Eating grass-fed is a conscious decision to eat animal products from animals who are eating their natural diet. It is healthier for the animals to be eating their natural diet and healthier for us as human beings. The food is more wholesome when the animal can eat their natural diet of grass, which often is infused with other greens making their diet high in nutrients.
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Nutrition trends often come from near and far, and some stay for years or only a few months. One nutrition trend, however, seems like it’s here to stay!
One of the newest nutrition trends on the rise has been the conception of alternative pastas. This newest trend has become particularly popular due to the increased interest in low carb, paleo and gluten free diets causing many people to gravitate toward swapping out their big bowl of wheat pasta for a substitute that has a similar taste and flavor without the high carbohydrate load.
Written by Cheyenne Watts | Reviewed by Adiana Castro MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
Recently you may have gone out for a nice, sit-down meal at a trendy New York City restaurant. The menu is made of recycled cardboard, the ink used to print the meal options is eco-friendly, and the furniture upon which you sit and dine is made of reclaimed materials collected from ship wreckage. You begin to consider the options, but are overwhelmed by the options- Do you want free-range chicken from Upstate New York? Or would you prefer grass-fed beef that roamed on a 50-acre pasture? Or, perhaps, you’d like to order the goat that was raised by a traditional two-parent family with a steady income, and went to a private school for gifted goats? That last option is a silly exaggeration, but it brings us to the point that the Farm-to-Table trend has gotten a bit out of hand. The line between serving food that is truly local and telling utter lie to keep up the establishments’ appearances has become blurred, but this does not mean fresh foods are impossible to find.
Farm-to-table is a social movement which promotes serving local food at restaurants and school cafeterias, preferably through direct acquisition from the producer. Farm-to-table often incorporates a form of food traceability, or knowing where your food comes from, where the farm or garden the food originates is made known.
The farm-to-table movement has arisen more or less concurrently with changes in attitudes about food safety, food freshness, food seasonality, and small-farm economics. Alice Waters, restauranteur of Chez Panisse and mother of the Slow Food movement, began listing the farms on her restaurant menus to “remind people that food really did grow on farms,” (Vanity Fair, 2015).
Restaurants, schools, and hotels alike want to source locally and follow a farm-to-table method because locally sourced food is more frequently organic (meaning it doesn’t use GMOs), tastes better (because it hasn’t been picked early and shipped in a truck), it comes from small family farms, and there are more unique types varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Recently, farm-to-table eating has become more available to the general public through farmers markets and monthly food box subscriptions. Families can visit the farmers market on the weekend to pick out organic produce, fresh baked goods, homemade jams, and grass fed meat to cook for a wholesome dinner. Also, some subscription food boxes source locally when possible and only buy their product from organic, small farms.
New York City is home to many farm-to-table restaurants. You can find a comprehensive list of some of the most famous ones here. In addition, you can find all of your local farmers markets on this site.
If you want to support local farmers, eat healthier and more delicious food, and reduce your carbon footprint, please try out a new farm-to-table restaurant, or cook a meal with your family using produce you purchased at a local NYC Farmers Market. Happy Eating!
Written by Desireeh Chevere | Reviewed by Jennifer Calo MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
Calling all seafood lovers! Have you heard of the popular new food trend, Hawaiian Poke? The dish has been around for centuries but has become increasingly popular in NYC in the last couple of years. Poke (pronounced “poh-KAY”) means “chunk” in Hawaiian and it is a raw seafood salad cut into chunks, often marinated with soy sauce and sesame oil. There are many variations of the dish, but the most common is raw tuna in a marinade with onions, scallions, and seaweed. It is similar to tartare and ceviche, but with a bolder, less acidic flavor. Not only is Poke a delicious and colorful meal, it offers nutritional benefits as well!
Fish is a great source of protein that is overall low in calories and saturated fat. Poke is rich in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, while also improving other cardiovascular risk factors. According to the American Heart Association, eating fish in moderation, such as twice a week, can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Fish intake can also lower your risk of mental decline and depression. While fish does contain mercury, research confirms the benefits of omega-3s far outweigh the risk of mercury contamination. Those concerned about the mercury levels of fish can opt for salmon, which is significantly lower in mercury than tuna.
There are endless varieties of Poke, and you can even make it at home! Make sure to purchase local, very fresh sashimi or sushi-grade fish. All you need is your choice of fish (salmon or tuna), vegetables (edamame, onions, carrots, or cucumber), soy sauce, sesame oil, and the best part- the seasonings! Have fun experimenting with wasabi, ginger, scallions, and even avocado for a savory flavorful meal.
This delicious food trend gets the stamp of approval from Registered Dietitian Nutritionists!
Fermented vegetables have been around for many years, because of their natural ability to extend shelf life and give foods unique flavors. The reason it has now become somewhat of a “craze”, is because of the recently learned health benefits this process is said to have on food.
In our busy, time obsessed culture we are always looking for ways to save time and cut corners. Recently batch cooking, also known as meal prep, has become a popular way to minimize time spent preparing meals throughout the week.
One of the greatest struggles to eating healthy is the lack of convenience. You work hard all day, hit the gym, and then head home for some much needed relaxation. As you start to sink deep into your couch with Netflix open on your lap, you realize, “I didn’t make lunch for tomorrow, [insert angry words here].”
You may have noticed a sudden rise in sprouted-grain products in supermarkets, such as breads, pastas, cereals, or even the grain itself. But what are sprouted grains anyways?
A recent trend that has been hitting store shelves, not only in its pure spice form, but in beverages and other “grab-and-go” items, is turmeric.
Nutrition Trend: Juices Pretending To Be Water
Written by Kelli Baker | Reviewed by Nikita Kapur, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
A recent trend on grocery store shelves has been the emergence of alternative water sources such as coconut water, watermelon water and maple water all spouting superior nutritional benefits to the consumer. These products are hyped up to have additional ingredients to regular H20 including vitamins and minerals that are naturally occurring and capable of enhancing a person’s health akin to a superfood. Essentially what the marketing industry has done is combined our image of water as being essential, hydrating and replenishing with healthy words like coconut, watermelon and maple all in an effort to sell a sugary drink.
Coconut water, one of the first to capitalize on this marketing scheme, has been touted as “mother nature’s sports drink” because of its high potassium content and ability to replenish electrolytes after a tough workout similar to a sports drink. Watermelon and maple water have similar health claims of electrolyte replenishment and product descriptions often include advantageous components like antioxidants and phytochemicals.
While it is true these water sources have various natural vitamins and minerals within them that are beneficial to our health, they also contain added sugar and calories that can add up quickly. These waters have more in common with juices than actual water and are easy to over consume. Moreover, since these drinks have added sugars, they can easily spike your blood sugar levels especially when drinking without exercise, which may also lead to energy crashes. Coconut water for instance contains 6g of sugar and 46 calories per 8oz serving while watermelon water has the same amount of calories with 10g of sugar and maple water contains 25 calories with 5g of sugar per 8oz serving. This may not seem like a significant amount, but for someone who wants to lose weight these unnecessary drinkable calories and grams of added sugar can add up throughout the day. With that being said, if you still feel the urge to enjoy natural flavored water like coconut, watermelon or maple, the best time is an hour after a workout when a quick source of these nutrients is optimal to consume. Enjoy these juice waters as a post workout treat while sticking to regular water throughout the day.
So, if you are looking to lose some weight and save some money, seeing as one bottle will cost you between $3 to $5, you are better off eating your calories instead of drinking them. The truth of the matter is you could drink some plain H20, eat some coconut or watermelon, or any other fruit or maybe even add some maple syrup to your breakfast pancakes and receive the same nutritional benefits that you would from drinking one of these higher priced waters with the added benefit of feeling fuller.
You may have heard your friends talk about it, or seen it sold at your favorite lunch place, but what is Kombucha? Simply, Kombucha is a slightly bubbly, sweetened black or green tea that is produced by fermenting the tea with what is called a SCOBY (a “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast”). Sometimes the tea also has added flavors like fruit juice.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that line our digestive tract and are known to be beneficial for the body. You will be surprised to know that we have 10 times more probiotics in our gut than our own cells.
Want to learn more about a culture? The best way is through their food! Ethnic foods provide exposure to new ingredients and flavors, and they are a great way to add more variety to your diet.