As a new year approaches, it’s always entertaining to look back on the trends, headliners and “it” topics of the previous year. Most look back on fashion, politics and pop culture, but today we’ll look back at one of the MOST trendy topics of 2011: health foods.
#10 – Saying NO to GMOs!
Despite the fact that North America is home to the most GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops in the world, surveys show that 89-96 percent of Americans want genetically modified products labeled. But the FDA isn’t listening! With the recent approvals of GMO salmon and alfalfa (which will change the face of the organic dairy industry), this debate will only get hotter in 2012. Visit nongmoproject.org to get the latest news on the no-GMO movement.
#9 – Coconut Milk
Once a non-dairy milk finds itself chillin’ in the refrigerated section of your local Safeway, it is officially trendy! Add an endorsement from celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels and growing concerns about soy allergies, and you’ve got yourself a winner in coconut milk.
#8 – Raw Milk
We all know the saying: There is no such thing as bad publicity. This appears to hold true for the raw milk industry. Earlier this year raw milk suppliers were being raided left and right for selling their product for human consumption. States were outlawing it, senators were up in arms, people were protesting – and it’s never been more popular! To learn more about the health benefits of raw milk visit: www.realmilk.com.
#7 – High-Powered Blenders
With the power to produce anything from juices to no-cook hot soups and homemade nut butters, any serious health foodie has their eye on a high-powered blender this year. Vitamix is the original (and they have a mini-version available now at Costco) but I have to say the HealthMaster blender performs just as well and at a better price. Cuisinart recently released one as well. A word of caution; once you blend with 1800 watts of awesome, you will never go back to your old blender!
#6 – Home-Preserved Foods
Bon Appetit recently featured an article on pickling and canning at home for good reason: More people are shopping local and buying produce in bulk. Why would you haul your butt all the way up to your favorite organic farm and NOT buy ten pounds of heirloom tomatoes to preserve? For slow-foodies, home preservation is practical, BPA-free and fun.
#5 – Organic / “Alternative” Booze
It may sound like an oxymoron, but mindful foodists across the nation are cozying up to the bar and ordering organic vodkas (I am partial to Square One: www.squareoneorganicspirits.com), wine, gluten-free beers and agave-sweetened margaritas. So sip slow and enjoy, as this trend isn’t going anywhere.
#4: Going Vegan
With best-selling books like “The Skinny Bitch” series and “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone, going vegan is trendy AND righteous. Heck, even Bill Clinton is doing it! But I would not be surprised if this trend looses steam in 2012 as most people find restrictive diets, such as veganism, difficult to maintain long-term.
#3 – Grass Fed and Humanely-Raised Meats and Poultry
This may be my favorite trend of 2011 because it is a cause I truly believe in. I may not be up for going vegetarian again (I tried it for ten years), but I can still support farms that humanely raise their animals. You can too! To find a farm near you visit: www.eatwild.com.
#2 – Going the Extra Mile for Local and Organic Foods
Buying local food from a farmer’s market, through a CSA or box program (or picking it yourself pictured left) creates a sense of community and connection with food that mainstream grocery shopping cannot. Couple that with the release of an unprecedented 30-year study by the Rodale Institute proving the superiority of organic farming methods over conventional, and you can bet this trend will only continue snow ball. Read more about this remarkable study here.
#1 – Gluten-Free Products
Popularized by celebrities, athletes and health gurus alike, the gluten-free diet takes the #1 spot for health foodie trends of 2011. With the continuous rise in digestive and inflammatory diseases, ADD/ADHD and Autism and the success of the gluten-free diet in helping to treat these conditions, it’s hard to balk at a gluten-free doughnut anymore! However, despite its popularity I do think this trend will fizzle a bit in 2012. Gluten-free dieters, like vegans, must expend a significant amount effort and money in order to eat this way. For those doing it to combat disease it will always be trendy, but I predict that diet-shoppers will quickly move on to The Next Big Thing.
What will 2012 bring for health foodies? Please share your predictions with us in our comments section. As always, I also welcome your suggestions for future Mindful Foodist blog topics.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!