and having lived for more decades than I wish to divulge, when I go to a farmer’s market, or an organic food coop or a farm to table restaurant and buy ingredients or a fully cooked meal, it always viscerally reminds me of my childhood, and how food – ALL food – used to taste.
In the days before GMOs and processing for preservation and mass production, food was consistently much fresher, locally sourced and seasonal. The only difference between the food of yesterday and today’s organic food is that it is harder to find and therefore pricier than “regular” food at a supermarket. I notice when I travel to Europe that no matter where I shop, whether it’s the local Coop or Lidl discounted superstores, the food is much less processed and much more regulated.
Hopefully this is a trend that will catch on in larger countries and become mainstream practice. In the meantime, what each and every one of us can do is advocate loudly and clearly for these higher yet “old fashioned” standards for all the food we purchase and consume.
Education and positive modelling WILL build an audience for healthy food: I will never understand why as a society we don’t teach children from a very young age all about their bodies and how they miraculously work, including age appropriate anatomy, myology and nutrition.
Fortunately, of the three we are getting much better with the nutrition piece. What with school gardening, healthy breakfast and lunch programs and after school healthy cooking clubs, our “babes” are literally going home and educating their elders.
This is where we need to, as adults do much more positive modeling. It’s one thing to give a child healthy eating books and games, but the message becomes muddied if we persist in our own bad habits, drinking our sugar filled coffee drinks and mindlessly eating salt laden carbs straight up from the “family-sized” bag!
As we age, our health and wellness needs WILL add up to positive change in the healthy food industry: This one is a no brainer – We are living longer and feeling younger. We don’t have the mindset of our grandparents, nor are we happy to settle for false teeth and soft food.
If we want to live our truth, we need to up our game with healthy food we can continue to afford buying on a post-retirement income. We are mighty and many, and our numbers are increasing each and every day. If we band together and insist on only spending our food dollars on healthy food, dollars to whole-grain donuts, that affordable healthy food will be made available throughout the food industry.
Fiscal Wellness WILL eventually win over folks who scoff at the need to eat healthy: If you can’t win over someone to the healthy side of food with all the standard wellness arguments, talk to their pocketbook. You will be amazed at how fast they, too will advocate for the mainstreaming of healthy food. Big Pharm and the medical biz are money gobbling entities that are never satisfied by the endless cash that is thrown at them. Ultimately it makes sense to consume healthy food as preventative, curative and restorative natural medicine, and as more and more people get on the health wagon, the profit margins that currently prohibit everyone from being able to afford healthy food will grow thinner and thinner. The quality of the food you consume today will ensure the quality of your life tomorrow.
Saving the Planet WILL necessitate farming and food manufacturing practices that go “back to the basics” of healthy food: When it comes to people and taking care of the environment, there are folks all over the spectrum, from doom sayers who figure nothing matters because it’s already too late to save the planet, to balanced types who genuinely get the concept of limited resources and try everyday and every way to live within a smaller footprint, to the hedonists amongst us who flatly refuse to understand, or care about the state of our universe.
Oddly, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to start fixing the problem. Food production wise, if we again learn to depend on independent farming and local and seasonal sourcing for our food, we will automatically save endlessly on fossil fuel consumption, toxic waste and chemical run-off from mass production practices that currently “feed” the masses increasingly inferior and altered food.
So…. Is Healthy Food just a trend or a viable health and wellness solution?
My short answer: It’s both!
Trends pique our interest and make us pay attention to lessons that has been oft repeated, but with a new way of looking at them. Healthy food trends are newsworthy and make us look at personal challenges with new found enthusiasm and renewed hope.
I think healthy food trends offer opportunities to make new converts, shake up the choir and renew old promises. And, when healthy food trends inspire and motivate a person to be more mindful of how healthy they are eating, it strengthens the argument for universal healthy eating habits. So yes, today’s healthy food trend is an essential tool in building a solid foundation of healthy eating as a pillar of tomorrow’s civilization.
A civilization that looks to its past for long forgotten healthy eating rituals and traditions, looks to its present for current health stressors and impediments that can be resolved with healthy eating programs and regimes and looks forward to the day when healthy food is the universally accepted and expected standard throughout our world; the great equalizer to humanity and health.
All that being said, you don’t have to wait for the revolution to commence to start eating healthy! Take it one day, and one habit at a time. Incorporate healthy food into your life and soon you will be reaping the benefits of a healthier, more mindful and balanced lifestyle; a lifestyle where in a world that seems at times to be of great uncertainty, you get to be the captain of your health’s destiny.