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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/

Health is simple: Walk around + eat plants

31 May

Extremism in  health is rampant. Fad diets are garnering lots of attention and research. Food advocates are going full-on locavore, shunning any food that does not come from within 20 miles of their home or grown in their own backyards. Vegans are mainstream, even calling their veggie-endeavors “plant strong,” and prescribing “green” drinks for their alkalizing properties. These approaches to health are all fantastic for those who have the means, education, and capacity to stick to them. The overarching health problems remain and obesity is still the massive public health problem of our generation.

Why has health become so extreme, complicated, and confusing?

Some of the recent “foodumentaries” that have come out over the past few years display an interesting trend:

Extreme health protocols as a means to health. 

Some examples include: Drinking only juice for months at a time (no chewing here!), never eating another piece of bread (gluten is toxic for everyone!), eating meat only (saturated fat is actually good for you!), or eating things that never had a “face or mother” (red meat kills and dairy makes you fat!).

As a population, we are on a crash course with rampant obesity.  In another five years, more than half the population will be obese and diabetic with the potential to bankrupt our entire health care system and to cripple our economic development.

I posit that the beauty of health lies in its simplicity.   Walk around,  and eat some fruits and veggies!  Recent research actually shows that by watching less T.V. and eating more fruits and vegetables  people can dramatically improve their health. In short, simple lifestyle changes can lead to dramatic health results.  

I harken back to Michael Pollan here: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” But I might alter this a bit:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Walk around. And easy on the T.V. watching.”

You might even occasionally imbibe a cold beer or nice glass of red wine.

Always Going for Glory!

@Cesteinfeld

The real food groups

8 Mar

Let’s make something clear off the bat. The new “my plate” put forth by USDA as recommended food groups and daily allowances has come a long way from the old food “pyramid.” The new my plate is much more cohesive and appears to be less influenced by large industry. Fruits and vegetables make up 50% of recommended daily food intake. Grains and protein make up the other 50% with additional dairy as a side dish.

While the old pyramid showed pictures of the food groups through images of cheese, apples, steaks, etc., the new plate leaves much to be interepreted as far as specifcially what types of foods to eat within the given groupings. Clearly, there must be more to eating than blindly eating “fruits, veggies, meat, dairy,” right?

Common questions:  What kind of veggies and fruits should I eat? Which cuts of meat are most healthful? Is dairy healthy for me?  The “plate”  put forth by the USDA leaves much to be interpreted.

My real food groups:

1. Green leafy vegetables:  Greens contain (most) all the vitamins and minerals you will ever need (magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber to name a few) and are nature’s multivitamin. This means eat anything seasonal that you can find and throw it in your pastas, soups, eggs, and whatever else you cook. You can find seasonal greens year round. Kale, collard greens, spinach, arugula, chard & bok choy. Eat 3 cups of greens and you will probably live longer.

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2. Sulfur rich vegetables: These are sometimes called cruciferous veggies and they’re absolutely essential for proper brain function, immune support, cancer prevention, detoxification, proper organ function (liver and kidney) and additionally they power mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of every cell in your body. These veggies include onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and garlic to name a few.

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3. Colorful vegetables: You may have heard about phytonutrients, polyphenols, and antioxidants, well eating some colorful veggies will be the ultimate way to ensure you are reaching your daily antioxidant levels. A few of my favorites are bell peppers, yams & sweet potatoes (loaded with potassium, and retinol by the way), tomatoes, carrots, grapes, and lemons (another great detox food).

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4. Wild Fish: Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids (another hot one you’ll hear about in the news). There are plant-based ways to obtain omega-3 fats, but they do not contain, DHA, a critical fatty acid that helps develop the brain, jaws, and keep the myelin functioning well to prevent aging and cognitive decline. Important caveat, the smaller the fish, the less likely chance you’ll have to worry about mercury contamination due to bioaccumulation. Stick with wild caught salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring. If you do not have access to fish, then try supplementing with a molecularly distilled fish oil. I once read a bumper sticker in Santa Monica that read: “Eat fish. Live Longer.”

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5. Grass fed, pastured meats and eggs: Here is where you will get the bulk of your protein, creatine, conjugated linoleic acid, omega-3 fats, and the loads of iron. Why grass fed? Because the meat industry is a unscrupulous  (see Food, Inc., anything by Michael Pollan or Marion Nestle) and it’s probably best to avoid factory farmed meats due to hormones, steroids, and risk of food borne illness.  You may even try incorporating  occasional organ meat in the diet as it is extremely rich in minerals, creatine, coenzyme q10, iron, otherwise hard to obtain nutrients (See: Mark’s Daily Apple on Offal).

While vegan living may supply sufficient nutrition with extreme care to diet, eating the occasional animal protein remains the surest way to prevent sever nutritional deficiencies and keep energy levels high.

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6. Seaweed and sea veggies: There’s a reason the Japanese have an average lifespan of like 150 years old (or 80-something) and they might be on to something by eating loads of sea vegetables in their diet. Why are these so critical? They contain not only iodine, but they are essential for removing toxins from the body (which whether we believe it or not are all exposed to on a daily basis through pollution or otherwise), proper functioning of the thyroid, and insulation of the myelin to prevent cognitive decline. Throw some into a soup, stir fry, make a seaweed salad or even toss some in your eggs.

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Noticeably absent: Dairy and “complex carbohydrates.”  Dairy inflames the body’s mucous membranes and casein (an amino acid found in all dairy) has been linked to increased cancer and tumor growth (see: The China Study for reference). Areas of the world that do not consume dairy actually have less incidences of osteoporosis and less gastrointestinal cancer rates as well.

On carbohydrates: They are fine in moderation, but the problem being that most are difficult to digest due to the amino acids gluten and leptin and, almost all are genetically modified (wheat, soy, corn). Stick to brown rice, lentils, rye, quinoa, and occasional wheat but these for me are on the outside looking in of my real food groups.

I’ll be delving deeper into each of these food groups via my blog and potentially even crafting an entire book based on the above categories with recipes as well. Go ahead, superfood yo’self!

What are your “real” food groups?

Always going for glory!

Craig E. Steinfeld

@cesteinfeld

cesteinfeld [at] gmail dot com

Food Advocates: Aren’t we fighting the same fight?

24 Feb

Señor Bacon or Monsieur Tofu?

A growing trend in the food world continues to amaze me.  People involved in the “organic,” local, slow or whatever “food movement” they define themselves as a part of (myself included) are either for eating as much animal protein as possible, or for eating zero animal product at all (paleo vs vegan).  Those in favor of eating animals believe that it sets the world on a more “sustainable” course and improves everyone’s health. Those against eating animals believe, well, the same thing.  Both argue the same outcomes with diametrically opposed means and there substantial evidence backing both claims (see: The China Study or Why We Get Fat) .

Essentially, both parties are two sides of the same coin, bordering on Food Extremists. Food Extremist: Those believing their ideology on food and nutrition is the be all, end all for all modern disease, world problems, and that by doing so, set the world on a “sustainable” course.

There must be a middle ground in order to create lasting societal change. Is it not ok to eat both sustainably, humanely produced meat some days, and opt for vegan lifestyle on other days?  At the end of the day, we all want:

  • Improved transprancy in the food system
  • Improved farming and livestock practices that improve our own health and the welfare of the planet
  • Profitable business practices that also create positive health outcomes for the population
  • Solutions for the modern-day chronic diseases that burden society

I recently engaged John Durant, perhaps the preeminent caveman/blogger from hunter-gatherer.com, and advocate of the paleo diet and “living wild in the modern world” (see: Paleo Kick for 21 days) in a twitter talkback with Mark Bittman, NYT writer, cookbook author, and advocate for sustainable food and [occasional] veganism. I was surprised by the vitriol involved in the talk-back relating to which ideology was superior.

Let’s not be elitists about this! Afterall,  we are all fighting the same fight against the SAD (Standard American Diet) and the current problems that task society. Can’t we all just hold hands and shop at the farmers market together?

I’ll leave you with a quote from the man himself, Michael Pollan:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.”

Now that’s something we should all agree on.

Always going for glory!

Craig E. Steinfeld

@CESteinfeld

Paleo kick for 21 days

16 Jan

I’m submerged in full on paleolithic, caveman onslaught for a solid 21 days. Eating nothing but meat, nuts, berries/fruit, vegetables, and the occasional mound of quinoa. Doing primal style workouts in minimalist shoes in the vein of crossfit. I have been consuming a diet extremely high in fat, not just any old fat, but “saturated” fat but low in sugar and any refined or processed products! I have not dared to even touch, or look at a piece of bread.

The goal:

To merely experiment without fear,

To test my own limits

To explore the human diet

To see how athletic performance is affected by the paleo craze

Paleo Resources:

Recipes :Paleo Meal Plan

Primal Blueprint

Robb Wolf: The Paleo Solution

AGG!

Craig Steinfeld

@CESteinfeld

Bold Health Predictions for 2012…

30 Nov
On Supplements…
  • Functional Foods or “foods or products with specific, touted health benefits” will continue to flourish in 2012. Look for more orange juice with phytosterols, milk with even MORE vitamin D added, and designer beverages for energy, too much energy, brain enhancement, optimal rehydration, sexual enhancement, and everything else under the sun. Also intriguing, watch for omega-3 fats to show up in every product on the market beyond just eggs and dairy, but also breakfast cereals and nutritional bars. More evidence here.

“The functional food market in the US has grown 31 percent since 2006, with beverages leading the charge, according to a new report from Leatherhead Food Research.”

  • Speaking of Omega-3 fats, watch for their continued, categorical rise as the chief player of the supplement market (and for good reason, as omega-3 supplements are some of the only proven supplements on the market today).  Vegetarians are also looking for ways to obtain EPA fatty acids, which are usually only animal derived, and algae-sourced EPA supplements will be more readily available as a result.
  • Astaxanthin, which many experts now consider nature’s most powerful carotenoid, will continue to be a hot seller for 2012 and beyond. Some are touting the benefits of this algae/krill-sourced, nutritional powerhouse as beneficial to improving athletic performance, eye-health, and the entire body. Sales will be boasted by news outlets picking up on this “hot” supplement already showcased by Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola on their respective websites.
On food…
  • Paleo, or the caveman diet, appears poised to stay and even enter into the mainstream. Look for more companies and restaurants to cater specifically to the paleo crowd with menu options and entire restaurants dedicated specifically to this niche market. Fast food companies might even begin to co-opt ideas and trends that the paleo movement has embraced. Chipotle is already paleo-friendly and they do not even know it. Primal jerky and snack company Steve’s Original is another prime example. Dare I say, will we see a McPrimal burger with grassfed beef served on a grain-free bun in the near future?
  • Also, restaurants and fine dining will continue on its “sustainable” course, opting for primal cuts of meat and offal, sourcing seafood from sustainable sources, and riding the local wave as far as it will take them (see: Barley Swine, Foreign & Domestic here in ATX).

What are some hot health and food trends you see coming to the forefront?

Always going for glory!

C.E. Steinfeld

Nutritional nihilists and pontificating diet extremists

8 Feb

Those who know me, and those who are beginning to know me through my second self (ie this blog, twitter), understand my deep seeded belief in the power of nutrition, mental philosophy, and lifestyle to exponentially increase one’s health and overall well-being.  I’ve read about, explored, tweaked, and experimented with multiple diets and have concluded that in reality, Michael Pollan says it best:

“Eat foods. Not too much. Mostly Plants”

If you have not read, The Omnivores Dilimma and/or In Defense of Food , you are depriving yourself of vital information that will infinitely improve your mind, body, and health. Pollan has a unique ability to look at things objectively and offer information in a clear cut, succinct manner.

This simple moniker is a great one to live by because it does not put forth the notion that you have to keep track of every calorie or carb you eat each day (oh! I just ate a grape! + 3 calories in my log!), nor does it prescribe some ludicrous extreme approach to living based on unfounded pseudo-science and extremist notions that we were not meant to eat animals or complex carbohydrates (ahem! paleo, double ahem!! vegan).  It merely states that you eat food with a balanced approach! Yes, glorious unadulterated food! Not something that resembles food or once was food in a galaxy far, far away (ie twinkies et al). It does not adhere to some baseless doctrine that we were not designed or supposed to eat animals (our dental structure quickly debunks this myth).  In fact, if we did not eat fish or animals as we evolved , we most likely would have lacked the omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats necessary to increase cognitive function and brain development.  We would have lacked the energy to explore vast distances into unknown, unexplored places without a complex amino-acid profile and ample amount of saturated fat.  In essence, we probably would still be neanderthals aimlessly foraging for wild plants and fruits somewhere in Africa, and the vegans and the paleos of the world would not even exist to begin with! But I digress….

It comes down to the fact that we should be conscience from where food comes from! We should ask the hard questions about people who pander quick weight loss diets, extreme doctrines (whom I call pontificating diet extremists), and those who push self-help books of which they, not YOU, receive the most benefit.

After much thought, it seems we all as members of society can be put into a three categories in regards to our take on diet and nutrition:

1. Nutritional nihilists:  People that believe that food and nutrition decisions have little to no impact on their own health or the health of society.  They eat whatever they choose and believe that diet has no impact on their health and well-being.  They often end up with obesity or morbidity which then leads to lifelong health problems and chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease.  They may, only after a scary health episode, choose to change their lifestyle but it’s often too late to fully recover.

2. Pontificating diet extremists: People that harangue that their diet is the best and that all others are just misguided, long-lost, foreign alien species.  While many of their points on diet and nutrition have a great deal of merit, they fail to see that their philosphical and scientific basis is unfounded, misguided, and impractical for the general population.  They also preach to their friends, they blog, write books, and yell at their family when they choose to eat turkey on Thankgiving or when their friends want to eat a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast.

Have a good laugh about this video: Diet deathmatch! Paleo vs Vegan!

3. Balanced and practical: Those that understand the impact that their diet has on their health and society but do not adhere to any strict philosophical or scientific doctrine.  They live in the balance and strive to eat FOOD! They support food and food causes because they understand that our purchases has a direct impact on what companies and farms produce. They understand the basic doctrine that we should eat a mostly plant-based diet with some animal protein because we are human omnivores after all! Check out the free manifesto called Fearless Health by fellow blogger Matt Gartland or any of the listed Michael Pollan works for more reading. I will be posting additional resources to explore as well.

This post is far from comprehensive.  It is merely a foundation to broach this topic in more detail in the future.  I will be sure to discuss this further because, not only is it fascinating, but it’s quickly becoming increasingly important as this whole obesity thing seems to be getting more and more out of control.

Always going for glory!

H.E.

aka C.E. Steinfeld