Please note that the following list reflects my own personal nutrition philosophy.
1) Gluten-free is both in and out. If you have gluten intolerance (Celiac’s disease), then it is of utmost importance that you stick to a gluten-free diet. However, gluten-free does not necessarily equate healthy and does not necessarily bring benefits to everyone. It’s nuts how many people tout the merits of gluten-free foods they sell, merely on the basis that they are gluten-free. Processed gluten-free foods like crackers, cereals, granola bars, muffin mixes, pasta, etc., tend to be lower in fiber and higher in sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts. What is more, the taste of some processed gluten-free products may leave your taste buds hangin’ and wanting more. If you do not tolerate gluten or feel better when you do not consume it, that is A-Okay. Listen to your body. However, ensure you are getting carbohydrates with every meal and stick to more healthful choices such as sweet potato, quinoa, brown, black, wild or red rice, teff, etc. as grain choices. Whole foods always come out on top. Bunch of champs 🙂 .
2) The progression of “Slow Food Movement” is in. Knowing where your food comes from is soooo 2013, and hopefully soooo 2014, 2015, 2016 and all subsequent years. Gone are the days where it is okay to not question where the food on your plate comes from (both animal products and produce). Produce baskets from local farms are a great way to start connecting more local farmers who strive to provide us with delish fresh produce.
3) Artificial sweeteners are out. Though artificial sweeteners have been approved by Health Canada, they are relative newcomers on the market and their long-term health effects are unbeknownst to us. That said, I usually recommend that people favour a tad of “real” sweetener such as Quebec maple syrup, honey or molasses over a packet of calorie-free yet nutrient-free chemicals.
4) Local and seasonal superfruits (apples, blueberries, cherries, rhubarb) are in, exotic superfruits are sitting on the in/out fence. Nutritious superfruits from afar have travelled extreme distances to make it to our hungry mouthes. It is key that we not let ourselves be wooed or enticed by their exoticness alone. Goji berries, camu-camu, mangosteen, acai berries, etc. may all have high antioxidant contents, but their eye-popping (The Mask-style) prices are difficultly justifiable when we have loads of local produce which is just as nutritious and has a lesser carbon footprint.
5) Multivitamin supplements are out. In a perfect world, you should get your nutrients from whole foods. Granted, we do not live in a perfect world and if you are travelling a lot for work and thus have less control over your diet, feel like your diet is lacking in one or several food groups or if you are drinking more alcohol than you normally would (alcohol decreases your absorption of key nutrients), then a supplement may be a good temporary idea. The problem with multivitamins is that many of the nutrients contained within them compete to be absorbed in your intestines (for instance, zinc and iron are two minerals which require the same enzymes for proper absorption) and therefore, the amounts of each vitamin or mineral, as written on the label, may not necessarily be the amount truly absorbed. Try to eat a varied and balanced diet, most of the time, and a multivitamin wouldn’t be necessary.
6) Elimination diets are out. Portion control is in. The “diet” mentality is getting old. Life is short, do not live a life where you feel constantly deprived. Just remember: 1-2 glasses of red wine, not the whole bottle. 1-2 cookies, not 5 🙂 .
7) Healthy fats are in. Avocadoes, nuts, seeds, vegetable, olive and coconut oil (in moderation) contain necessary healthy fats which contribute to brain, eye, skin and heart health. What`s not to like?? 🙂 The “fat-free” craze is out. Processed foods proudly sporting a “fat-free” label typically are full of sugar. The two main things that add flavor to a food are fat and sugar, therefore, when one is reduced, the other must be increased to compensate and keep the processed product palatable. When fat is eliminated from a food, that food sings “Pour some sugar on me” in order to retain its tastiness. No thanks “fat-free” foods, no thanks!
8) Buying organic, at least for the “dirty dozen”. If you are not familiar with the dirty dozen, it is a compiled list of the produce with the highest amounts of pesticide residues and includes berries, leafy greens, apples, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, etc. For the dirty dozen, it is worthwhile to go organic. The “clean fifteen” is a list of the 15 types of produce with the least amount of pesticide residues and includes pineapple, onions, avocadoes, kiwi, eggplant, mango, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, banana, etc. For these types of produce, it is less detrimental to your health to not buy organic.