At the end of 2013, Today’s Dietitian released a survey where over 500 dietitians predicted this year’s nutrition trends. Gluten-free topped the list.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence to support a wheat-free or gluten-free diet for general health and weight loss (not associated with a clinical disorder of disease) consumers are jumping on the gluten-free wagon. This has been fueled with books like “Wheat Belly”, from cardiologist William Davis, who maintains that wheat is toxic, addictive and makes you want to eat more junk foods.
However, another popular trend is a return to ancient grains such as spelt, amaranth, quinoa, millet and Kamut®. Not all ancient grains are gluten-free, but in comparison to modern wheat, these ancient varieties are easier for our bodies to digest. Kamut® for example is wheat and it does contain gluten, but people with wheat sensitivities can eat it. In a recent study with IBS sufferers, symptoms were significantly reduced when they consumed Kamut® wheat products such as pasta, bread and crackers.
So thinking about the “Wheat Belly” proposition, it seems that modern wheat may be the culprit but not all wheat. Dismissing a whole food group as toxic may be a little premature as science is uncovering the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ancient varieties like Kamut®.
Also U.S. consumers will eat more kale (served hot or cold), coconut oil, and omega-3 ALA-rich chia seeds. The survey also said that consumers are grocery shopping with an eye on “healthy” foods, and 66 per cent of the respondents said that consumer interest in nutrition and weight loss will only grow in 2014. So, while this all sounds great, the average American consumer hasn’t budged when it comes to weight. Rather than looking for the “magic bullet” or the “next fad” perhaps we should be thinking about feeding our bodies from a nutritional standpoint.
The whole idea of “dieting” and giving up foods we love is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to maintain a weight loss regimen. But, if you think about making the switch to real, healthful, tasty and satisfying foods and swapping out some of the higher calorie things, it then becomes more about what you are eating than what you are not. Being more mindful about what we eat, not only helps maintain a healthy weight but, it fuels and nourishes our bodies. When your body is well nourished, you can fight fatigue, get more restful sleep as well focus and concentrate better. Here are some tips and simple swaps that taste so good you may even prefer them.
1. Keep well hydrated so you don’t confuse thirst and hunger. If you feel you want to eat and it’s not meal time, drink some water or tea.
2. Cut back on salt and fill a salt shaker with a blend of your favorite seasonings and spices.
3. Plan ahead, make sure you have all the right ingredients for your healthy meal preparation.
4. Load up early and go lighter later, in other words fuel your body with nourishing, energizing foods in the morning and at lunch and eat a lighter dinner. You don’t need to go to bed on a heavy high calorie dinner.
5. Satisfy a craving, but do it consciously and cautiously, a little goes a long way. Think 90/10 rule, 90% of the time eat healthy and 10% you can splurge a little.
6. Fill your plate with colorful fruits and veggies; they contain lots of healthful nutrients such as antioxidants, beta-carotenes, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium and Vitamins A & C.
- Swap out the empty carbs…think veggies instead of crackers. Radishes, celery, endive all make great carriers for snacks, a light lunch and hors d’oeuvres.
- Swap out unhealthy fats (like mayo), and for added flavor use fat free Greek yogurt and low fat, low sodium organic stocks. And if you add fat, add fats with benefits like nuts and avocado.
- Swap out the starches, substitute cauliflower mash for mashed potatoes and try Kamut® wheat berries instead of rice.
- Swap out the empty calorie sweet treats for a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, or a fat free Greek yogurt with a small serving of fresh berries.
- Swap out the “white” foods for brown. Whole grain breads not white bread, honey or agave instead of sugar.
- Swap out the unhealthy snacks for healthier versions, instead of potato chips try kale chips, eat a low fat string cheese instead of a full fat cheese, peanuts in their shell have no salt and take longer to eat, sunflower seeds are chewy and take time to eat.
There’s lot’s of ways to stay satisfied, satiated and well nourished without feeling deprived. So eat well and treat your body well.