As the calendar flips to a fresh year, we're all looking for ways to make a clean slate. This often involves resolutions around health, wellness, and, of course, food. But instead of focusing on deprivation or drastic changes, what if we approached the new year with a spirit of curiosity?
Out with the old, in with the new
As we enter 2024, it's time to leave those unhealthy oils, food dyes, and gums in the past and start swapping out ingredients that might be weighing us down for ones that can invigorate our kitchens and our palates.
Let's make 2024 the year we discover the joys of fresh, vibrant ingredients and create meals that are as good for us as they are taste!
And if you are looking for more, check out our shopping list of Foods to Bring into the new year!
Foods to Bring in to the New Year!
Let's leave all the toxic stuff in 2023
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Ingredients to leave in 2023
Seed Oils: Canola Oil
Seed Oils are considered harmful because they are utilized in the form of processed and packaged foods. Vegetable oils contain unsaturated fats that oxidize when exposed to heat, triggering inflammation in the body. If they’re not “cold-pressed” or “extra-virgin,” the oil is considered refined. This process includes caustic refining, bleaching, and degumming – all which involve high temperatures or chemicals that are damaging to the human body.
Canola oil is abundant in omega 6 fatty acids, which when over consumed, throws off our bodies healthy balance of omega 3 to omega 6. This imbalance leads to chronic inflammation, and a higher risk of heart disease. Highly processed oil extracted from a GMO crop. Oil is extracted using the chemical solvent hexane.
Food Dyes: Red 40
With Red 40 already being banned in Europe and now California, it’s time to ditch this food dye all together in the New Year.
Food Dyes are used to make food look more appealing. It also helps hide the fact that these processed foods have very little nutritional value.
Some people, especially children, may be sensitive to food dyes, and have experienced allergic reactions when consuming them. Artificial food dyes have also been linked to increased behavioral problems in children, especially those with ADHD, because they may cause chemical changes in the brain, inflammation, and depletion of minerals that are important to growth and development.
Food Gums: Guar Gum
This food additive needs to be subtracted from 2024. Guar Gum is used as a thickener and stabilizer in foods.
Some studies indicate that guar gum could be beneficial for some elements of health such as digestion, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and weight maintenance.
However, it can be dangerous in large amounts and has been banned in the use of weight loss supplements after causing obstruction of the esophagus and small bowel and, in some cases, even death when added to a product in the 1990s.
Although the amounts added to food are much lower, guar gum can still cause side effects like gas, bloating, and indigestion. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to guar gum.
As always, the free Trash Panda app is here to help you identify all the potentially harmful and questionable ingredients in your food, so be sure to take it with you when you shop.
Ingredients to Incorporate in 2024
Buckwheat, despite its name, isn't actually wheat or even a grain! It's a seed from a flowering plant related to rhubarb, though it shares similar culinary uses to cereal grains. And guess what? It's packed with some pretty impressive health benefits, making it a worthy addition to your dietary repertoire.
For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, buckwheat is a godsend. It's completely gluten-free, offering a delicious and nutritious alternative to wheat-based products. Not to mention it is packed with protein, making it a great alternative for vegetarians and vegans. It’s nutritional value doesn’t stop there! Buckwheat is a fantastic source of vital minerals like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. These minerals contribute to various bodily functions, from bone health and energy production to red blood cell formation and nerve function. Buckwheat is also rich in antioxidants, particularly rutin, which boasts anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Buckwheat flour isn't your average flour. This gluten-free gem is packed with nutrients like fiber, protein, and antioxidants, making it a healthy and delicious alternative to wheat flour. It's great for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, and its unique flavor can be enjoyed in pancakes, crepes, pasta, and even baked goods. So ditch the gluten and give buckwheat flour a try!
Proteins: Protein Powder
One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is going to the gym. And while yes, exercise is great, making sure you are fueling your body with the right nutrients is key. Protein powders are nutritional supplements that may help build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones. It is important to read the ingredients in protein powders because many include added sugars and other additives that can end up doing more harm than good
It's a complete amino acid dream, made with organic whole-food goodness and none of the artificial nasties. Gentle on digestion, packed with extra nutrients, and oh-so-delicious, it'll fuel your workouts and taste buds both.
Probiotics are like tiny BFFs living in your gut, and they're more than just good company! They're live bacteria and yeasts that can have some pretty awesome benefits for your overall health. Think of them as an army of microscopic gardeners tending to the garden of your microbiome, the vast community of microorganisms residing in your digestive system.
This immunity shot is full of plant-based ingredients like ginger, turmeric, echinacea, live probiotics and black pepper, this shot is sure to give you the immunity boost your body needs anytime of the day. Just give it a shake and enjoy the immune supporting benefits.
Kefir's gut-friendly magic works wonders for your immune system! Packed with probiotics, these tiny warriors fight off bad bacteria and boost good ones, keeping your digestive system balanced and happy. This balance spills over, potentially strengthening your immune response and helping your body better combat infections. Think of it as an army of microscopic cheerleaders for your immune cells! Plus, kefir's antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties add another layer of defense, potentially reducing inflammation linked to chronic diseases and helping your body stay strong.
So ditch the baggage of unhealthy ingredients and dive headfirst into the vibrant world of fresh, wholesome alternatives! 2024 is your year to unleash your culinary creativity and nourish your body with the delicious power of nature. Remember, small changes can lead to big results, and each swap towards a healthier ingredient is a step towards a more vibrant, empowered you. Happy cooking, happy eating, and happy new year from the Trash Panda Team!