I’m super pumped to see that many of the mainstream food trends for 2016 include healthy food trends! It means more and more people are educating themselves about the power of real food and making the decision to take responsibility for their health. Yay!
However the word ‘trend’ makes me squirm sometimes because it’s often associated with a passing fad. People usually think of a trend as something that just caught on (sometimes out of the blue) and will soon pass. No!
Sure, some health foods may take longer to “go mainstream” here, but chances are they’ve been enjoyed by masses of people for centuries in other parts of the world. We can only hope that when those foods or practices catch on here, they stick around for good! Not like…the cronut.
My little preface here is to remind you that just because “seaweed is the new kale” doesn’t mean you should forget about kale. When pop culture starts to adopt new health food trends, it shouldn’t be a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. Instead, keep doing what works and incorporate some of these new trend-setting super foods. Variety never goes out of style.
That all said, here are the top 7 health food trends I’m super excited about. Hope this list gets you excited too, fellow health nerd.
- The UN Declares 2016 the Year of the Pulses
See, even the good folks that make up the United Nations are health nerds like us. They recognized how wonderful these little packages of plant-based protein are to keep people everywhere healthy. Pulses are members of the legume family and are made up of the edible, dry beans or seeds inside the pods of a legume plant and include: beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. My heart skips a beat for pulses. See how I did that? I truly do love these little suckers because they’re cheap, high in both protein and fibre, contain no gluten and are chock full of vitamins and minerals. If you’re looking to incorporate more vegetarian cooking into your life, pulses should be a pantry staple in your home like they are in mine. In fact, I’ve just created a delicious and easy honey-mustard lentil salad recipe as part of 3 of my custom real food recipes to accompany CEDAR Juice’s cold pressed creations to help you set the refresh button on your health. Click here for more details on how you can order our Refresh program to your door! (Canadian Residents only)
2. Seaweed is the New Kale
Asian cultures have been all over seaweed for centuries now, but sea veggies are only just gaining mainstream notoriety here in North America. Better late than never! These edible algae are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! After all, the underwater plants are bathed in all the minerals and nutrients in the sea 24/7 and therefore are higher in important minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium (as well as other important trace minerals) than most land plants. Plus, seaweed provides a great dose of natural iodine, which is important for thyroid health (that gland in our neck that’s responsible for regulating metabolism, energy, weight and some important hormones. Add your sea veggies to soups or stews, shake the dehydrated flakes onto food as a great salt replacement or eat it as a seaweed salad!
3. Oatmeal Gets a Makeover
No longer is oatmeal relegated to a boring bowl of mush with a pat of butter and brown sugar. No! Oatmeal is experiencing a “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” moment thanks to Instafoodies’ love of all things #Oatmealporn. Yes, it’s a hashtag. People can’t seem to get enough of dressing up their fibre-rich oat bowls with bright berries, nuts, super seeds and bee pollen or showing off their vertical shots of layered overnight oats in mason jars. No doubt, oats are hot! Pun intended. They get even sexier when you make them into savoury oat bowls with fragrant herbs and spices. I love when fibre-rich foods enjoy their time in the spotlight. Oats are great for blood sugar, cholesterol and gut health and even better when dressed up fancy-like with above-mentioned super-foods.
4. Meals that Come in Bowls
From oat bowls to grain bowls to smoothie bowls or acai bowls…health bowl meals are all the rage this year. As we steer away from needing everything stuffed between two slices of bread, bowls just make sense. It’s easier to eat from a bowl and there’s something really comforting about holding a bowl close (or maybe it’s just laziness, who knows?) I, for one, have always been a fan of mixing all the flavours on my plate; eating from a bowl ensures that happens with little effort. Think of it like a ‘kitchen sink’ meal with a healthy makeover.
5. All Yellow Errting aka Turmeric
This spice, which comes from a golden-yellow root native to India, is finally getting the attention it deserves in North America. The super-food root has been used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years due to its powerful healing properties. One of turmeric’s bioactive compounds, curcumin, is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents in nature. By now, you have likely heard of (if not consumed) a warm cup of golden milk (warmed coconut milk mixed with turmeric, pepper and honey). This tasty drink has become so popular that it’s even available in some health-conscious café’s. Whether you’re using it to spice up your roasted cauliflower or adding a dash of sunshine to your scrambled eggs, this is the year to fall in love with turmeric. (Just don’t get it on your clothes or counter! #YellowStains).
6. Spiralizing Veggies
I remember when I bought my first veggie spiralizer. I was about just as excited as when I was an 8-year-old girl and got my first play doh hair salon. What a fun way to play with food! I started spiralizing everything from zucchini to carrots to apples and beets. It was so much fun and a great way to sub out pasta for healthy and raw produce “noodles”. But spiralizing was so novel just a few years ago, I used to have to repeat the word “spiralizer” to anyone who asked; “spiral…what”. Now, when you tell someone you’re having “zoodles” for dinner, they know it’s not the orange animal-shaped mush from a can – it’s zucchini noodles! People everywhere have caught on and are spiralizing everything they can get their hands on. It’s fantastic! It really is a kitchen gadget that keeps on giving.
7. Super Herbs – Adaptogens
You’ve heard of super foods, well these are super herbs! In our hectic world, adaptogenic herbs are most known for helping the body adapt to stress Think ginseng, ashwagandha, maca, astragalus, rhodiola etc. These herbs, which usually come in dried powdered forms, increase health and vitality by exerting a “normalizing influence” on the body. They help bring the body back to its most balanced state known as homeostasis. Like magic, these herbs will act differently in each individual depending on what needs to be balanced. They can help with energy, stamina, concentration, hormone health, fertility and libido. But, they’re not magic; they’re plants and are a great example of how one natural remedy can work on many, many levels.
(Note: use caution when introducing adaptogenic herbs. Consult your doctor, naturopath, an herbalist or TCM practitioner.)
8. Cold Pressed Juice
And, of course, cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices continue to dominate the health landscape into the new year (especially in urban areas where new cold-pressed companies seem to be opening on every corner).The health set are opting to drink their nutrients in fresh and delicious concoctions that include a hefty dose of greens plus the natural sweetness of healthy fruits like pear and lemon like CEDAR’s Kale be Good. One of my faves! When most of us aren’t eating enough fresh fruits and veggies, cold-pressed juice floods the body with a mega dose of micronutrients, antioxidants, enzymes and hydration. These juices are easy on digestion while also providing essential cofactors to the immune system and our organs of elimination. Many people enjoy the benefits of periodic juice cleansing, but if that seems to daunting for you, have a look at the special Refresh program I co-created with CEDAR that includes 3 of my personal, delicious and detoxifying dinners! Yes, you can have your cleanse and eat it too. You’re welcome 😉
Which trends are turning your crank this year and how are you incorporating them into your life? I’d love to hear all about it in the comment section below!
Happy Healthy Trails for 2016!