These Food Trends Sweeping Milwaukee Might Actually Keep You Healthy

Our culinary crystal ball shows which foods are picking up momentum in 2019. Plus, choose a diet that keeps you healthy while slimming down.

The Lowdown on 3 Trendy Diets

Page through cookbooks from the mid-20th century and you’ll often find a section devoted to “weight regulation” with ideas for light meals like cottage cheese, gelatin salads and canned tuna. These days, diet trends come and go quickly. When choosing a weight-loss plan, it’s key to find a plan that’s feasible and doesn’t negatively affect your overall health. Here’s what’s hot now.


That’s for “ketogenic,” with an emphasis on a diet high in fat (about 60-70 percent of calories) and low in carbs (5-10 percent). Protein should account for 15-30 percent of calories.

After following this diet anywhere from two to seven days, the body goes into a state of ketosis. That’s when the level of carbs is so low that the body’s cells can no longer use them for energy and instead start to burn fat. Aha. That’s the crucial weight-loss piece.

But the keto diet isn’t without its potential drawbacks, as detractors call it out for not only the foods it restricts (fiber-rich veggies, fruits and legumes) but also long-term effects on the body including the heart, with new studies zeroing in on cardiovascular issues and lifespan.

Read the full story:

This article is taken from our May 2019 cover story, How to Live Your Healthiest Life


An eating plan inspired by the regular, everyday diet of people living in countries along the Mediterranean Sea. The cuisines of Italy, Greece, etc. may be different, but there are commonalities in terms of their approaches, which avoid processed foods and trans fats and limit red meat and added sugar.

The diet is abundant in vegetables and fruits, fresh fish, whole grains, extra-virgin olive oil and nuts, seeds and legumes, with moderate amounts of chicken, eggs and dairy products. Water is the beverage of choice, along with coffee and tea and one glass (max) of red wine.

Why many doctors like it: In a 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, male participants already at high cardiovascular risk who followed a Mediterranean diet (and included olive oil) had a 30 percent decreased risk of a major cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke). 


A headline-grabber for the last few years, meatless diets are getting more and more interest for health and ethical reasons. In its “healthiest” view, the vegetarian diet is heavy on veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and oils such as olive and canola, giving the heave-ho to potatoes, white bread and rice and limiting the sugar, cheese and high-fat dairy products.

The research on heart health gives this diet a boost. A 2017 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology compared the heart disease risk of some 209,000 adults over two decades looking at three models of a plant-based diet. Those who followed the version emphasizing only healthy plant-based foods – no fries and potato chips, refined grains or sugary drinks – had the lowest risk of heart disease. But those who ate an “unhealthy” plant-based regime, even without eating animal products, had a much higher risk.

Just following a plant-based diet isn’t enough. It’s how you do it. That means loading up half your plate with veggies and fruit, and divvying up the other half with equal parts whole grains and healthy protein (beans and legumes, nuts and fish, if eaten).

Illustration by Huan Tran

3 Foods Trending on Your Table

No. 1: Turmeric

A common ingredient in curry, this spice is also valued as a medicinal (to combat inflammation, etc.). But not only is it used all over Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine, it’s in teas, pills, snack foods and smoothies.

No. 2: Mushrooms

Yep, fungi. Part of this is that plant-based restaurants (whose popularity is also surging) like the texture of this edible toadstool as a meat substitute. In general, we’re seeing more access to different kinds of mushrooms (enoki, chanterelle, oyster), as foraged foods gain traction as well.

No. 3: Alternative milks

The selection of non-dairy beverages has swelled to include oat, hemp, cashew and hazelnut, all part of a $1.6 billion industry. There’s even milk made from peas (sold at area Target stores).

“Feel Great” appears in the May 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.