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Reality Bites: Debunking Food Myths for a New Year, New You—Plus a Healthy Spin on the Viral Salmon Rice Bowl

Raise your hand if you have a diet-related New Year's resolution or know someone who does. 🙋‍♀️

If you have your hand up (physically or figuratively), you're probably not the only one. As humans, we have an innate desire for personal growth, especially when we're bidding farewell to one chapter of our lives and welcoming another.

Now, raise a hand if you've come across a food trend or recommendation in the media. 🙋‍♂️

Chances are, you have both hands up and got in a quick arm exercise while reading this. Given we're exposed to an average of 10,000 advertising messages a day (including countless related to food), that's no surprise. In this sea of information, it can be confusing to navigate the nutritional waters.

Food Misconceptions

To help guide your 2024 edible expedition, we'll debunk several common food misconceptions and serve up some bite-sized tips for you to follow:

Misconception #1: You should follow a gluten-free diet. Unless you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you don't need to avoid gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye products, which have nutritional benefits including B vitamins and fiber.

Misconception #2: Full-fat products mean weight gain. Fat-free and low-fat products are not necessarily healthier for you, as they often contain added sugar or sodium. Unsaturated fat from foods like olive oil, nuts and avocados have beneficial functions such as protecting your organs and absorbing essential vitamins.

Misconception #3: Avoid carbs if you want to lose weight. Eliminating the entire carbohydrate food group, which includes fruit and whole grains, will cause you to miss out on vital nutrients. Instead, limiting highly processed carbs like chips and cookies can be a healthier way to lose weight.

Misconception #4: A detox diet will cleanse toxins out of your body. Detox diets have been suggested as ways to remove toxins from your body, lose weight or promote health. They typically involve short periods of fasting, drinking only fruit/vegetable juices and teas, or taking dietary supplements. However, your liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract naturally detoxify. Eating whole foods (such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans), drinking water, and removing highly processed foods from your diet are all better ways to rejuvenate your body.

Food Trends

Now that we've covered some basics, let's parse through a few viral social media recipes and explore whether they're good—for your tastebuds and your health:

Trend #1: Celery Juice
With a ratio of one bunch celery to one-half cup water, this drink offers some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, folate and potassium. Since celery is more than 85% water, it can help you stay hydrated (an aid to weight loss)—but it's not much different nutritionally than drinking plain water.

Trend #2: Nature's Cereal
This combination of coconut water, pomegranate seeds, blackberries and blueberries can help with digestion and energy levels, but keep in mind these fruits are high in sugars and are often intolerable by those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Trend #3: Salmon Rice Bowl
This trending meal tastes great and is filled with plenty of protein and healthy fats. Check out the healthier version of this recipe below, which swaps out white rice for brown and replaces condiments with their light and low-sodium counterparts.

As you ponder your goals for 2024, remember: rather than abruptly and radically altering your diet, the key to maintaining your nutritional resolution throughout the entire year and beyond is making small changes to your lifestyle that can be sustained over the long term.

Healthy Salmon Rice Bowl Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 oz cooked salmon
  • 2/3 cup cooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 ice cube
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 finely chopped medium-sized avocado
  • 2 tsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 5 gm (10 sheets) Simple Truth organic roasted seaweed snack with sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp kimchi (optional)

Instructions

  1. Using a fork, in a microwavable bowl, flake the fish. Top the fish with the rice and place the ice cube on top of the rice. Cover the bowl with parchment paper.
  2. Microwave on high until the fish and rice are thoroughly heated, about 1½ minutes. Remove any remaining ice.
  3. Drizzle the soy sauce over the rice bowl and stir to combine. Top with the avocado, mayonnaise and sriracha. Serve with the seaweed sheets and kimchi (if using).

Serving size: 1 bowl

Sources:

https://www.everlywell.com/blog/food-sensitivity/viral-tiktok-food-trends/

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/10-nutrition-myths-debunked

https://www.mmm-online.com/home/channel/the-top-10-diet-and-nutrition-trends-making-the-rounds-on-tiktok/

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/detoxes-and-cleanses-what-you-need-to-know

WeightWatchers (WW) 101

Who: If you are a HealthFlex participant, you, your spouse and your dependents age 18 or older are eligible for a WeightWatchers discount.

Cost: $8.48 per month for the digital plan; $19.11 per month for the digital + workshops plan. That's more than 50% off the retail price.

Learn more: Visit the WeightWatchers page on the Wespath website.

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