Move over yogurt, kombucha and DIY sourdough bread. Y’all were so 2020. OK, so those three aren’t going away anytime soon. But what will be the biggest health trends next year? Chef V gazes into her crystal ball and offers her predictions for the biggest natural health trends of 2022.
It’s been a whole year since I made health trend predictions. And I bet you dollars to gluten free, apple-cider-vinegar donuts that 99 out of 100 people wouldn’t remember what I predicted for 2021. Chances are, some of the biggest natural health and food trends of 2022 will be the same as I predicted last year: low-carb diets, prebiotics/postbiotics, mushrooms, vitamin D and adaptogens.
So I could have pulled a fast one on you by just rehashing last year’s article. Of course I wouldn’t do something disingenuous like that. But in case you didn’t read last year’s predictions, you can do so here, after reading 2022’s predictions. Without further ado, here’s what I’m seeing for next year’s top trends…
Top Natural Health Trends 2022 #1: Armoring Up
All five predictions I made for 2021 (see above) relate to supporting the immune system. I don’t know about you but I sure miss the days when worrying about the immune system was just a seasonal issue.
But the silver lining today is that if you’re more health conscious than you were before, the global health crisis has probably made your immune system stronger.
Because of the pandemic, more people are focusing on armoring up their immune system. That means eating a zero-added-sugar-diet, doing intermittent fasting, and the other recommendations I made last year.
“Armoring up” also means taking gut-health supplements like probiotics because 70% to 80% of immune cells are in the gastrointestinal tract. Supporting your immune system 365 days a year isn’t cheap. It requires budgeting if you plan on taking immune-support supplements like zinc, vitamin D, quercetin, Chinese herbs, etc.
I’d rather spend a little less money on entertainment and more on things that will support a robust immunity all year. Instead of paying for cable TV, splurge on a yoga retreat and armor up with immune supplements.
#2: Robot Meat
Is lab-produced meat coming soon to your supermarket shelves? The future may be sooner than you think. Today.com says that Artificial Intelligence or AI is helping food companies create things we could have only dreamed of a couple of years ago.
For example, one food technology company is perfecting a vegan dairy doppelganger. In other words, it’s a protein that looks and tastes identical to dairy protein yet 100% plant-based.
AI will likely introduce faux eggs that if we didn’t know it, we’d swear it was from a backyard hen. The company behind the vegan eggs found a way to isolate a protein from mung beans to create the chicken-free eggs.
Today.com also references a company using AI to make a vegan milk that “froths, foams and blends just like dairy.” The plant-based milk is made from pea protein and cabbage juice, and other vegan ingredients.
I’m conflicted about these lab-created foods. On one hand, reducing the number of animals exploited for their meat seems humane. And in comparison to factory farming, fake meat and other engineered vegan food seems at first glance much more environmentally friendly.
But I also believe, even as someone that’s about 97% vegetarian, that animal products provide ecological balance—if the meat and dairy are raised in a way that I predict will be another huge health trend in 2022. See top natural health trends #5, below.
#3: Functional Beverages
People need something more fun to drink than plain, purified water. Even a regular cup of coffee and tea are in need of an upgrade. With more people working from home, experimenting with water, coffee and tea has become an art. And it’s not just the taste people are altering. It’s the nutritional quality. A functional beverage means that it’s a drink with added ingredients that may (or may not) provide extra health benefits.
For example, coffee or tea with mushroom powder. CBD-infused seltzer. Golden Milk.
As for ways to make drinking water more palatable, add cucumber slices and infuse the water with little pieces of strawberry. It’s like drinking spa water. Have you ever been to a spa that offers this first-class treatment? Treat yourself to spa water at home.
And if you want a functional beverage with some of the world’s most nutrient-dense veggies on the planet, try Organic Green Drink. It’s great for breaking your intermittent fasting or replacing breakfast. It gets delivered to your house fresh so you don’t have to shop, chop and clean up.
#4: Veggies From The Sea
If you eat sushi and have a kid who loves roasted seaweed snacks, then eating sea veggies is nothing new for you. But most Americans never eat any sea vegetables such as seaweed and kelp.
And that’s too bad because sea veggies are ounce for ounce the most nutrient-dense substances on the planet. They are super rich in minerals. Because of stress and the typical American diet, most people don’t get enough minerals.
I predict that seaweed snacks will continue to rise in popularity. But I also think that we’ll see more fresh seaweed products featured on supermarket shelves in 2022. For my vegan customers, I highly recommend kelp because it contains phytonutrients that are really hard to get without consuming sea veggies.
#5: Regenerative Agriculture
I’m totally in support of 100% plant-based diets. But I’m also a realist. We will likely never live to see a future where everybody swears off eating meat for good. So we may as well support animal products that are grown in the most environmentally-friendly and humane way possible. And this is what regenerative agriculture is all about.
Already, I’m seeing more vendors at local farmers market advertise their 100% grass-fed beef products as having been produced using regenerative farming practices. In a nutshell, “regenerative ag” increases soil biodiversity and organic matter. This creates healthier soil. The majority of the food that you eat is grown in soil that is lacking in minerals. Healthier soils are better able to resist the detrimental impacts of climate change such as flooding and drought. When we eat any food grown in soil using regenerative agriculture, be it animal- or plant-based, we consume the nutrients from that healthy soil.
I previously wrote about regenerative agriculture here if you want to learn more about it. I predict we’ll be hearing much more about it in 2022.
To a happy, healthy 2022!