I think it is safe to say that 2016 was a year marked by a renewed interest for Health and Fitness. Sure these topics have been in people's mind at all times, but have you noticed the amount of Fit Bloggers and Fit movements started recently? They definitely culminated in 2016 and were accompanied by the launch of new healthy foods and brands: Health is the new trend!
Today many are conscious of the damage a bad diet can do to their health starting with bad fats, too much sugar or salt. As such, new brands have emerged, proposing better foods. Although nothing will ever replace a natural, seasonal and hand cooked regimen I think we can agree these new brands can help tame your sweet tooth (or salt tooth in some cases) and inspire new recipes...
"Health is the new trend"
Eat Real Chips: they're made of chickpea or lentils flour and for once, there is no weird additive E... something in the ingredient list. The flavours are very tasty and these chips contain 48% less fat. The apéro already feels less guilty!
Coconut Yogurts: If you don't want to eat dairy then you're stuck with soy yogurt, despite the many nut milk brands in existence. This year, Brussel's supermarkets commercialised coconut yogurts (2-3 brands) as the alternative to soy. Coconut has indeed become the new superfood and stores are rushing to feed the demand. My only concern is that the brands you can find at your local store (not bio store) are high in fat and sugar but are definitely not protein sources.
Vegan ice creams: I haven't found a real one in Brussels yet but I have seen many online. I am currently trying to get my hands on these babies! They are the new hot items made of nut and coco milk.
The Turmeric drinks: Turmeric has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries and across the world's cultures yet 2016 saw a regain of interest for this tuber. You can now find it in many bottled drinks and preparations like the Rebel Mylk. It is now also very easy to find turmeric in its natural state.
Insects: They're not making a big hit however we see them more and more. Sold in forms that don't remind us of what they actually look like, they're a new protein source brands are trying to introduce in our diets. In Asia or Africa, eating insects isn't a big deal but in Europe it is another story ;)
Superfoods: More and more you will see "Superfoods" at your local store, it is the case at Carrefour now that they sell Spirulina, Wheatgrass and other "supplements". In 2016, many have transformed their diet to include these new nutrients but we shouldn't forget the base of our regimen...Superfoods aren't everything and won't fix our bad habits.
The list could probably go on and you are welcome to add your suggestions, I am always eager to discover new things. However, let's bring the talk a little further...
In 2016 not only did more brands appear but with them obviously more choice. A choice that supermarkets have capitalised on so don't expect perfect products. You will still need to read the ingredient list to validate whether an item is healthy or not e.g. it contains superfoods yes, it's written all over the packaging, but also way too much sugar for your own good...
New foods are good but beware
The real win for us healthy eaters is the accessibility of the raw materials such as superfoods and alternative products. I am talking about the diversity of flours we can now easily find in stores, the alternatives to wheat, for example. New brands and products are great but they come with a pre-made recipe that may not suit your standards. (too much sugar, unpronounceable additives,...)
I have tried many of the products above and even adopted some of them but let's face it, they're more of an inspiration source. I know that I like the Koko Yogurts for example but if I can, I will make my own Coconut sugarless yogurt and know precisely what ingredients were used. The same logic applies to the Rebel Mylk or the Misuko Juice, making a drink isn't sorcery it only requires a little patience to get it right ;)
In 2016, we are also more aware of the benefits certain foods can bring us. News travel fast in our digital era and it's kind of great if you can implement this information in a smart way. Too often I see people jumping on a new product and eating it at every meal waiting for a miracle. Sometimes, all you need is consistency and patience, not over consumption which might have a worse effect on you.
Knowing our bodies is also fundamental as they won't react the same way. I remember when I first heard of Chlorella. It sounded like a fantastic algae with amazing properties but it didn't work for my body...As a matter of fact, it affected my metabolism is a bad way and it tooks a few weeks for it to be back to normal.
In short, let's make a careful choice in what goes in our bodies and let's not be afraid to cook and create new recipes that work for us.