As a consumer-driven society, we can be guided by the various trends that cycle through our days. They can range from the color of the year we should be wearing to decluttering our houses for a simpler existence. Some trends can generate a more substantial impact, especially when analyzing our food.
For decades we have been inundated with nutritional terms like high-fat, low-sodium, heart-healthy, and diabetes-friendly, as well as diets like paleo, keto, and vegan. Sometimes, the breadth of the information can be overwhelming and confusing, but sifting through the current state of food trends and determining what might play a significant role in our diets is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Some new approaches and a few traditional standards lend themselves to what is on our dietary radar today.
Plant-based eating is not a new concept but definitely, merits including as a food trend because it is growing in scope and acceptance. A vegetarian diet is not just a fad seen as a throwback to the 60s and 70s. It is also a widely-practiced and varied approach to eating that has tremendous implications for our personal health and the health of the planet.
A plant-based diet and products extend far beyond just eliminating meat based on health concerns like reducing occurrences of cancer and heart disease. It also positively affects climate change by the reduction of greenhouse gases as well as the consumption of too much water, particularly in areas that suffer water supply issues.
Some of the healthiest flour for baking is derived from plants and still tastes great, as do many other plant-based ingredients.
One of the most critical lessons from the last two and a half years is that our immune systems must be nurtured and protected. We should never take our good health for granted, and there is nothing like a global pandemic to ramp up our fear of illness. But rather than be mired in worry, many people seek ways to improve their immunity through a more mindful diet.
The trend toward consuming superfoods and other immunity-boosting additions to our menus is evident in the increased consumption of berries loaded with antioxidants, probiotics like yogurt and kefir, and fermented products such as kombucha and kimchi. An increased focus on medicinal herbs and spices has also contributed to the trend of eating for immune system health.
Any food wasted when there are areas of the world rampant with malnutrition and hunger, including food deserts within the United States should give everyone pause regarding how they may help solve this insidious societal issue.
Our bodies and minds are instinctually programmed to eat what looks delicious because it is so visually appealing. A large, shiny red apple tends to be selected over one with a few small and mottled spots. The same applies to some processed foods as well. Broken almonds and cashews aren’t as pretty as their whole, intact counterparts.
Disposing of less-than-attractive foods only contributes to hunger. An exceedingly thoughtful and resourceful trend toward reducing food waste has been to harness all of these “ugly” or broken foods and market them for what they are -- nutritious, edible food that should be eaten and not wasted. In addition to finding these food sources popping up in grocery stores and natural foods retailers, there are food delivery subscription services that cater to serving up these delicious “beauties” because they are perfectly okay for our consumption.
Current food trends might include the latest in obscure fruits or the fanciest olive oils. But the conceptual trends, the trends that truly impact our health and the planet’s health, are worthy of our awareness and our implementation because healthy people and a healthy Earth are not mutually exclusive.