According to 2014 research from the International Journal of Integrative Medicine, mushrooms have been used medicinally since at least 3000 BCE, and are reported to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular-protective, antidiabetic and anticancer properties. Due to their significant health benefits, many people are joining in on the craze and adding medicinal mushrooms (like Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Chaga, Turkey Tail, and Reishi) as a daily supplement in their daily smoothie, tea and cappuccino. As of January, you’ll even find fungi-infused teas at David’s Tea with the launch of Choco Chaga Detox, an organic black tea.
Functional Medicine Testing (aka Gene Testing)
Gene testing has been trending in the world of nutrition and fitness this year. And it’s no wonder; with just one cheek swab you’re able to discover your body’s fuel and training needs. Expect gene testing to become even more widely available thanks to at-home tests like MyDNA, Joga Code and Genotique. “This type of testing allows people to optimize their health in a precise way, empowering individuals to take an active role in their health care and disease prevention plans,” says nutrition expert and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, Meghan Telpher.
There’s a new guilt-free pleasure in town! It’s a soda that doesn’t just taste great, but is good for you. Toronto-based company Crazy D’s Soda Labs recently launched Prebiotic Craft Soda ($5). The first of its kind, this soda is sweetened with a prebiotic yacón root and contains no added sugar, caffeine, preservatives or artificial colours and flavours. On a sweeter scale, Bec Soda ($3 per bottle) is sweetened with 100-percent pure Canadian maple syrup.
In 2019, also expect to see more organic cocktail options for a gut-healthy sipping beverage, as well as plenty of non-alcoholic options. Seedlip offers non-alcoholic distilled spirits with unique flavour profiles. The latest addition to the lineup is Grove 42, a citrus blend of orange and spice ($45, available for purchase at select independent retailers). Seedlip founder Ben Branson also has a newly released book of recipes called Seedlip: The Cocktail Book (full of cocktail – and mocktail – inspiration!).
With more people being lactose intolerant or just wanting to avoid dairy in general, nut milks have been soaring in popularity. South of our border, oat milk has quickly become the dairy alternative of choice. Industry leader Oatly has reportedly increased production by more than 1,000 percent in order to meet the rising demand. And, fitness expert Jillian Michaels even gave her endorsement of oat milk when we chatted with her. (In fact, she prefers oat milk over almond milk.)
While it may look round and stout, cauliflower is incredibly versatile. With just 25 calories and an impressive three grams of fibre per cup, cauliflower is a satiating low-cal way to bulk up any meal or snack. Research consistently suggests that getting enough fibre can help predict long-term weight loss and decreased type 2 diabetes risk, likely by helping stabilize our blood sugars and keeping us feeling fuller longer. And there’s never been a better time to get your fix. Cauliflower has become a low-carb stand-in for a wide range of guilty pleasures. From fried rice, to pizza crust, to faux tater tots, to steak, this culinary chameleon will make eating your vegetables fun this year.
Thanks to their healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits, the elderberry is on the rise. In its annual roundup of trends, Pinterest reports that searches for “elderberry recipes” have increased by more than 685 percent. Elderberries can’t be eaten raw like blueberries or raspberries; instead, they need to be processed in some way — either cooked or tinctured. You’ll often find elderberry served up as a tea or in herbal tea blends specifically for immune health or cold and flu formulas. You can also tincture elderberries with vodka (hello, cocktail mixer!) and add it to your own Canadian-inspired cocktail or take it as a tincture for cold and flu prevention.
The Ketogenic diet has been a popular, yet polarizing, diet over the last year. (Gwyneth Paltrow is reportedly a fan, while Jillian Michaels had this to say about the Keto diet.) The low-carb, fat-heavy diet changes the way the body burns energy by putting the system into ketosis, also known as the keto flu. Expect to find more and more keto-friendly snacks on store shelves in 2019. Similarly, coconut oil may be eclipsed by other healthy fats like MCT oil and ghee.
Thanks to recent legalization in Canada, cannabis is the latest “it” ingredient in everything from beauty products to cocktails. Most recently, Cocoa-Cola was in talks with B.C.-cannabis producer, Aurora Cannabis to make CBD-infused wellness drinks, reports Global News. Next up? Cannabis-friendly cookbooks so you can start experimenting with recipes at home. The possibilities go way beyond pot brownies!
Collagen will continue to gain steam as more supplement options pop up. Genuine Health has released a collagen line called Clean Collagen, and SPROOS is a new brand that launched with marine and grass-fed collagen powders and recently introduced Canada’s first collagen bar (available in three flavours: Chocolate Almond Butter, Double Chocolate Beet, and Lemon Coconut).