From the time I was very young, my parents taught me to value the power of a dollar. I am the person who puts items I would like to buy for two weeks in my electronic shopping cart just to make sure I really need them. I compare the price of the same item at multiple grocery stores to make sure I get the best deal. I will wait until a shirt goes on sale before I choose to purchase it. As a food blogger, I balance my frugality with the incredible privilege to try new, innovative, and sometimes pricey products and trends in the health and wellness space. After experimenting with hundreds of healthy, trendy foods, these are the top five that I believe are worth the hype and extra dough:
1. Collagen peptides.
Whenever someone asks me what food trend I am into now, collagen immediately springs to mind. I was skeptical of it at first. The concept of consuming powdered fish (I use marine collagen) was a foreign concept to me. Essentially, collagen peptides supply the amino acids our bodies need to produce more collagen, resulting in better musculoskeletal support and thicker hair, skin, and nails. I tore my ACL in high school and have always had difficulty with my knees when I run. This might be a premature conclusion, but I find it much easier to run on my knee since taking the supplement. I also notice my hair is a lot thicker and my skin is a lot brighter.
2. Pasture-raised eggs.
As a vegetarian, one of my go-to sources of protein is eggs. Because I eat so many (sometimes twice a day!), I want to make sure I get my eggs from a reputable source. While I don't always have the income to do so, I try to get free-range, pasture-raised eggs when I can. Not only do eggs from humanely treated chickens taste better, but they contain more nutrients than conventionally raised eggs. A study concluded that hens allowed to forage had eggs containing higher levels of vitamins A and E and omega-3 fatty acids. I typically buy my eggs at my local farmers market, so I know exactly where they are coming from. However, if I can't get to my local farmers market, I purchase the Trader Joe’s organic eggs.
3. Natural sourdough.
I would argue there is no finer joy in life than properly made sourdough bread with a nice thick crust. Sure, I can buy white bread from the store, but there is such a nuance of flavor coming from these crusty loaves. Its high price comes from allowing the bread to rise using a sourdough starter. Sourdough bread takes a longer time to rise and ferment than its yeast-risen counterparts. Because of this, traditional sourdough is more expensive. However, studies show that bread risen using a sourdough starter makes nutrients in the bread more easily accessible to our bodies—plus, many people anecdotally say that it doesn't irritate their gut in the same way other glutinous grains do. Once you have all-natural sourdough, you might never look back!
4. Avocado oil.
Coconut oil has been everywhere for the past few years. For a second, I thought I was going to drown in it. I was smearing it on my skin, roasting my veggies with it, and even using it in my makeup remover. Now, I might just switch out that bottle of coconut oil for avocado oil. Avocado oil is the oil removed from the green pulp. It is minimally processed, gluten-free, vegan, and, unlike coconut oil, it's conveniently liquid at room temperature. With a smoke-point temperature of 500°F, avocado oil is great for roasting veggies and frying food. I personally advocate using it for homemade potato chips!
5. Matcha tea.
Stemming from when I was in college, I had a nasty addiction to caffeine in coffee. It made me jittery, uneasy, and unable to focus. On the suggestion of a friend, I decided to incorporate more green tea into my diet. In doing so, making matcha has become one of my favorite (and healthiest) rituals. While most green teas are infusions of the leaves in water, matcha involves dissolving the actual tea leaves. That way, you receive the benefits green tea has to offer more directly. Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants, which prevent free radicals in the body from damaging tissues and causing inflammation. It is also rich in catechins, which can boost your metabolism. While I think matcha is worth the price, I usually make my own tea to save a bit of money on an everyday $5 latte habit.
Here's what happened when one writer gave up coffee for matcha tea. Also, is collagen really all it's cracked up to be? One writer tried using it for four weeks to heal her gut and skin—here's what she discovered.
Sarah Schutz is a wellness and recipe blogger behind the website The Cutting Veg and the Instagram account @thecuttingveg. She focuses on making healthy living and eating accessible for individuals of all backgrounds while encouraging them to think outside of the culinary and lifestyle box. She currently lives in Washington, D.C., and knows the ins and outs of all of the local farmers markets. She also has a weakness for popcorn and roasted chickpeas.