Fermented foods, Middle Eastern influences, plant-centric cuisine, stress-busting and brain-boosting herbs, and all things mushroom: that’s what’s up for 2018.
Move over, pharmaceuticals: Natural botanicals are the new final word in stress relief. Flowers and herbs like chamomile, lavender, rose, hibiscus and lemon balm relieve anxiety and promote relaxation. And they’re piggybacking on another 2018 trend: floral-flavored products, with offerings like hibiscus frozen pops, lavender lemonade and rose-flavored everything.
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Collagen – a protein that eases joint pain, protects ligaments and tendons, strengthens bones, and may prevent wrinkles and saggy skin – is poised to be the next turmeric. Now, driven by the lower-carb higher-protein shift, you’ll find it in beverages, packaged bone broths and drink mixes. Hydrolyzed collagen blends – more-readily digested and absorbed – are especially popular. Also leading the way is clean collagen from organic, pasture-raised beef or sustainable, wild-caught marine sources.
Street food, small dishes and handheld bites are the latest in on-the-go eats (think dim sum, only hipper). And there are no heavy sauces here: Grilled, smoked and flavor-forward dishes, highlighted with distinctive spices or sides, offer easy-to-eat options. Leading the way are tacos with inventive twists like seaweed wrappers, heirloom corn tortillas, vegan and Paleo selections (jackfruit barbacoa, jicama shells), and dessert variations.
Other spins on the finger-food-to-go trend include Japanese “dude food” with hearty choices like deep-fried tofu, yakitori chicken or sushi burritos; Indian offerings with fast-casual items like lamb burritos or masala pizza; and high-tech, plant-centric alternatives like sushi-grade “not tuna” made from tomatoes, vegan burgers that bleed and noodles crafted from seaweed, pulses and vegetables.
Mood-lifting, brain-boosting, focus-sharpening supplements offer safe alternatives to today’s so-called “smart drugs” – pharmaceuticals like Ritalin, Adderall and modafinil. These herbal nootropics (from the Greek noos for “mind” and tropos for “turning”) work on many levels by increasing circulation to the brain, altering the concentration of neurotransmitters, reducing brain inflammation, stimulating the formation of new brain cells and protecting the brain from free radical damage. Compared to pharmaceuticals, they have fewer side effects or withdrawal symptoms. Leading the pack are rhodiola, huperzine-A, bacopa, vinpocetine, ginkgo biloba and ginseng. Look for them in tonics, teas and powdered beverage mixes.
Driven by our ongoing awe of probiotics and a continuing fascination with ancestral eating, cultured and fermented foods are making their way into even the most mainstream diets. Kombucha, kefir, yogurt and miso are the most familiar, but you’ll also find probiotics in sourdough bread, brine-cured olives, fermented teas like pu’erh, tempeh and cultured butter. Or try bolder offerings such as sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables and natto, a pungent condiment made from fermented soy beans.
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SOURCE: ( Clean Eating Magazine )