Tag: regenerative agriculture

Chef V Predicts 2022’s Top 5 Natural Health Trends

Veronica, Brandon on beach

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…

gut health

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. 

robot meat

#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.

golden milk

#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!


Chef V

Beyond Sustainable: How Regenerative Agriculture Will Heal The Planet

Veronica working from home

If you’re really worried about climate change, first of all take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be ok. But in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions, we need food-growing solutions that are beyond sustainable.

I’m sharing what I’ve learned about regenerative ag with you because I’m concerned about making sure that my Green Drink company supports healthy agriculture. And I want you to know about it as well.

Chef V’s Commitment to Healing the Planet

Next time you eat a salad or enjoy a Green Drink, I really want you to reflect for a moment on where your food came from and how it was grown. And the best way to do that is to think about your gut. 

You see, if you have a healthy gut, that means your large intestine is populated with lots of friendly bacteria from a wide variety of strains. 

It’s the same thing with soil. In order to provide you with abundant nutrients, the veggies you eat have to be grown in healthy soil. Unfortunately, the majority of the soil where our broccoli, sweet potatoes and other veggies is grown is mineral-deficient. The same goes for dairy and meat. Personally, I hardly ever have regular dairy or meat, but if I did, I would only consume it where cows are grazing on grasses grown with beyond-sustainable farming techniques such as regenerative agriculture, which I’m about to explain in just a little bit. 

But most of the dairy and meat comes from cows that are trapped in industrial feedlots. Or, if the cows are given access to fresh air, they graze on mineral-deficient grass. Grass contains beneficial nutrients such as Omega-3 essential fatty acids. So when you’re consuming conventional dairy or meat, you’re hardly getting any of those beneficial nutrients and you’re taking a gamble on your health with inflammatory issues.

It’s no wonder that more and more people are having digestive issues and health problems. If we’re eating food, even if it’s something healthy like kale, that has been grown in poor soil, we’re eating mostly dead food. 

And it’s not just our health that suffers when we eat food grown in poor soil. The health of our planet suffers as well. But if every farm on this planet switched to regenerative farming techniques, we could feed our gut with food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals and all those other amazing phytochemicals that aren’t listed on food labels. This would not only make us healthier, it would make our planet healthier. 

Veronica farmers market

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

How does having healthier soil improve the ecological health of the planet? Well, regenerative ag may actually help reverse climate change by acting as a carbon sink. This means that this beyond-sustainable farming technique can remove excess carbon that otherwise would get released into the atmosphere. If we’re able to remove CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere, the theory goes, the planet will not warm to the accelerated levels it has been.

So what is regenerative ag? According to California State University at Chico, it’s using farming methods and ranch management techniques that restore degraded soils. “By rebuilding soil organic matter and soil biodiversity we significantly increase the amount of carbon that can be drawn down from the atmosphere while greatly improving soil fertility and the water cycle,” CSU-Chico explains. 

This is not meant as an insult, but many people are so out of touch with how food is made. Before I started Chef V, I was one of them. I had no clue about modern food cultivation practices like tillage. 

Tillage basically uses equipment to dig deep down into the soil—up to 10 inches—

before crops are planted. This allows for farmers to effortlessly plant more seeds. Tillage is sometimes necessary to plant new crops in a new season, but the practice is too pervasive and kills fertile soil. 

In fact, Regeneration International predicts that within 150 years, there will be no fertile soil left unless farmers adopt regenerative ag practices. 

farmer with regenerative ag soil

How Does Regenerative Farming Work?

The 7 certified organically-grown veggies in Organic Green Drink are farmed the old-fashioned way without large-scale industrial farming methods that strip nutrients away from the soil. 

Thankfully, modern farming equipment makes it easy for people who grow food to use no-till regenerative agriculture methods. This is essentially how food was grown starting about 12,000 years ago. Besides no-till, regenerative ag methods include crop rotation, composting, and fertilizing with animal manure instead of toxic pesticides. 

What is Monoculture Farming?

Take a look at the produce in a conventional supermarket. There’s a good chance that most of the veggies on display were cultivated using monoculture farming techniques. As the name implies, a monoculture farm only grows one crop like soybeans. Is this a bad thing? Mostly, yes. 

And the reason why comes back to your gut bacteria via the bacteria in the soil. You see, when only one type of plant is grown in a field, the ecological diversity of the soil becomes unbalanced. When you add tillage farming to monoculture farming, you get a recipe for dead soil. 

How Popular is Regenerative Farming?

Even though it’s really the original way people grew food, it’s only now making a comeback. The number of farms that are using beyond sustainable growing techniques like regenerative ag are still a drop in the bucket in comparison to conventional and factory farm operations. 

But the good news is that corporate food is beginning to wake up. The giant food conglomerate, General Mills, for instance, announced that by 2030, it will use regenerative agriculture on 1 million acres of farmland. 


Healing The Planet With Regenerative Ag

Now I don’t want to bore you with more technical details about regenerative ag. I just wanted to introduce the concept to you, so that when you purchase food you can make the most informed decisions to best support your health. 

The lesson here is that conventional farming practices need to go back to their roots. And from what I’ve read, the good news for farmers is that regenerative ag is more economically viable. The bottom line is that if we want to decelerate global warming, not even sustainable farming will cut it. We need beyond-sustainable farming, where carbon is sequestered in the soil and won’t escape into the atmosphere. 

What’s needed on a massive scale is the restoration of Earth’s soil to capture all those greenhouse gasses that are heating up the planet. And the way we get there is by growing food through regenerative agriculture. 

Veronica green drink

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.