The wellness industry is one that has taken off exponentially in recent years. People have added wellness into the brand identity of their companies. It is now trending to live a life of wellness, and this can be seen in all of the recent food trends: green juices, charcoal, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and so on. These are just a few examples of trends and lifestyles that have flooded social media feeds.
With all of these contradicting trends, it is confusing to figure out exactly what you should be eating. Some diet trends like vegan and ketogenic couldn’t be more opposite. The ketogenic diet focuses on eating large amounts of animal protein, unsaturated fats, and only 5-10% of carbs. On the other hand, the vegan diet strictly avoids eating any animal products and encourages a plant-based lifestyle.
Statistically, 15 million Americans are living with food allergies, which is roughly 5% of the country’s population. For the people who are living with food allergies, there are medical reasons why they must restrict certain foods from their diets. Examples are celiac disease and lactose intolerance, which call for a restriction of gluten and dairy, respectively.
Our culture has swayed to putting so many restrictions on what we eat. We are constantly told to avoid certain foods, and it seems like the list is only growing. This growing list has created a market for companies to make products that align with the boundaries we have placed on food. This can lead to even more confusion because numerous brands are claiming to be “the best” or “the only” in their niche.
It’s easy to see why these trends and brands are so popular: it’s because we are buying into them. Without the rise of the wellness industry, these brands would not be successful. The wellness movement is not inherently bad. In fact, it’s great that leading a life that emphasizes wellness is now trending.
What is “bad” about the wellness movement is that we overcomplicated. We humans have a talent for overcomplicating our lives when it is not necessary. The solution to not getting caught up in the wellness industry is to keep it simple. Focus on whole foods and listen to your body.
Whether you are living with food allergies or not, eating whole and listening to your body are key tools to reaching optimal health. The dictionary definition for whole foods is “food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances.” Limiting foods that have added sugars is a great place to start with eating whole foods. Enjoying fruits as a whole rather than juicing them is another example of this movement.
Listening to your body is the other key piece in finding what works for you. Everyone is so genetically different which causes us to react to foods (even healthy ones) differently. Pay attention to how your body feels before, during, and after eating. Notice how you feel after eating a salad versus a California Burrito.
Implementing whole foods and paying attention to how they affect your body will help you figure out exactly what works best for you and your health.