What ‘healthy’ looks like in 2018

Veg­eta­bles and pro­teins, less added sugar and whole-life well­ness

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - EL­LIE KRIEGER

Healthy isn’t what it used to be. I don’t mean that in the whiplash-in­duc­ing way all the click­bait head­lines out there would have you think. De­spite the seem­ing back and forth, there is re­mark­able con­sis­tency in core di­etary ad­vice. You could com­fort­ably hang your res­o­lu­tion hat on two of the big­gest: Eat more veg­eta­bles and less added sugar.

But there have been ex­cit­ing shifts in what it means to eat well, shaped by both mod­ern culi­nary style and bona fide nu­tri­tional science. They’ve been build­ing for years but now have a def­i­nite form. This is a change that is real, com­pelling and re­fresh­ing.

Healthy eat­ing has emerged re­branded from a stodgy, fin­ger-wag­ging “should” to a cool, on-trend “want to.” Har­ness­ing the mo­men­tum of this fash­ion­able, new healthy could re-en­er­gize your ef­forts to eat bet­ter in the new year and be­yond, in­spir­ing a way of eat­ing that’s good for you with — yes, more veg­eta­bles and less sugar — but also a fresh, up­dated per­spec­tive, one that’s as hip and ap­peal­ing as it is good for you. Here are 10 facets of what’s healthy now and how to make the most of them. The new healthy is … ... a way of life The no­tion of di­et­ing, with its ob­ses­sive calo­rie count­ing, weigh­ing and mea­sur­ing is out, and “lifestyling,” with a fo­cus on over­all eat­ing pat­terns and whole-life well­ness, is in. Even long­time diet pro­grams such as Weight Watch­ers have heeded the call with their new Freestyle pro­gram. Crash di­ets haven’t to­tally dis­ap­peared — they have just been re­named detoxes and cleanses, and I rec­om­mend avoid­ing them — but the over­all shift to healthy as a way of life has ar­rived and is a wel­come band­wagon worth jump­ing on. ... a veg­etable cel­e­bra­tion In print, on In­sta­gram feeds and in restau­rants from fine to fast-ca­sual, veg­eta­bles have grad­u­ated from a side­lined af­ter­thought to cen­tre stage, and there are more com­pelling ve­gan and veg­e­tar­ian op­tions avail­able than ever be­fore. Veg­eta­bles are given luxe treat­ment with deca­dent-tast­ing but good­for-you sauces such as tahini or pesto and spun into com­fort foods such as potato na­chos, Buf­falo cau­li­flower and zuc­chini noo­dles. There has never been a bet­ter time to be, or try to be­come, a veg­etable lover. ... not afraid of fat Count­ing fat grams has gone the way of the Walk­man. There is just no need for it. There is now a body of ev­i­dence that fats — es­pe­cially those from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, av­o­cado and fish and healthy oils — are good for our nu­tri­tional well-be­ing, ben­e­fit­ing our heart health, blood sugar and weight, to name a few. Just ig­nore the ram­pant but­ter-is-back head­lines. Even if sat­u­rated fat is not the de­mon it was once thought to be, it is still health­ier to re­place an­i­mal fat with that from plants. Hello, av­o­cado toast. ... pro­tein pow­er­ful Pro­tein is prac­ti­cally syn­ony­mous with healthy to­day, a trend that’s in­spir­ing a more bal­anced plate than that of the bagel-for­break­fast days of yore. Along with the move­ment to­ward plant-based foods, this new way of eat­ing has led to a re­dis­cov­ery of pow­er­fully nu­tri­tious beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds, as chefs and home cooks in­ter­pret them with mod­ern culi­nary prow­ess. Take ad­van­tage of all that but avoid get­ting en­snared in the more-is-bet­ter men­tal­ity and fall­ing prey to mar­ket­ing tac­tics that lever­age grams of pro­tein for health points. In­clude some pro­tein at each meal or snack but re­mem­ber: Pro­tein-for­ti­fied cook­ies are still cook­ies. ... sweet­ened smartly Re­fined sugar has never been billed as healthy per se, but there is a greater aware­ness and more sci­en­tific ev­i­dence than ever of its detri­men­tal health ef­fects. The food com­mu­nity and mar­ket­place have stepped up with ex­cit­ing savoury op­tions where there were once only sweet, such as with en­ergy bars and yo­gurt flavours. There has also been a tasty, health­ier shift to us­ing fi­bre- and nu­tri­ent-rich whole foods such as dried and fresh fruit as sweet­en­ers in baked goods, smooth­ies and bars. Still, it’s OK to have a lit­tle added sugar in your life, but the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion rec­om­mends keep­ing it to six tea­spoons a day for women and nine for men. ... sus­tain­able The sci­en­tists on the 2015 Di­etary Guide­lines Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee in­cluded con­sid­er­a­tions of sus­tain­abil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact in their rec­om­men­da­tions to the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, but al­though that is­sue didn’t make the fi­nal guide­lines, it has steadily gained trac­tion with the public. More and more peo­ple un­der­stand that their in­di­vid­ual health is in­te­grally linked with the health of our planet, and they are tak­ing steps to eat greener by eat­ing more plant­based meals, choos­ing sus­tain­able fish, poul­try and meats, and re­duc­ing waste. ... in­gre­di­ent-fo­cused Healthy means look­ing be­yond the grams and per­cent­ages on the nutri­tion facts la­bel to the in­gre­di­ents in a prod­uct. Peo­ple want to know what’s in the food they are buy­ing and how it was pro­duced. De­mand for sim­pler in­gre­di­ent lists have com­pelled many man­u­fac­tur­ers to re­move ar­ti­fi­cial colours and flavours and other ad­di­tives that didn’t need to be there in the first place. ... good for your gut The rel­a­tively re­cent dis­cov­ery of the mi­cro­biome has trans­formed the way we look at health. We now know that the good bac­te­ria in our guts are key not only to di­ges­tive health but to over­all well­ness, and the foods that sup­port the mi­cro­biome are hot­ter than ever with an­cient, pro­bi­otic-rich fer­mented foods such as sauer­kraut, kim­chee, yo­gurt and ke­fir mak­ing a mod­ern come­back. There are more ex­cit­ing va­ri­eties of these “liv­ing” foods avail­able in the reg­u­lar su­per­mar­ket. ... rich in her­itage Be­yond pro­bi­otics, look­ing back to move for­ward ap­plies more broadly to to­day’s ap­proach to healthy eat­ing. Nutri­tion ex­perts, chefs and the public alike are rec­og­niz­ing that there is more than one path to eat­ing well, and there is wis­dom in the global va­ri­ety of tra­di­tional food­ways. As we tap into that we are re­dis­cov­er­ing heir­loom and wild fruits and veg­eta­bles, her­itage grains such as farro and sorghum, and pat­terns of eat­ing that nour­ished our an­ces­tors for gen­er­a­tions. ... cre­atively plated Healthy to­day breaks the old­fash­ioned mould of the di­vided plate and in­stead is built up in lay­ers, ar­ranged in bowls, piled into jars or whirred into a to-go cup. It’s packed with pro­duce, com­pellingly colour­ful and has a freestyle sen­si­bil­ity. And, of course, to get trac­tion in this In­sta­gram-ready world, it’s ready for a close-up.

El­lie Krieger is a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian, nu­tri­tion­ist and au­thor Washington Post


But­ter may not be the de­mon it was once thought, but it’s still bet­ter to re­place an­i­mal fat with fat from plants. Hello, av­o­cado toast.

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