Letter from The Publisher

Peggy Malecki

I recently read an article in the Washington Post outlining some of the likely 2019 food trends. It was encouraging to see many are focused more on nutrition than fads, although many are still linked to specific diets. If the predictions are accurate, we’ll see an increase in plant-based food choices, added grain-free options, new dairy alternatives and more limited-ingredient products for people with food sensitivities. In addition to what may be considered niche or specialty labels, some major food companies also seem to be offering alternatives within “conventional” brand names, making the items more accessible to many more people.

It’s good news that food companies are paying closer attention to dietary options, yet it’s also a bit of a cautionary tale, as the grocery trends mostly focus on prepared and packaged foods, instead of fresh fruits and vegetables. The nutritional benefits of new product introductions may outweigh some less-healthy convenient options when we’re juggling grocery bills, food prep time and everything else in our lives, but they are small pieces in the much bigger puzzle of a healthy lifestyle. If we opt to purchase them, we’d do well to balance them as only a portion of our overall diet.

The foods we choose nourish our bodies, our minds and our souls. Each meal we consciously choose can be a personal vote for the lifestyle we want to lead and the worldview we wish to support. Sure, trying new food trends can be interesting and even helpful, but it’s the lifestyle changes that we adapt as our own that will sustain us in the long run. Scientists continue to make the connection between what we eat and how it affects our health. For example, did you know that 70 percent of the immune system resides in the lining of the gut? That’s just one critical issue writer Melinda Hemmelgarn addresses this month in “Nutrition Upgrades: Five Strategies for Better Health.” She suggests we forget about dieting, eat for ourselves as well as the planet, and learn about the care and feeding of our all-important microbiome.

There’s another critical piece in the healthy lifestyle puzzle: know where your food comes from. Education is key to taking control of our daily nutrition. Do some research into the stores and products you prefer to find out where the food is grown and/or prepared, and what company actually owns your favorite brands—you may be surprised. And of course, read the labels. Shop local whenever possible; get to know your store produce managers, as well as your local farmers through a CSA or farmers’ market.

If you can grow some of your own food, that’s a good thing on many counts. Start planning now for this summer’s garden, whether it be a couple of containers on the balcony with tomatoes, peppers and lettuce, or a full-fledged backyard garden. Consider joining a local community garden or helping a neighbor with their garden.

It’s March! The days are warming, early bulbs are getting ready to bloom and migratory birds will soon start heading toward the Chicago region from their winter homes. As always, I encourage you to step outside every day and take notice of the wonders that early spring brings.


Happy spring equinox!



Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Letter from Publisher

As I write you this month, my office window is open to the sounds of late summer in my neighborhood.

Letter from The Publisher

Local veggies are at their peak flavor and texture and colors beckon young diners. Participating in the process can make it intriguing and interesting as they take ownership of dinner.

Letter from The Publisher

This spring has been pretty unfavorable to backyard gardens­—cool, wet, foggy, record rainfall and temps lower than normal.

Letter from The Publisher

It’s time to find even more reasons to step outside daily, take a walk and enjoy extra time socializing with friends, family, neighbors, pets and the robins singing in the trees at dusk.

Letter from The Publisher

Our May issue is devoted in part to women’s health, and this year, we’ve focused on finding ways to support our mental and emotional well-being.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

A Meaty Vegetable Alternative

Over the past few years, this versatile vegetable has become a great alternative for high-carbohydrate or gluten-rich products like pizza crust, taco shells and mashed potatoes.

Nirvana Naturopathics Provides Effective Natural Health Solutions

Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET) is a holistic treatment to stay free of allergies and sensitivities for life.

Taking Prevention to the Next Level

Most of us will be affected in our lifetime by or care for someone diagnosed with degenerative conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune conditions and cancer.

Virtual Fitness Workshop Benefits Animal Shelters

Virtual coaching is the alternative to a coach at a gym; perfect for busy lifestyles, it allows clients to be located anywhere and still benefit from one-on-one coaching.

Qigong Healing:

Five thousand years ago, Chinese medicine said, “Qi moves the blood.”

(Maple) Sap on the Rise

All trees produce sap, but sugar maples produce sap with the highest sugar content. In winter, when the temperatures get above freezing during the day and then dip below freezing at night, the sap starts rising, seemingly defying gravity.