Healthy Eating Crosses Lines

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Healthiest Foods

I haven’t stopping thinking about, hearing about and debating about the health trends I spotted at the annual Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) 2017 in Chicago. The roles of dietitians and nutritionists are becoming more closely aligned, while the lines between traditional foods and healthy foods continue to blur.

The one thing everyone agrees on is the benefit of eating more plant-based foods.

Essential Formulas Incorporated (EFI) CEO Brian Craig has been in the natural industry for 35 years and noticed more interest by consumers in general for “guilt-free” foods that taste delicious and are also health-promoting. This applies to snack foods as well as prepared or ready-to-prepare meals. It also spills over into supplements with consumers wanting supplements that are more “food-based” and more lifestyle versus just “quick-fixes.” “Both regulators and consumers alike will be demanding better quality, more truthful labeling, and reliable products,” predicts Craig.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics from EFI fits clearly into two growing categories – fermented foods and probiotic supplements. Unlike most probiotic supplements, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics products are grown on and include a wide array of fruits, vegetables, seaweed and mushrooms. The traditional Japanese fermentation process takes a full three years to complete and in the end the full fermented food plus the probiotics and post biotics are encapsulated together for a complete formula.

Probiotics are becoming more mainstream and more convenient in ready-to-serve beverage, power packets and teas. GoLive cracked the code on keeping pre- and probiotics strains thriving so they can do more for your body when delivered in these great tasting ways.

The paleo and keto movements also remain strong. Randy Hartnell, CEO of Vital Choice, specializes in natural salmon, often referred to as “the super fish,” arguably one of the most nutritious proteins you can get. “The dietitians have really grown,” said Hartnell. “They used to ask how they could get the most calories for the fewest dollars. Now, it seems they realize if you want higher quality food, you need to be willing to pay for it.”

As a commercial fisherman for 20 years in Alaska, Hartnell says “virtually every fish caught gets sold offshore where people value wild-caught.” Alaska still exports while America continues to import low quality fish. “Lately, there has been a real gradual shift in the attitude and a greater appreciation for natural, fresh foods,” said Hartnell. “It’s hard to get valid information from the people behind the seafood counter. Nutritionists trust Vital Choice because they can trace what they are paying for.”

Vital Choice is changing how we define the term “fast food”. The company has become a trusted source for fast home delivery of the world’s finest wild seafood and certified-organic vegetables and kosher-certified foods harvested from healthy, well-managed wild fisheries and farms. Vital Choice takes the guesswork out of your trip to the grocery by eliminating it all together. They send you the proteins and vegetables needed to cook delicious and filling meals that do your body good!

Traceability is becoming more of a demand for everything, including chia. Salba grows and sells its own chia to ensure quality. According to Rally Ralston, of Salba, the category continues to grow because chia is a whole food that is high in protein, fiber, minerals, and omegas and can be used as an ingredient. Keep an eye on chia, as it’s expected to grow by 20% this year.

There were other expected and unknown trends detected during the annual conference. Here is a rundown.

Going back to the basics

In the 80’s, a passion for peanuts combined with the commitment to provide consumers high quality ingredients led to the creation of a creamy all natural peanut butter made of 100% nuts— Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter. Made from peanuts grown in the United States, the company believes peanuts taste delicious just as they are—with nothing added. Their modern peanut butter, with a classic taste, delivers a serving of resveratrol, vitamin E, and the same much-needed antioxidants that can be found in red wine. A staple in pantries around the country just became good for you!

Curb carbs

Instant oatmeal, white bread, sports drinks and most candies are some popular food and drinks with fast carbs that lead to sugar spikes aka “the sugar high.” Good Idea helps those with normal blood sugar levels handle the sugar spikes that follow eating fast carbohydrates. A patented clinically proven formula helps the body break down carbs to reduce the blood sugar spike following a fast carb meal. Enjoy it in orange mango or lemon lime before and during your meal to really see the effects.

Milling grains

Artisan breads are enjoying a renaissance. I actually heard someone saying, “On a cold day, gluten keeps me toasty!” From oats to quinoa, grains from Royal Lee Organics are organic and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. All of their grains are sourced from high-quality farms and no matter what grain you choose you will be able to take advantage of the health benefits. Benefits such as, magnesium that relaxes blood vessels and improves nutrient flow throughout the body and phosphorus that may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Whether you’re making a pizza crust, favorite bread or any baked good you enjoy, if it’s made with grains from Royal Lee Organics you can ensure a top quality taste and exceptional health benefits.

Personalized nutrition

Have you ever wondered if you may be allergic to a certain fruit, vegetable or spice? How can the nutritional requirements for men or women of all sizes who do or don’t exercise be the same? Well, they are not. To start peeling the onion and get the nutrition plan to optimize your individual wellness, “people are finally realizing they need a personalized nutritional plan,” says Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy of Nutrigenomix. The company’s saliva test gives you a very comprehensive view of your nutritional proclivities based on your DNA. Obviously lifestyle choices are very influential in your health but it’s good to know the basics of your nutritional needs and after the test, you get to speak with a professional who gives you very useful eating suggestions.

Pinnertest, a different test, can help you find different answers. The innovative at-home test helps individuals determine their food sensitivities. Simply order Pinnertest’s in-home kit, and use its easy-to-use finger prick tool to extract a couple drops of blood. Send it back and receive an email describing which foods you’re intolerant to. These tests help take the guesswork out of what you should be eating. Informed tweaks can yield amazing results.

Upgrading hospital food

When we put foods with natural healthy ingredients into our body we are giving it even more power to heal. Kate Farms believes in this and the importance of listening to our body and fueling it with the powerful nutrients needed to thrive, heal, and perform at peak level. You can easily fuel your body with their organic, plant-based protein, free from dairy, gluten, and soy ready-to-drink shakes. Available in Komplete Coffee, Komplete Vanilla and Komplete Chocolate, no matter the flavor you indulge in, you are giving your body what it needs to function at its peak. An alternative to hospital feeding tube brands to watch is Functional Formularies.

Portion control

As the saying goes, “Sometimes during a meal our eyes can get bigger than our stomachs” and Livliga dinnerware gets them both on the same page. Their simply elegant, intelligently designed dishware was specifically created to subtly guide diners toward eating a balanced meal with appropriate serving sizes. Livliga provides a dining experience that allows us to indulge in the right amount of our favorite dishes.

Being entrepreneurial

A team of exercise enthusiasts, health care experts and engineers committed to shifting the healthcare system joined to create HealthSnap Solutions with a goal to prevent people from “falling off the cliff” of chronic disease. They have streamlined the ways health care providers can issue personalized lifestyle prescriptions that will ultimately speed up the process of improving health, healing time and possibly eliminate the need for the medication entirely.

Amped protein

It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, shouldn’t that be when you give your body the most nutrients? FlapJacked’s protein packed pancakes, muffins and other breakfast pastries give your body the nutrients to power through the day. From muffins to pancakes, just add water to any FlapJacked product and instantly add protein to your diet.

Alternatives to gluten

Angelic Bakehouse creates “Pure Bread Perfection” by taking top tier ingredients; non-GMO sprouted grain and organic honey, then crafting them into breads and bread products everyone can enjoy. Their line of sliced bread, baguettes, bread crisps and other bread products are vegetarian, gluten-free, and Kosher-certified giving those with the most discerning diet and even adventurous foodies the chance to experience a tastier healthier bread.

Bakery on Main is a line of snacks that skips the gluten, but not the taste. This company believes in integrity and that happiness and health should be harmonious. They prove their commitment by ensuring everything they bake in their gluten-free facility uses only natural, NON-GMO Project Verified ingredients that are also dairy- and casein-free. Their granola bars and other delectable confections are tasty ways to give into your snack cravings and be good to your body.

Herbs for today’s consumer

Gaia Herbs uses “plant intelligence” to deliver a natural line of herb-based products that help maintain and improve overall health. Through their use of a wide range of herbs, from classics such as aloe to exotics such as valerian, their homeopathic remedies do everything from soothe colds to improve sleep. From pills to sprays, Gaia Herbs is making proven century-old herb remedies that will help the modern consumer.

Collagen supplements

While collagen supplements like Vital Protein continue to skyrocket, there are legacy brands like Great Lakes Gelatin to watch.

The 2018 FNCE event will be held Oct. 20-23 in Washington, D.C.


Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting Nancy Trenttrend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm with an office in Los Angeles.  Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives.  A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at nancy@trentandcompany.com.  You may also visit http://www.trentandcompany.com.

NOTE: WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific brand or product. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before adding a dietary supplement to (or removing one from) your daily regimen. The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher.

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