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Healthy Living: New Year, New You

New Year, New YouAs the new year approaches, so many people are making promises to eat better and exercise more. I count myself among them. As the ball drops on 2016, I find myself facing some pretty significant health issues, far beyond your garden variety “I need to lose five pounds” challenges. I’ve been reading more and more about the connection between what you put in your body and how it functions. Now, my challenges have nothing to do with diet, but it’s critical to pay attention to diet for optimal health.

Experts analyze the trends for the upcoming year, looking at things that are gaining momentum as this year draws to a close.

Two foods that will be hugely popular in the new year are date nectar and maple syrup, replacing refined white sugar as natural sweeteners. Naturally sweet, you need less because of their bold flavors.

Pre-chopped, frozen fruits are a great way to make healthy dishes faster, without losing nutrients.

The sales of cacao bars have soared more than 37 percent over the past year, and experts expect that to keep growing. Cacao, instead of a milk chocolate bar, has less fat and bigger flavor. Cacao also has health benefits.

Medjool dates are becoming more and more popular, and are full of vitamins and natural sweetness.

Almond milk is the new soy, gaining popularity as the milk-substitute of choice.

Anything coconut continues to be on the forefront of the health-conscious. Look for coconut waters and milks to replace higher-fat products in cooking and baking.

Bone broth is all the rage, taking the place of richer stocks.

On the fitness front, body-resistance exercises continue to rule the workout world (think push-ups, pull-ups and other activities that use your body weight as resistance). Revive the leg warmers. In addition to yoga and Pilates, barre and ballet-style fitness classes (for adults) are hugely popular.

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