Having been in this field for over a decade, and a health enthusiast for even longer, I have had the opportunity to witness the rise of loads of health trends. There have been ridiculous ones that have come and gone, and some gems that have stood the test of time and made it into common practice. I remember when we thought the best of the best superfoods meant eating powdered extractions of things like shilajit, a resin found in the Himalayas, or something called ormus, which no one seems able to fully explain.
I've seen everyone swear by MSM (and apparently it's making a comeback?), marine phytoplankton, the rise of the goji berry and wheatgrass powders. And despite the cheerleaders, I just don't see crickets being a snack or protein supplement that will make it. It's not that any of these things aren't great for us, but often times the popularity just wanes over time or the practice itself was never sustainable.
I've also witnessed health foods that have stood the test of time and entered mainstream diets like quinoa, kombucha, turmeric and golden milks. Medicinal mushrooms are here to stay, as is the comfort of having more fat in the diet from quality sources. Meditation was once on the fringe, a strictly spiritual practice, and now with the aid of gadgets, apps and actual meditation classes at drop-in centers, it's become a science-backed life practice. And of course, my own UnDiet philosophy, that is sticking with whole, unprocessed foods, and having far less to worry about, isn't going anywhere.
When it comes to nutrition, many food and health trends have staying power when they are simple to follow, sustainable long-term, relatively affordable and accessible.
Here is my forecast of the 2019 health trends, and what you want to know about them.
2019 Health Trends ForEcast
Cannabidiol (CBD) Edibles
With the legalization of recreational marijuana here in Canada, the world of CBD edibles has moved well beyond pot brownies. Top chefs across North America are infusing CBD in everything from baked goods to grass-fed butter to fine dining favourites like tartars, emulsions, purées and cooked meat. Though not yet available in Canada, CBD honey by Beekeeper's Naturals is all the rage across the US. Anxiety, pain insomnia and so many of the other ailments that people are finding relief from with CBD, combined with the growing legalization across North America, you'll be seeing this ingredient crop up on menus, ready made foods, beauty care, in cookbooks, as well as on food blogs.
The ketogenic diet, which is actually nearly a century old now, made a comeback in 2018 with the extreme health enthusiasts and high performance athletes. With so many diets, why would this one stick? The low-carb and fat-heavy diet changes the way the body burns energy and people are feeling the benefit. Making it easier to maintain is in demand and keto dieters will turn to healthful keto snacks when they're on the go, like fat bombs, smoothies, keto bars, coconut chips and grain-free crackers. The more keto snacks appear on store shelves, the more popular this diet will become. When it can be made easy and people feel the benefit, a health trend grows.
With what we now know about the health benefits of fat, margarine is definitely out and butter is back in for its nutritional profile that includes Vitamin A, calcium, Vitamin D and butyric acid, a short-chain fat that supports the digestive tract. If you can tolerate dairy, opt for grass-fed butter over conventional – just skip stirring it into your coffee, please. If you are dairy-free, try making your own ghee, which is free of many of the milk proteins or sugars that cause a reaction.
We're talking cocktails with real booze here, not mocktails. Alcohol is taboo in the health field and while it's not something that everyone has to drink, it can be beneficial, as long as you are choosy about the quality and type of what you sip. Organic wine and spirits, in moderation, can be wonderful in tinctures, incorporated into kombucha cocktails or mixed into homemade syrups.
Cassava flour, which is ground from the cassava root (it's also known as yuca or manoic), has become the darling of alternative baking. It's gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free, and is safe for many popular diets such as Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). It is rich in fibre and functions in a very similar way to wheat flour in baking. We're seeing it gain popularity in tortillas and chips as an alternative to corn flours. In 2019, we'll continue to see a delectable array of cassava-based baked goodies!
I've been making chocolate face masks, moisturizer, deodorant and facial scrubs for years – my view is if I can't eat it, I don't want to slather it on my body, either. When Drew Barrymore posted an Instagram shot of her and Cameron Diaz enjoying honey facial mask using a honey product with royal jelly and bee pollen interest spiked in what kitchen ingredients we can apply to our faces. In 2019, we'll all be moving further away from pricey, chemical-ridden conventional beauty products and scrounging through our pantries instead!
Intermittent fasting has become all the rage for weight loss, but it's also beneficial for heart health, digestion, blood sugar balance, brain health and more. We'll continue to see people fasting for health in 2019 because you can choose from different fasting 'eating patterns', and for those with a busy lifestyle it makes eating – or not eating, I should say – more convenient when we don't have to focus on consuming so many meals and snacks.
Functional Medicine Testing
Go beyond the basics by working with a functional medicine professional to get to the root causes of your health issues. Functional medicine testing goes beyond conventional medicine and gets into the intricacies of our hormones, digestive bacteria, micronutrient levels and more to help us optimize our health and target the right systems in the most precise way. The rise of functional medicine testing is empowering patients and clients to take an active role in their health care and prevention plans. Not only that, but the rise in patient-empowered testing means that patients are not just owning their health records, but will be learning how to read them, in order to be more informed on their state of health.
Rainbow Culinary Colours Go Natural
I was into unicorns long before every child wanted to be one for Halloween, and way before coffee franchises were selling unicorn lattes. I love wearing colour and eating brightly coloured foods. As small businesses are popping up offering amazingly vibrant natural dyes, Instagrammers are hopping on the the trend and inspiring us with drool-worthy creations. Drool-worthy frostings, dips and baked goods with natural food dyes will take over home baking in 2019. So long chemical-based food colouring, turmeric, spirulina, and beet powder are taking over.
Spiking Everything With Medicinal Herbs!
Herbs and spices will never, ever go out of style. We'll continue to explore the basic herbs and spices in 2019, but also begin to incorporate some of the potent culinary herbs like mushroom powders (chaga, reishi, etc.), matcha, lavender, ashwagandha, goji berries and maca. These ingredients are great to use in smoothies, but you can also sneak them into soups, stews and cooked grains by brewing them up as teas and using the liquid in your recipes.
The health food market, organics and natural living continues to grow and at an incredibly fast pace. Everyone is vying for their bite of the organic, gluten-free, low-allergen pie. There will always be health trends that will come and go, but when they are good for our health, and easy to incorporate into our lives, they tend to stick around and sneak their way into the mainstream. I look forward to seeing the health trends outlined above merge into the mainstream in the coming year.