Just like fad diets, trendy nutrition terms make their way into our homes year after year. I often pick up on these trends as my clients begin to ask about them. I'll share a few here that have come up this year.
- Locavore- A quick science review- omnivores eat meat, herbivores eat plants, and locavores eat local! Although it was the New Oxford American Dictionary's "Word of the Year" back in 2007, this trendy word is really on a roll now as more and more people choose to buy and eat locally grown food. The word started with four women in San Francisco (check out their site www.locavores.com) and quite perfectly describes the movement towards sustainable agriculture. Become a locavore by committing to eat only locally grown (you can define your own radius, but within 100 miles is par for the course) produce, livestock, poultry, etc. Don't be afraid to start small- becoming a locavore can't happen overnight so take baby steps. Start with one food, then another, and so on. Visit your local Farmer's Market to learn growing seasons for different foods. Engage your children in this journey- we may have grown up without not knowing our farmers, but this trend doesn't have to continue! If I had to guess, I'd say this trend is here to stay.
- Living food- This term is synonymous with the "raw food" trend of a few years ago. These "living" foods are unprocessed and eaten closer to raw than fully cooked. Most raw foodies agree food can be warmed a bit, with 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less being the general rule, but you won't find living or raw foods much hotter than that. The idea behind this trend is that heating foods too much destroys enzymes and nutrients. Some believe heat treating food even releases toxins that cause a wide array of diseases. Available research disputes the nutrient claims for raw foods...so "to each their own" on this trend, but I prefer steamed green beans to raw any day.
- Toxic food- Trans fat, saturated fat, high fructose corn syrup, etc., have started to get lumped in this category. It speaks to the point that these nutrients are less than desirable and relatively little is known to what extent they may harm our bodies. That said, is butter toxic because it contains saturated fat? No. Should you only eat it in moderation? Yes.
- Clean food- At first, I assumed this referred to foods going above and beyond the organic standard. While this is true - "clean foods" are more organic than USDA's organic definition can ensure - there is also a local/in-season element to them. Don't assume you can stop by your Farmer's Market and walk away with all clean foods though. A little more research shows that there is a harmonious component to these foods- which foods work in conjunction with each other to create harmony in the body? Some "clean foods" definitions have religious implications as well.
- Slow food- USA Today put it best- "Slow food aims to be everything fast food is not." Check out Slow Food USA for more info.
- Heritage breeds- In case you missed it, check out my blog on this topic (click here)!
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.