A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What's the Next Fad Diet and Why?

We have all seen the ever popular "low-fat" and "low-carb" diets and how products are rolled out to capitalize on them. I remember seeing treats like Snackwells being marketed as low fat and therefore "healthy" even though there was just more sugar. "Low-fat" has mostly faded, but "low-carb" is hanging around and you can find many products still making their claims.

This topic always gets me fired up since I see/hear so many people make bold claims that one ingredient or the other is super bad or another ingredient is the best one to add to your diet.  Wrong!

After searching for a cure for my writer's block (just like Danni at Healthy Kitschy Vegan currently has), I found a great article about Real Food at Fooducate.com. It basically mentions the past and current fad diets and the problems with each one. The author goes on to explain just like there's not one bad food, there's not one good food either. Here's a quote from the post:

"..It is not about the one bad ingredient that is making us unhealthy. On the flipside, it is also not about the one good ingredient, like beta-carotene, that is making us healthier. It’s about the diet as a whole."

When you eat real food, as the post explains, you include whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies, legumes, and lean protein.  All of these foods contain essential nutrients our bodies need to recover from exercise, energize for the next work out, and just for daily living.

The better the quality (less processed), the better for you.  When you choose convenience foods, chances are nutrients have been altered or removed all together to get the desired taste or look for the mass market. I'd rather have my odd-shaped carrot or lumpy apple over something that looks too perfect and comes in box, bag, or plastic wrap.

For those just starting out on their journey to a healthier lifestyle, here are some great tips that were listed:

  • Choose products with 100% whole grains as often as possible. Please don’t underestimate your family’s taste buds. Try transitioning them onto the more wholesome flavor by mixing the whole with refined grains at first and slowly wean them off of the simple carbohydrates. There are also a wide array of brands and types of grains on the market today so experiment until you find a taste that you enjoy.
  • Swap half the white flour called for in your baking recipes with whole-wheat flour. Typically, the sweetener can also be cut in half without the sweetest of a tooth noticing.
  • Eat tons of fresh vegetables and fruits. Try to include them in all meals and snacks. You can do this by making the vegetable the focal part of your meal and building the rest of the foods around it as a side. For example, a BIG salad, topped with a 3 oz piece of wild salmon and a side of sweet potato.
  • Think about including beans in your meals and snacks more often. They are a great source of plant protein, fiber, phytochemicals, flavonoids, carotenoids, and lycopene.
  • Eat fewer convenience and processed foods. They’re full of added fat, sugar, salt, and additives.
  • Choose nonsugary beverages such as water, green tea (iced or hot), fresh fruit juice, and skim or soy milk.

  • Of course you can progress as you get more comfortable with the new, healthier way of living. I can't even enjoy another other than whole grains and hardly anything with sugar. I like some sugar, but like to be in control of everything I make.  Crazy, obsessed, weird? Maybe, but have you seen what goes on behind the scenes of food prep?  It's not pretty.

    So, if you're following a diet, or maybe have switched with the popular diet of choice, why not try just eating whole foods instead?  Don't omit certain food groups (allergy permitting), and do omit over processed junk that looks like food. Another great quote from the article:

    "With the current claim that sugar is a poison, a drug and enemy number one, I can bet what will happen: the food industry will grab hold of the “no sugar fad” and substitute fancy artificial ingredients for natural sugar and guess what? Americans will probably still get fatter."

    Agreed! I know I bring this topic up a lot, but it needs to be constantly discussed to get the message across it seems.  I think there is too much of a focus on calories right now and macronutrients are pushed aside.  So now a small single serve bag (wasteful packaging to me) that is only 100 calories makes those oreos "healthy"? Doubtful.

    Have you made any changes for the better lately? 

    Do you agree or disagree with this stance?

    Happy Saturday and thanks for reading! Oh yeah, the Artisana Foods contest has ended, check back on Monday to see the lucky winner!


    1. You know that I completely agree with this stance - eat real food, enjoy real flavors, limit the crap! I've changed my diet to Paleo and I'm completely obsessed with how great I feel!

    2. Thanks for the support, T! Glad the Paleo diet is working so well for you! Is your new fiance following too or think you're crazy? I'm used to people thinking I'm crazy....it's not so bad. : )