Archive | nutrition RSS feed for this section

Kale bubble

6 Feb

photo-17

Have we reached kale bubble yet?

Anyone who has been reasonably in the loop on health trends has seen this “nutrient dense” green powerhouse applied to every recipe under the sun, from sushi (see: Uchi’s Yokai Berry) to chips (see: Rhythm Chips) t0  juice bars (see: One Lucky Duck in NYC).

The people behind the kale public relations campaign touting the benefits of kale and its health properties are doing an outstanding job. Look, I eat lots of kale and while agree that there is little doubt that kale does have tremendous health properties (rich source of vitamin C, K, A, loads of fiber, iron, and calcium) there are numerous other forgotten greens, vegetables, and superfoods that kale has overshadowed:

  • Bok choy
  • Sea greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Turmeric
  • Spirulina/Chlorella (sea algaes)
  • Wheat/Barley grass

Personally, I am still waiting for sea vegetables to get their due praise such as kombu and dulse. Japanese people eat them and don’t they have like the highest life expectancy in the world?

In the mean time, enjoy this spoof on “kale fad diets” by Healthy Choice Frozen Yogurt. The good news is that the big boys (multinational corporations) are watching the kale trend and clearly pushing back with marketing health products of their own. It shows we have come a long way on our countries’ path towards a culture of health prosperity.

Always going for glory,

Craig

Do vegans cause environmental destruction?

17 Jan

Let me preface by saying that I personally do believe there’s much validity to adhering to a vegan diet, or as I prefer to call it, a Non Animal Protocol (NAP), as a pathway to longterm health. Yes, there are numerous studies purporting the benefits of eschewing all animal products (see China Study et al).

However, some important facts have come to light regarding regarding the crop burden and carbon “foodprint” caused by our ever-growing hunger for these worldly food stuffs, particularly quinoa and soy (two major players in many vegan/vegetarian diets due to their respective protein contents).

Food fun facts:

  • Soy production is now one of the two main causes of deforestation in South America
  • In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken due to global demand increasing prices
  • In rural areas of Bolivia and Peru, market pressure forces once biodiverse lands to become more monoculturistic due to demand for quinoa and soy alone
  • Farmers in South America can no longer afford to purchase the crops their growing in their own lands
  • World food security, at the local level becomes threatened by global demand for these unique crops, leaving the locals in the dust, increasing risk for poverty

An anecdote: A hyper-conscious individual who eats only plant-based foods for “sustainability,” eats mounds of soy and quinoa in Vermont for years. He hears a news report about global poverty in Peru and vows to be a “part of the change.”  He then travels on a mission trip to Peru (where both quinoa and soy crops are grown), to combat local the poverty for a few weeks, and then returns home and continues eating the same diet he has always consumed, oblivious still the world impact this local decision is making.

It fascinates me that we believe that by eating such plant-based foods, we reduce our own “carbon footprint,” when the reality is that, the food system is now way more complex that we could have ever fathomed. In today’s hyper connected economy, all of our decisions can have a global import.

Yes, we should all eat more consciously and open our minds to the possibility that maybe eating all foods, animal or not, are actually the least impactful on our respective environments.

Some things to posit while eating consciously:

  • Eat foods grown locally in your particular area to reduce global burden
  • The best ecological systems include the raising of meat (see Dan Barber)
  • Eat consciously and be aware of who grew your food
  • Ecological conditions should (help) dictate personal diet
  • Ecological resources can point towards eating meat and produces better global, market conditions

I’ll leave you from a quote from Dan Barber, Chef and Owner of Blue Hill Farm and Restaurant:

“There is no healthy ecological system that I’ve ever seen that doesn’t include animals — there just doesn’t. Because the manure from the animals is a free, free ecological resource that amends the soil that gives you better-tasting and healthful vegetables. ”

Sources:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/vegans-stomach-unpalatable-truth-quinoa

http://www.slate.com/articles/video/conversations_with_slate/2012/03/chef_dan_barber_on_why_vegetarians_should_consider_eating_meat_video_.html

6 bold health predictions for 2013

18 Dec

Genome Sequencing for all!

One year ago I discussed my predictions for the health trends of the year 2012.  As 2012 winds down and we all begin to reflect on what we have all accomplished this year, let’s take a moment to look forward to our year ahead, and what to expect in the realm of health and wellness.

But first a recap on prior predictions for 2012:

Functional food has continued to grow at an astounding rate, with more consumers seeking out their vitamins and minerals from food sources, not supplements and vitamins. More and more millennials are seeking their full nutrition from plant-based products, as the market has grown almost 20% over the past year.

Paleo and Gluten free have continued to surge with the Gluten Free market alone reaching $4.2 billion. The paleo explosion is still nigh.

Omega 3 essential fatty acids are now more recognized as ever by the consumer as a protector of heart health with 38% of consumers believing omega vitamins are “very effective” for heart health.

6 Bold Health Predictions for 2012: 

  1. Look for pharmaceutical companies to get a piece of the gluten free pie. I suspect they are currently in beta-test mode for enzyme products to be available over the counter that can help digestive-related issues in those with gluten intolerance and celiac disease.
  2. Corporate wellness will continue to be a dominant component in the conducting of business. As premiums continue to rise at rates faster than inflation, coupled with the health care law that will force employers to cover their employees or pay penalties, companies will do anything to reduce the burden of health problems on their bottom line. Corporate wellness will be immensely important in 2013 and beyond…
  3. Health technology integration: As we continue to build new apps, technologies, health trackers and health care IT, there will be great fragmentation in the delivery of care and data about our health. Look for start ups looking to create turn key interfaces with all of our health data, stored in cloud technologies. It will look much like the mint.com of health but instead of integrating all of our financial data, it will have all of our health data with web-based portals. It will show trends, data, and even key biomarkers that can help us improve our health, and prevent disease.
  4. Democratized health: With apps and technology on the rise, we are quickly gaining the ability to have complete control to diagnose and treat our own illness. While it’s ways away, Vinod Khosla (famed silicon valley entrepreneur) believes our primary care doctors are becoming even more obsolete than ever with 80% of what doctors do becoming obsolete in the coming years. Silicon valley based start-ups are even offering genome sequencing for $100!
  5. Juice, Juice, and more Juice! People are continuing to turn to “liquid nutrition” diets to “cleanse, detox, and just be health.”  So go ahead and thank your local celebrity for making this trend hot in NYC, LA, and a city near you! Again this is could be considered a sub-category of the growth of functional foods and corporate health too, as many companies are turning to “corporate, office-wide juice cleanses” for improved employee health.
  6. GMO battle will continue to heat up. Yes, prop 37 in california did not pass (thanks in part to millions spent by large agro-conglomerates to spread fear about it), but this war is far from over. Look for more state and federal legislation (farm bill, state bills) that will continue to get more clarity on this emerging issue.

What are some emerging health trends you’re noticing that are ripe for massive growth in 2013?

Craig E. Steinfeld, MPH

Sources:

http://www.ingredientsnetwork.com/news-content/full/top-10-functional-food-trends-of-2012

http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Consumer_Trends/2012/10/Gluten-free_market_to_42_billi.aspx?ID=%7B3BA3114F-5584-4EBD-B052-113B8CF85BD2%7D&cck=1

http://www.physiciansmoneydigest.com/lifestyle/Health-Premiums-Grow-Faster-than-Wages-and-Inflation

http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2012/08/31/vinod-khosla-technology-will-replace-80-percent-of-docs/

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/08/27/juiciest-trends-in-juicing/

The trend of trackable fitness continues: Misfit Wearables

14 Nov

Check out the video of the beautiful innovation happening with the “Misfit” Shine fitness tracker. Not only will it track your fitness and integrate seamlessly in to your life, but the quarter-sized device is waterproof, wearable, and beams wirelessly on your mobile device.  All-in-all, a product like this can create a paradigm shift in the mobile health tracking and fitness space.

In my view, mobile fitness trackers are beginning to pose serious questions to humanity:

  • At what point are man and our use of technology completely integrated, and when will the age of cyborgs be fully realized?
  • Do we have any remaining excuses to be sedentary anymore? Mobile fitness devices, ubiquitous gyms, apps and motivational tools abound make it difficult to come up with any excuses.
  • Are tools like mobile fitness trackers strong enablers of fitness, or do they distract us from the big picture of what it is to be healthy?

What problems and solutions do you see unfolding as technology and innovation continues to push the progress of humanity in the health and fitness space?

(You can help fund misfitwearables on indiegogo here )

 

Greatist Manifesto

17 Oct

M

I’m jazzed about this company, Greatist, and their manifesto. In fact, it’s who I am and the “why” I exist: To inspire others to seek their highest wellbeing. Companies like this empower their users and employees by pushing the next generation of health seekers and entrepreneurs forward, empowering people to achieve their highest purpose and to help obtain the most important gift of all:

Health

“He who seeks health, shall obtain it.”

Greatist also helps illustrate the concept discussed in my previous blog: The fusion of man and technology for optimal health. What health trends and companies are inspiring you?

Always going for glory!

Craig Steinfeld

More must-read health & fitness news and information at Greatist.

No GMO bro!

23 Aug

Image

The hottest trend in the natural products and organics industry has been the fight to control GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in our food supply. The fundamental question posed has been whether or not GMOs sold in stores should be labeled for consumer transparency.

The Just Label It campaign being petitioned across California has garnered national buzz and could lay the groundwork for future laws in other states regarding GMOs in respect to their need to be labeled or not (http://newhope360.com/blog/californias-gmo-petition-danger-industry)

Seems like a no-brainer, right? We have essentially no clue how GMOs impact human health and longterm effects so why not label them in the interest of safety and transparency.

What we do know:

  • GMOs contribute 400 million pounds of additional pesticides to the environment annually (http://newhope360.com/regulation-and-legislation/mark-retzloff-i-think-locally-act-globally-my-store?cid=nl_360_daily).
  • More than 40 countries around the world, including Japan, China and all of Europe, have made it necessary to label all GMOs as such and even banned them from production
  • The Center for Food Safety, filed a petition (Docket FDA 2011-P-0723-001/CP) calling on the FDA to require labeling of genetically engineered foods (6 months created149,967 public comments)
  • More than 91% of Americans want them labeled!

Let me be clear, the notion of using science and innovation to solve world problems is something I am fundamentally in favor of, but at the same time, creating one of the most massive scale human and environmental experiments in history just seems unfair without further research. At the very least, give consumers a choice to use their hard earned dollars to vote for the products they desire.

One things for sure, I will do what is in my own power to commit to being a “No GMO bro,” at least until more is discovered, and spend my dollars accordingly.

Always going for glory!

Craig

@CESteinfeld

Non Animal Protocol (N.A.P)

27 Jul

When you hear the word, Vegan, what comes to mind?

The crunchy hippie with dread locks?

The conscientious young child who likes her bug collection too much to eat meat?

The rise of the vegan has been something of a health trend to watch for some time. Now, it has become a near mainstream approach for preventing and reversing heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. President Clinton, ultra marathoners Scott Jurek and Rich Roll, celebrities abound are all vegan converts. All moral arguments aside on eating animals, research proves this diet can actually lead to better health outcomes.

I posit that the inherent connotation that vegans eat as such to preserve animal rights is beginning to shift, medically speaking. A diet once reserved for “pansies,” hippies, animal rights activists, and the like has become a “prescribed” approach by doctors as a means to improve poor health.

Books like The China Study, works by Dr. Dean Ornish, and The Engine 2 diet are redefining how we view veganism. Social norms are changing dramatically as a result of this push to get vegan mainstream.

As such, I believe veganism should receive a new name, a fresh start, that properly defines this seismic diet shift.

Non Animal Protocol or NAP for short. Not only would a new name help continue to drive society to “eat more plants,” but it would also continue to allow doctors to use this approach medically to improve their patients outcome. No longer would patients recoil in terror at the sound of their cardiologist and rheumatologists recommending veganism as a prescription for health.

On a side note, I eat animals (in moderation) but understand the value in that a Non Animal Protocol could facilitate societal acceptance and progression towards improving health outcomes and general wellness of the population.

What are your thoughts on redefining veganism?

20120727-112326.jpg

20120727-112351.jpg