As a nutrition consultant, I’m all about helping people navigate today’s food system…how to create healthful meals when days are already rich and full…when to select organic over conventional produce…how to ensure meals are a supportive balance of macronutrients…uncovering foods or ingredients that are causing stomach upset or lingering fatigue. The list goes on.
I admit that I can get short-sighted when it comes to making “whole food” recommendations to clients. Broccoli, carrots, kale. Clean, lean protein. Nuts, seeds and avocado. Sounds simple, right? But what happens when your time in the kitchen is limited? When work demands and even leisure travel have you eating in restaurants multiple times per day, day after day? Without being a food sleuth, we can only hope food manufacturers and those who supply ingredients in large quantities offer up the best ingredients possible.
I recently had the opportunity to see first-hand the ingredients that food suppliers are offering manufacturers and some of the innovations coming through the food pipeline. The Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) conference is the largest gathering place of food innovation in the world. IFT brings together the best and brightest minds in the food science community with a focus on providing safe, nutritious and sustainable food supplies to everyone. At the IFT17 expo in Las Vegas last week, I met vendors from all over the world who are working hard to bring whole food ingredients to those who produce food on a global scale. While many of the products I encountered at the show were indeed “processed,” it was apparent that at the core of many of these companies is an interest in providing global access to high quality ingredients that can be safely transported and stored while retaining their nutrient-value.
Don’t get me wrong, I prefer and will continue to recommend eating whole, fresh foods raised without the use of pesticides and antibiotics. And that works when we have access to grocery stores and farmers’ markets that provide fresh, organic produce and local farm-raised protein. But let’s face it, those sources are not available to everyone.
I was encouraged by the number of companies at IFT17 doing the innovative thinking and research to find best practices in bringing quality ingredients to market that allow for globalized food distribution. It may not yet be ideal, but I talked with a number of companies moving in the right direction.
Here are two interesting products I discovered at the expo. Keep an eye out for them.
Ahiflower® – An upcoming plant-based source of omega fatty acids. Sustainably grown, the seeds of the Buglossoides arvensis plant are the source of an oil that has the combined nutritional impact of evening primrose, flaxseed and fish oil. This vegan option contains a blend of omega 3, 6 and 9 in ratios known to reduce inflammation, balance hormones and support skin health. Unlike most other omega sources, Ahiflower contains a precursor to EPA, which makes its metabolism and conversion to EPA more efficient. I like the potential of this product for its agricultural stewardship and the impact of a lesser burden on our fish supply and oceans. As a plant-based source of the omegas, there is no fishy after-taste or smell. View Ahiflower’s omega profile here.
Cricket Powder – You may have heard about restaurants serving up insects as a delicacy. The FDA has now given approval to create an alternative protein source from…you guessed it….crickets. I admit, I have not yet fully embraced this protein source but think the concept has potential…once I get over the “ick” factor. Think about it…cultures have been eating insects for millennia. Raising crickets is far more cost effective than feedlots and slaughter houses, and requires far less water. The tropical species Acheta domesticus has been found to contain more calcium per gram than milk, more iron than spinach, and more vitamin B12 than salmon. Packed with a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and amino acids (see chart), cricket powder can be added to smoothies and baked goods. A company to check out is Griopro®. (Note: Crickets are related to crustacean shellfish.)
I have more to learn about both products and will be testing them over the next few weeks. Yes, I have actual product to try!
Let me know what you think about an alternative source for your omega fatty acids and whether you would try cricket powder as a protein source. I can be reached by email at any time.
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Here’s to your health and vitality!
I believe good health is as close as your kitchen. My nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole food and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. My role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. As a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate), I look forward to helping you create a vibrant life. To learn more, contact me at 303-594-4401 or by email.