Skinny jeans and acid washes. Popped collars and chokers. IPAs, pickle-backs, and anything Campari. We all know that some trends are better than others. This is especially true when it comes to your diet. Kale was all we needed to make us He-Men and Wonder Women until coconut oil showed up. Remember when acai berries were going to make us all live to be 100 and still look like a svelte 20-something? Then there were those green coffee beans. Through all the hullabaloo and misfires, there are some gems that really do increase our health, help us achieve our goals, and make life a little better. Here are some of the trends we think everyone, especially athletes, can latch onto without the fear of bandwagon regrets next year:
- Probiotics – They’ve been around for years in various forms, but research continues to trend toward establishing these tiny microbes as the key to a better you. We all think of yogurt when we think “live and active cultures,” but kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and even buttermilk can introduce billions of gut bacteria into your diet. As scientists continue their work on what kinds of probiotics may do this or that for the body, the consensus seems to be that having these tiny critters in your diet is better than not.
- Pasture Raised Meats/Eggs – These foods are generally agreed to be more sustainable for the environment and better for animals. Research also shows that these products are nutritionally superior to their commercially-farmed alternatives. Grass-fed beef, and the milk from those cows, as well as the eggs from pasture-raised hens, are higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Removing the corn and grains from the animals’ diets also generally produces less fatty cuts of meat. The price point may be higher, but it does appear you’re buying more than savvy marketing when you opt for pasture-raised and grass-fed products.
- Plant-based proteins – Plant proteins are no longer the stuff of your hippie-holdout uncle’s black-bean burger patties. Beans and legumes are being used to make pastas, flours—anything you once thought of as a wheat-or-meat-only job. Need ground beef? How about veggie crumbles made from pea protein? Avoiding excess carbs? Make your break with chickpea flour for fewer carbs and added protein. And your hippie uncle may be on to something. Those foods we thought stayed on a commune in San Francisco are more versatile than ever—seitan, tofu, and tempeh, oh my!
- Instant Pot – If you have a kitchen and internet access, or a friend with either, you’ve heard of the Instant Pot. We think it has proven itself and is ready for your shelf. Not only does it cut cooking time, making a nutritious breakfast more likely, but it has actual nutritional benefits in the way it cooks foods. The trapped heat and steam cooks foods more quickly with less direct heat. This process preserves many of the heat-sensitive nutrients and may make some of them more digestible. Save me time and make my food better for me? I’m game!
What are some trends you’re excited about or that have really paid off for you? Any you wish you hadn’t been so gung-ho to join? Tell us all about it! Leave us a comment here or meet us over on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Looking for something else with a little heat and big benefit to boot? If exercise-related cramping is trend you’re ready to end, hop over here and give HOTSHOT a try.