5 Nutrition Trends for 2016

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.

Annie's Top 5 Nutrition Memes of 2014

Annie's Top 5 Nutrition Memes of 2014

It’s been a big year for the science of integrative modalities this year.  So, yours truly has been sharing scientific studies with my yoga teacher colleagues at Kripalu –  they say “Wow!” and “Awesome.”
What’s old is new again (am I getting old or is this a repeating theme in life)? My teacher says life is a spiral and I continue to see the evidence that she’s right.  I have so much enjoyed learning the ancient science of Ayurveda, and how my brilliant colleagues are applying that beautiful nature-based system to modern health care.
Here are the top trends, the memes I see on the rise:

1. Epigenetic

The yogis and yoginis are feeling prescient when we see the smattering of studies on yoga, meditation, mindfulness and that, in small studies, these modalities appear to change gene expression. Quickly. Impressively. Check it out.
Meditation changes gene expression.

2. Ayurveda

We’re at the beginning of a upward curve in the popularity of  Ayurveda, and we’ll be hearing more about it as this system is viewed through a modern lens. The bookshelf of Ayurveda is exploding and we’re finding our intellectual leaders busy busy busy. Friend and colleague Hilary Garivaltis is traveling the country setting up Aurveda schools for yoga centers, and attendance at Kripalu’s really wonderful School of Ayurveda has more than doubled in the past couple years. Come to Kripalu and learn about this ancient traditional system that was the original integrative medicine.
Kripalu School of Ayurveda

3. Integration

The body knows. The body remembers. Can’t say it any more simply than that. Our bodies are the record of our lives (including our ancestors). All of what we do, think and believe is woven into the soft tissue of our fascia.  If we spend our lives thinking we are not good enough (and I think this has somewhere somehow been programmed into us…Tom Kenyon says our creator did it!) in the end we in fact are not. Bummer!  Yet the same person can focus on appreciating who they get to be, and a whole other body, whole other “resting face” are created. There are times when I’ve been rolling in the angst, when I can feel a tightness in my face as a drift off to sleep. That’s an indicator! I can soften and open as I age, or get bitter, brittle and hard. It’s not up to anyone else but me.
To learn what your body knows, do any body-mind practice regularly. Show up for it every day, or very nearly every day. It is showing up for yourself. My recommendation is predictable – come to Kripalu. For almost any program – follow what pings for you.

4. Herbs and Botanicals

Our ancestors, and not too too many generations back, had a wide array of botanical wisdom at their fingertips. We’ve outsourced that to our local pharmacy. But if you look around, people in every corner of the country are foraging, taking herb walks with the local herbalists, and checking out the botanicals in their own back yard. Please don’t wait to get a degree, but use your senses and good sense and a editable plant guide to find your way to better health. (Do be aware of the plants in your region that can, as my teacher says, heal you dead).
Get herbal and learn about learning more at Mountain Rose Herbal. OR study with Pam Montgomery or my friend Brittany at Thyme Herbal in Northampton, MA.

5. Eating for a Better Planet

How does the Atkn diet square with the fact that many environmentalists say we are past the global tipping point? Isn’t the meat-based version of Paleo in that same sink-the-earth boat? From Eco-Atkins to grass-fed local to values vegan, the choices we make about what we eat impact more than ourselves. There is more opportunity than ever to be a food activist – beginning at your own table.
Sustainable table is one place to start.
What are your top trends in nutrition now? Fascinated to hear!