How to Define Healthy Eating?

A September 2012 report from Packaged Facts (a market research company) suggests that we need to redefine what healthful foods are.  The New Healthful:  Culinary Trend Mapping Report begins by saying, “This notion of promoting good health also focuses on the presence of beneficial nutrients and the use of inherently nutritious foods, instead of just the absence of certain ingredients that may negatively affect health when over-consumed.”  It then goes on to highlights certain foods that go beyond the traditional meaning of healthful, including raw foods, plant-based foods, and foods that are created with sustainability in mind.

According to this report, we can expect to see the following trends in the near future:

  1. Superior tap water and customized beverages
  2. Heirloom whole-grain breads
  3. Beans and greens for breakfast
  4. Healthier vending machine options
  5. Vegan fare on restaurant menus, especially veggie burgers
  6. Healthy kid’s fare

Hmmmmm. . . . .  While I certainly like the idea of promoting healthy and nutritious foods, I also have a part of me that is hesitating.  The very notion of defining “healthy” opens up the proverbial can of worms, in my opinion.  For example, I am sure there is a whole mob of Paleo and Whole30 enthusiasts rebelling at the list above.  Where’s the beef, they no doubt cry.  Then the Celiac folks chime in, bristling at the inclusion of whole-grain breads.

I know that The New Healthful is just reporting the trends, and not trying to make the rules.  But it does make me wonder about the inherent trickiness of defining something.  Inevitably, someone will feel left out.  Someone else  will feel righteously vindicated.  Someone else will not care.  How do we make these kinds of broad decisions then?

Personally, I think dilemmas like this are exactly why we need to learn about and know ourselves.  Feel better eating meat?  Go for it!  Discovering that you are not built for speed but can go forever?  Awesome!  Educate yourself, try some different approaches, and then walk your own path.  I’m all for being the Wise Individual living within the Society.



6 responses

  1. I completely agree with you on this one. This year after starting to experience very inconsistent food sensitivities and becoming aware of other health warning signs, I began to eliminate most of those “healthy” foods I’ve always been told to eat a lot of like grains and dairy. It wasn’t easy but I am so glad that I took the time to get to know what my body needs and what it doesn’t. This knowledge has profoundly changed how I think about food and I am much more aware of the impact it has on my health and general well being.

  2. Great topic, I love talking about good [healthy} food. It does seem to be all over the place what is considered healthy. I like to think what the pioneers would do with our availability to a greater variety of food. It is best to keep it simple, balanced and whole foods, and it is OK to have “fun” foods once in a while. I like to use the blood type diet as a good guideline for daily eating and it’s amazing how it works for better health. Thank you, Aimee.

    • I’ve also followed the blood-type diet for several years. I like the fact that it recognizes that not everyone is the same and that each person might need different things. Thanks, Susan!

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