It’s that time of year again, where we look back at trends for the year that was, and set a course for a happy and productive 2016. May yours be filled with good food, good friends and family, and good work.
Here are a few of the food-related trends I see in the natural nutrition world:

  1. Authentically whole                                                                                                                                   Many Americans think that frozen meals, take-out meals and packaged smoothies are whole foods. They may be made from whole foods, they may be made from high-quality ingredients, but if it’s packaged (no matter how pricey the package is), it’s processed. Not all processed food is bad, and we can eat some and still be vibrantly healthy. Just remember, it’s the whole produce you find at your farmer’s market and the produce isle that is the center of nutritional wellness.
  2. Post-paleo ancestral eating                                                                                                                              I have truly enjoyed the enthusiastic discussion about just what paleolithic man really ate. We know he didn’t have bacon (poor paleo man). Nor paleo power bars. Nor did he use those little rubber toe-shoes. But the inquiry at the root of the debate – just what is the genetic imperative for humans when it comes to food – is a true and fascinating one. For most of us, following a whole-foods, plant-based diet that contains clean protein and healthful fats, as in the Mediterranean and other ancestral diets, will do the trick.
  3. Beans on the rise…again                                                                                                                         Plant-based protein is finally getting its due. We are finally also getting the idea of quality, as well, since another trend is continued growing interest in GMO-free eating and labeling. Non-organic soy is now predominantly GMO, unfortunately. But, increasing the beans in your diet will bolster fiber and is in better balance with the earth. If beans give you excess gas, choose smaller varieties like lentils.
  4. Eat fish…consciously                                                                                                                                     Fish and shellfish are the riches sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, and figure prominently in patterns of eating shown to be most healthful. Yet, the oceans are not getting cleaner, and over the past decades, fishes considered high in mercury and PCBs have steadily grown.  This is a great year to sample your first sardine, or herring, or anchovies. These small fishes tend to be lowest in contaminants.
  5. Holistic cannibus                                                                                                                                              As most states approve medical marijuana, and many states eliminate all penalties for having or smoking pot, get ready to learn more about THC to CBD ratios, and what various strains of marijuana can do for various ailments.
  6. Mindful eating 2.0                                                                                                                           McMindfulness. Yep, it’s the new black. Now we just need to learn what it is. Mindfulness is a form of meditation, so when the lunch line suggests the mindful choice of the day is turkey burger, just sigh. Nonetheless, as more people practice the meditation of eating more often, all of our relationship with food and with the planet will improve. One breath, one bite at a time.

Here are a couple other good trend pieces from around the web:
Restaurant trends
2015’s big moments for the natural food industry
Happy New Year! May yours be the best one yet.