Food Fads

Foodie – n.Slang

‘A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation.’

Foodies are all over the latest buzz foods but should you be stocking up on them? When I consider incorporating the latest fad foods into my diet I take into account nutrition, ease of purchase, affordability, ease of cooking and of course taste. Here are some of the latest foods that have been the talk of the town…

Kale

Foodies have been going Kale Krazy! Kale is a cruciferous vegetable along with broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy . All cruciferous vegetables are great for our health and are packed full of nutritious goodness! Kale contains loads of phytonutrients, antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, and isothiocyanates. These goodies are molecules that do amazing things for our health and have been linked with cancer, cardiovascular and other chronic disease prevention. Kale contains a decent amount of omega 3 for a plant. We know omega 3’s are great for reducing inflammation and help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.  Kale is high in fibre which is great to keep you feeling full and is essential for healthy bowels. Kale is low in calories and nutrient dense full of vitamin A, C and K, B6, magnesium, potassium and contains iron and calcium. So is it worth going kale krazy?

Nutrition gets a big tick. Very nutrient dense and low in calories.

Ease of purchasing – You won’t often find kale in the big supermarkets, usually you will have to go hunting for it at the local farmers market.

Affordability – Can pick it up for a good price at a farmers market.

Cooking – kale can be incorporated into salads, soups, stir fries & smoothies. Try it steamed sauteed, and slow-simmered.

Alternatives – any cruciferous vegetable such as bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower or spinach.

Cacao

Raw Cacao hit the superfood scene thanks to the paleo diet. Raw cacao pronounced ka-kaw comes from the cacao tree (Theobroma Cacao Tree) and its seeds are used to make cocoa powder and chocolate. The raw cacao seeds have a very bitter taste – very different from the chocolate you buy at the shops! There is a lot of processing involved to go from cacao beans to a chocolate bar including the addition of cocoa butter, fats and sugar. Raw cacao however is full of flavanols which have strong antioxidant properties. There have been links made with raw cacao and reduced blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, improved insulin resistance and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.   Cacao is also a source of magnesium, sulphur, calcium, iron, potassium and fibre. So should you jump on the cacao bandwagon?

Nutrition – Certainly has some good nutritional qualities and high in antioxidants.

Ease of purchase – becoming more mainstream but you still may have to go to health food stores or specialty supermarkets.

Affordability – A bit pricy to purchase a bag of raw cacao powder but should last quite a while

Cooking – Add to smoothies, desserts, museli, or milk.

Alternatives – berries are also a great source of antioxidants and can be used in smoothies, desserts or on top of porridge or museli. If you do like your chocolate opt for the darkest one possible.

Ancient Grains

Ancient grains have been the buzz word lately! Think farro, amaranth, arrowroot, millet, semolina, triticale and quinoa. If you are jumping on this bandwagon make sure you get the pronunciation right, quinoa = keen-wa.  Some ancient grains are more popular than others but all have started to make a name for themself and have started to appear on the menu of trendy, hip cafes or on the plate of celebrities.  These ancient grains are in high demand as they are more nutritious and more natural than some of the highly processed white rices, pastas or noodles. Each have their own nutritional properties, some being higher in protein than others and each have their own vitamin and mineral profile. The most common of all is quinoa. This seed is high in protein, iron, zinc, fibre, magnesium, folate and some B vitamins.  It is becoming increasingly popular and more readily available.

Nutrition – Quinoa is very nutrition dense, gets a big nutritional tick!

Ease of purchase – can now be purchased in most supermarkets and health food stores.

Affordability – More expensive than traditional rices and pastas but you usually don’t have to use as much.

Cooking – easy to cook and can be incorporated into salads, stir fries, soups or as a side to meat & veg. Quinoa can even be used instead of porridge for breakfast.

Alternatives – Any minimally processed grain such as brown rice, black rice & barley are good alternative to white rice and pasta

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