Health Food Today. A Reinvention. (and Zoo)

Quinoa at Costco, vegan hot dogs at the Zoo, vegan Soy Fraps at Starbucks,coconut water at 7-Eleven and vegan room service in Vegas (a la The Wynn). Today it hit me, "healthy eating" is not what it used to be. And a vegan lifestyle is easier and more delicious than ever!

Just a few years ago, cliché "health food" consisted of items like tofu, carob, wheat germ, bran, sprouts, a few interesting legumes like lentils, standard fruits and veggies and quirky snack items like rice cakes and trail mix. Later came fancy energy protein bars, exotic hummus varieties, high fiber breakfast cereal and a wide variety of bottled juice and smoothie concoctions.

Even some foods that I would consider far from healthy - like egg whites, cottage cheese (low fat dairy products) and even lean deli meats - seemed to be considered the healthy options for nutrition-conscious folks.

Cut to today when trendy healthy foods are everywhere and "health food" seems to have reinvented itself..

So yes, today I spent the morning at the National Zoo in Wash DC with my cutie pie niece and nephew...

This little macaque was quite enjoying his veggie feast!..

..I actually used to work at the Zoo back in college so I have much respect for the people and animals there. The conservation efforts of the Smithsonian's National Zoo are impressive - and although some animal lovers consider Zoos controversial - I am mostly a fan. I mean, where else can you expose children to beautiful animals from all over the world - elephants, lions, tigers, apes - and foster a love of animals at a young age. Anyways, so at the Zoo today I noticed that among the popcorn, soda and hot dogs there were now vegan options! A vegan hot dog. Loved it. So I began thinking about "healthy eating" and how the scene of food has changed..

Modern Health Foods. You don't have to tote around carrot sticks and ranch dressing to embrace your healthy side. Not only are there now many more healthy, vegan foods and new products available in supermarkets - but there are more and more ways to use these healthy foods - thanks to the thriving online recipe blogging community. Instead of having to read a book on the merits of tofu - you can simply google and have a wealth of knowledge, recipes and ideas at your fingertips.

I can't wait to see what new super foods and healthy delicious products come to market in the next few years. It only gets better and better - and easier to embrace a healthy delicious lifestyle.

We've also learned a lot. Like the fact that just because it is vegetarian, low fat or vegan doesn't mean it is necessarily healthy. I remember my mom feeding us "cheddar cheese sandwiches" for a healthy lunch because "milk contains calcium - and cheese is vegetarian" - we've come a long way.

Moving Forward. Here's a good example - I recently went to the mainstream warehouse store Costco for the first time in about five years. I was impressed to find quinoa, almond butter, soy milk, veggie burgers, falafels, coconut water and agave syrup for sale now.

So in honor of my love of the modern "health food" scene, please check out my list of Ten Trendy Healthy Foods to Try. If you already know and love all the foods featured - please forward the post to someone you know who is curious about healthy living, but doesn't know where to start when it comes to new foods.

what are your favorite "modern" health foods?

And what are you favorite "vegan goes mainstream" breakthroughs from over the past few years?

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