Let’s face it, the age of dieting and fat-free culture is over. It’s 2016, and instead of looking for a magic pill to make us healthy, this is the year to shift our cultural mindset to a healthier lifestyle — a lifestyle that is fun, easy, and works for our bodies and the planet.
This means changing the way we think about health and wellness and opening our minds to alternative ways of nourishing ourselves, which actually includes way more than food alone.
It’s time for a radical paradigm shift in the way we "do" health, because major illnesses like heart disease and diabetes can be prevented by simple lifestyle and diet changes.
But just because the changes are simple doesn’t mean they’re easy. Here are the health trends that are actually worth paying attention to.
1. Ditching diets
Yet we are so convinced that there's one magic diet out there that will keep the weight off, so we keep looking for it. The truth is, though, that obsessing about what we eat (which is essentially what diets are) only creates anxiety and restriction, which is counterproductive to losing weight and feeling happy.
Enter health coaches.
A health coach is professionally trained as a master of habit change. Having a health coach in your corner is the difference between knowing what to do to get healthy (“I should really drink more water …”) and actually doing it (“I drank 2 liters of water every day this week!”).
Health coaches don’t enforce rules; they offer guidance and goal setting. They don’t punish and shame; they support, stretch, and hold clients accountable so that success around your health goals is inevitable.
Instead of pushing dieting, points, or calorie counting, it's about discovering the perfect lifestyle for our unique body, one that is sustainable for a lifetime.
2. Embracing healthy fats
For decades, fat-free products have lined our supermarket shelves and become the American norm. But what many people don’t realize is fat-free foods make up for the lack of fat with something — usually sugar.
Many “fat-free” products labeled as such are misleading and unsatisfying because they lack the fat our bodies need and crave. We end up eating more and more of these foods to try to feel satisfied but never really do.
We’ve also done ourselves a huge disservice as a culture by labeling all fats as bad.
Certain fats like hydrogenated oil (aka trans fats) should be avoided. These are found in many products with long shelf lives from crackers and frosting to deep-fried food and microwave popcorn.
It's good to get in the habit of reading the list of ingredients on food labels. Look out for the word “hydrogenated” — that’s the killer clue.
Healthy fats like the ones found in avocados, nuts, olives, and wild fatty fish are crucial for our well-being, and they’re back in fashion. So eat them with pride. We do!
3. The power of fresh air and green space
We've been so focused for so long on food and how it affects our health that we've neglected the health benefits of our natural environment — which offers us totally free, 24/7 nourishment for our souls.
It's time to take an hour a day to shut down screen time, take a break from the office cubicle, and get outside. Our bodies and minds crave fresh air, sunshine, and green space just like it craves food.
So take that hour-long lunch break, walk to a nearby park, and breathe in the air. Even 15 minutes of fresh air (even if it’s city air or it’s raining) is more refreshing than an air-conditioned office.
On weekends make a point to get into nature — go for a hike in the woods, ride a bike along the pier, have a picnic in the park — and you'll be amazed at how quickly your cravings disappear and how recharged your system feels.
4. Modest meat consumption
We're not suggesting everyone swear off meat forever, but our current level of animal consumption is simply not sustainable for the planet or our bodies — especially meat from factory farm animals pumped with antibiotics and unnatural (often harmful) diets.
The meat industry is also one of the highest contributors to global warming due to the methane gases emitted by livestock waste, which converts into greenhouse gases. An enormous amount of water is also needed to produce meat — it takes approximately 1,300 gallons of water to make 1 pound of beef!
There are plenty of ways to consume nutrient-dense, non-animal protein sources like pumpkin seeds, non-GMO tofu, chia and hemp seeds, quinoa, garbanzo beans, and lentils. Think of animal protein as a condiment — sprinkle in a little grass-fed, organic animal protein here and there.
5. Coffee + grass-fed butter for better digestion
Our society is obsessed with caffeine, and coffee is our drug of choice. The truth is that caffeine combined with a diet low in healthy fats and fiber can wreak havoc on our nervous system and digestive function.
If quitting caffeine is just not an option, then try the new “Bulletproof” coffee from health expert Dave Asprey. It’s a blend of high-quality coffee beans and grass-fed butter.
The fats in the butter slow the absorption of the caffeine and prevent that caffeine rush, replacing it with a slow release of high energy for hours. Combine Bulletproof coffee with a breakfast that’s high in healthy fats and fiber, and you’ve got yourself a trendy (and healthy) start to your day.