Often a paradigm or cultural movement starts at the dinner table. We truly are what we eat. Supplements are great, but we really should be deriving most of our nutrients from the foods we eat. In this article we’ll sample the shifts in our way of thinking as evidenced by some new food trends that are taking hold in urban and rural areas alike. How many are you aware of? Have you tried them all? If not, coming soon to a menu or kitchen table near you…Jaded palates, read on!
Resurgence of the Veggie Burger
As a 13-year vegan (back in the ‘70s and 80s) this author has been amazed at the reappearance of the veggie burgers both on menus at fine dining establishments as well as at the drive-thru. Apparently, everything old is new again and eschewing animal products is now mainstream. This trend was first seen in the frozen food aisle wherein this author was dazzled by the selection which included tempeth, tahini, mushroom, and bean veggie burgers.There are vegan-only fast food chains, and McDonalds as well as White Castle feature at least one plant-based burger on their menus. Zut alor! How the world has changed!
Cannabidiol (CBD) is slowly and insistently working its way into the fabric of our lives. It has a stigma to overcome. That being too many of us remember the 1960s. Derived from hemp or cannabis plants, CBD, for the record, cannot get one high. Not even if you smoke it. Instead, it is used to reduce pain, help you sleep, and to reduce jittery nerves and anxiousness. Where the product is turning up is truly amazing. CBD is being used as an additive in coffee and other beverages, as well as where one would expect to find it in the pharmacy, as gummy bears!
Ugly Food Seeks Home Delivery
We’ve all perused the reduced for clearance shelves at our local stores, seeking bargains. Now we can order imperfect fruits and vegetables and have them delivered, thereby saving money and these nutritionally-sound products from the dumpster or compost heap. Several startups collect and send boxes of misshapen produce direct to you including, Imperfect Produce, Hungry Harvest, and Misfits Market. Now Kroger, the legendary mid-Western supermarket chain, is getting in on the action offering their Pickuliar Picks service. Finally, bruised, battered, or just downright twisted produce has a voice and a home- Yours!
New Way to Get Your Fiber
Non-dairy milk sales have soared over the past decade. We are not talking soy or almond milk either. The latest contender to lighten your morning coffee is Oat milk. First seen in indie coffee shops, oat milk has made it into the bigtime, and is featured at most grocery chains. Yes, it is an acquired taste, but think of it as another way to get your fiber!
Still sounds like an oxymoron to some of us, but the fact is, non-animal fats in moderation are very good for you. The current Keto craze (remember Paleo?) is credited with making consumers more aware of the nutritional benefits of nuts, eggs, salmon, olive oil, and everyone’s favorite- avocado.
Middle Eastern Spice
In our never-ending quest for food that tastes good, many of us turn to spice mixes and rubs. Za’atar is popular in the Middle East and contains salt, sesame seeds, sumac (if you don’t already, get to know sumac!) thyme and that spice mix perennial, oregano. Stateside it is available ground in jars, as seasoning mix packets, and even in crackers! Get you some!
Snacks That Are Good for You
Again seeking novelty as well as variety and nutrition, more of us are turning away from that 3 PM bag of chips in favor of kelp jerky (great with cheese), dried toasted salmon skins (you heard it here first) and lotus seeds (taste like sunflower seeds). These are not-quite-yet available in your snack food aisles, but give them time. Most are sold through Amazon, but hey, what isn’t?
Given the justifiable outcry over plastic waste, manufacturers are seeking to limit the amount of synthetics used in the manufacture of fast food packaging and utensils. Expect to see an increase in the amount of plant-based cellulose and a decline in the structural integrity of beverage holders. In other words, bring your own glass food containers and transfer fast food contents or budget more for (green) dry cleaning! The environment will thank you!
That isn’t what they’re calling it, but that, essentially, is what it is. Milkshake IPAs are brewed with lactose which beefs up the beverage considerably. What no one figured on is how easy the concoction is to drink, therefore it is gaining traction nationwide. Purists will scoff, but kaChing is something that its brewers can take to the bank. Time will tell if Milkshake IPAs prove to be a trend or merely a fad.
The rise in plant-based meals is not limited to vegans and vegetarians. Many are finding that veggies can step out of the shadows as a side dish and into the spotlight as the main event. Not only is this a very nutritious way to eat, but also a most economical one! Add a star if your vegetable meal is homegrown! The last few years kale has earned top billing, prior to that we found new uses for cauliflower. Now it is cabbage’s turn to shine. Cabbage lasagne may have you forgetting the original version, and this veg also fries well. Think cabbage chips. The leaves are versatile, stand up to cooking without nutrition loss, and make a damn fine coleslaw, too!
We hope we’ve given you some pointers in your never-ending quest to indulge your jaded palates and eat nutritious yet tasty meals. If your local grocer does not stock any of these paradigms, try shopping online for them. Should these items trend, you’ll soon be seeing them at your local supermarket and eating better will have gotten just that much easier. Bon appetit!