1. Locally grown/CSA/know your farmer - Farmer’s markets feel more like a return to the old country at times – discovering new fruits, bartering with the farmer and carrying our goods in knapsacks. But it is one of the nation’s hottest trends right now and plenty of trendsetting types love nothing more than wandering their local farmer’s market to sample the freshest locally grown produce available. Along these lines is the Community Supports Agriculture (CSA) movement, a grassroots movement away from the enormous mechanized food industry and back to knowing and trusting the family that grows your food. Since we can’t all drive out to meet farmers, there are websites such as FromTheFarm.com (and our post here) to help us get started.
2. Organic/whole/natural...FREE FOOD! - No not free as in no cost but free of pesticides, antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Yes this trend is clearly demonstrated by the growth of Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s but now we are seeing it enter a new level of popularity in which foods are defined more by what they are NOT rather than what they are. Many ingredients that are famous for being avoided – such as artificial sweeteners – have not been shown to cause any harm whatsoever. Other food additives such as growth hormones and antibiotics are definitely being consumed by all of us and we don’t know what effects they might have long term.
3. Eco-farming/sustainable sourcing - Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish and sustainable sourcing of animal foods is a trend that is silently gathering momentum. As we evolve and become more aware of how we interact with our planet and how it interacts back with us we are growing to recognize the value of treating our livestock as humanely as possible. Not only that but we are learning that animals that live closer to their wild state are more nourishing to us and better tasting. Furthermore, knowing that animals are happier makes us happier. Importantly to all of us, sustainable sourcing allows fish to replenish their populations and creates farms that don’t deplete the earth’s resources while growing livestock.
4. Superfruits - Acai, pomegranate, blueberry, goji berry, yumberry, etc. The acai berry is another inescapable item these days. This uber-trendy chocolatey berry from Brazil has fully made its presence felt here in America due to its super-high ORAC antioxidant content (ORAC = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a measure of ability to neutralize free-radical damage), fatty acids and amino acids. Touted as a weight loss agent, you can find acai in everything from yogurt to beer and in hundreds of weight loss supplements.
5. Vegan/Vegetarian/Flexitarian/Pescatarian - Eating vegan may not be for everyone, that’s why the animal-friendly movement now includes multiple levels of commitment. While vegans avoid any animal-related product, vegetarians eat eggs and dairy – products that don’t harm the animal. Then there’s the new divisions: Flexitarian and Pescatarian. Pescatarians eat no animals except fish while Flexitarians are simply people who eat meat less often but still occasionally have chicken, turkey or fish. There is now room for everybody in the veggie movement and there are products and restaurant choices to support the efforts everywhere you go. Movie stars, musical artists and even pro athletes are jumping on the veggie movement. Even ultra-ripped 51 year old fitness star Tony Horton and NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez are vegetarians.
Christine Avanti is a Los Angeles-based nutritionist and healthy weight loss specialist. She has appeared on Dancing With The Stars, Tyra, Rachael Ray, The Today Show, E!, TV Guide, Fox Business Channel, and dozens of others. She is the author of Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads and the creator of the Simply Slimmer® System, your nutritionist in a box.