We live in an age where shopping for groceries leaves you feeling like you need an enigma machine to decode labels. Everyone is jumping on a new trend, a new diet, or recommending a drastic lifestyle change that will 'transform your world.'
We know it is confusing to keep up with all the buzzwords thrown at you every day. So, here is a curated list of Food, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Buzzwords: what they mean and how they work. We aim to provide you with enough information (in no way promoting any of them) so that you understand what may (or may not) work for you!
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from animal products, particularly in diet. Yes, both vegans and vegetarians exclude meat and fish from their diets, but being vegans goes a step further to exclude any food made of animal origin. It includes dairy products, honey, and eggs.
Being vegan is more of a lifestyle than a diet. It aims to prevent the slaughter of animals and to protect the environment a little at a time. Vegans avoid animal by-products such as leather, silk, gelatin, and fur. As for the health benefits, vegan food is packed full of nutrients (duh, it's mostly fruits and vegetables).
A ketogenic or Keto diet involves drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fats. It puts your body into a metabolic state called Ketosis. It makes your body very efficient at burning fat for energy instead of carbs and starts converting fat into ketones in the liver. Avoiding carbs for a day is not enough. It usually takes a couple of days.
The standard keto diet consists of 70% fats, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. The common source of fat for keto diets are fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils. When done properly, a ketogenic diet significantly reduces blood sugar and insulin levels. However, it is not a sustainable diet because you have to be very vigilant while on it.
Here are some great keto recipes to try at home,
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular diets at the moment. It focuses
not on what you eat but on when you eat. It is an eating pattern that alternates between eating and fasting. The most common is 8 hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting, where you skip breakfast.
Other forms of IF include The 5:2, you fast twice a week and The Eat-stop-eat where you eat every alternate day. IF aids in weight loss, disease prevention, mental sharpness, and an increase in favourable hormones. The shortcomings of IF are the lack of guidelines on what you can and cannot eat. There are also side effects to fasting- headaches and heartburn.
Drinking is an ideal option for both, celebrations and low points, so much so that not drinking would be considered strange or out of the ordinary. However, this culture is changing. Sober curious means avoiding the consumption of alcohol for health or wellness reasons and not because of an addiction or dependency. Sober curious people question what fuels them to drink and how alcohol affects their lives. Alcohol dependency is a grey area and is not just divided into alcoholics and regular drinkers. The idea is to question every drinking situation instead of just going along with what everyone else is doing. Bars and brands have adapted to this new culture by providing alcohol-free cocktail options for their customers.
Here’s why millennials are choosing to be sober curious,
Antioxidants slow down or reduce oxidation by fighting free radicals in our
bodies. When the level of free radicals is higher than that of antioxidants, it can cause Oxidative Stress. Similar to how an apple when cut and left on the kitchen counter, turns brown, the Oxidative Stress in your body can damage DNA and cells. DNA damage is linked to ageing, cancer, and other illnesses. Even though your body has its antioxidant defence, certain foods are rich in antioxidants and can help boost this defence like-
Dark chocolate- 15mmol of antioxidants per 100g
Pecans- 10.6 mmol of antioxidants per 100g
Blueberries- 9.2 mmol of antioxidants per 100g
Kale- 2.7 mmol of antioxidants per 100g
Bonus: Herbs, spices, and coffee are also great sources!
Some good ways to boost your antioxidant intake:
Our bodies are home to over 100 trillion bacteria. Before you get scared, mostly good bacteria (very few kinds of bacteria can harm you). They live in our gut and aid digestion, nutrition absorption, and immunity. Probiotics are these healthy bacteria that are present in foods or supplements. Foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi are probiotics and can help improve skin and reduce inflammation.
P.S. Did you know that stress can cause lower levels of good bacteria to thrive in your body? So take a deep breath! You got this.
Here is the 101 on probiotics and their myths,