Each year is a new beginning. And a new opportunity to improve your overall well-being. You can transform your health—even with the smallest changes. As you get geared up for 2016, here are some of the hottest trends in health and wellness. It’s going to be an exciting year, so embrace it by living in the moment!
THE CARB COMEBACK
Rice, oats, whole grains and even … tada… BREAD are back on the menu as we get smarter about carbs and learn to distinguish the types that provide nutrients and lasting energy and those that can add to our waistline. One study of 5,000 consumers released in November found that 1 in 2 could now distinguish between a “good” and “bad” carb. It’s exciting that we are also starting to understand and separate carbs into “slow-fuel” (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc.) and “fast-fuel” (sugars, processed and refined foods). Plus, just as you finally learned how to pronounce quinoa, a family of new supergrains is getting a lot of attention, including farro, amaranth and kamut. By not having consistent amounts of carbs, you’re messing with your blood sugar throughout the day, which can contribute to many other issues. You want to choose carbs that have at least some other nutrient in them. If the food has fiber, it’s going to digest more slowly. Your body depends on carbohydrates to function properly.
EATING BFAST, LUNCH, & DINNER OUT OF A BOWL
It all started with the smoothie bowls. Now bowls are branching out into lunch and dinner too. They are becoming featured healthy items on restaurant menus – going by the name of macro bowls, veggie bowls, grain bowls, poke (sushi-style) bowls, etc.
SOUPING IS THE NEW JUICING
In 2016, green juice fasts and detoxes are going to be replaced with cleanses and diets that use healthy soups – thick, runny, chunky or smooth. Souping can actually be healthier for detox compared to juicing for one main reason: soup retains fiber.
Matcha is becoming a trendy new staple in pretty much any coffee shop you go. And it’s not just for drinks. We are even starting to see matcha being added to desserts and brunch menus. With this kind of enthusiasm for the tea, we could see matcha-dedicated cafes starting to pop up. We might even see the antioxidant-rich green tea starting to show up in beauty products. Read my recent blog post on Matcha.
SEAWEED IS THE NEW KALE
Suddenly, everyone is talking about this crazy underwater plant, for its nutrient profile, skin-care benefits, and incredible potential for combatting climate change. Seaweeds are amongst the most nutrient-dense plants on the planet, and as they have access to all the nutrients in the sea, they are an extremely rich source of minerals. We are even seeing manufacturers using seaweed as a healthy option to replacing the salt added to processed foods. The bioactive substances derived from seaweed provide a beneficial and functional role at the cellular level, contributing to healthy looking skin, hair, and nails.
MINERALS ARE THE REAL HEALTH ROCKSTARS
Vitamins may get all the kuddos, but in 2016 experts are going to be calling minerals the real health rockstars. The day to day “things” we experience in today's modern life that affects us all—stress, sleeplessness, and a dependence on stimulants—aren't just giving us something to complain about, they’re depleting our mineral levels, particularly magnesium. According to Functional medicine doctors, 80 percent of us are deficient in magnesium. This is a problem because magnesium is linked to improving your muscle and bone strength, helps regulate blood pressure and keeps our immune systems strong.
BEAUTY PRODUCTS YOU DRINK
2016 is going to be the year where sipping is part of your beauty regimen vs. what you slather on. Consumers are increasingly making the connection between skincare and nutrition. We will see a wealth of beauty-boosting beverages loaded with the nutrients that help promote a healthy glow from within, prevent signs of aging, fight acne, and more. Many of these elixirs will contain antioxidants and superfood ingredients linked to skin health, like turmeric, probiotics, zinc, and adaptogens like Rhodiola Rosea.
MEET ADAPTOGENS, THE NEW STRESS-FIGHTING SUPERHERBS
Everyone has heard of (and hopefully eats) superfoods. Well, meet the superherbs! There are superpowers present in some plants that can help our bodies adapt to stress and handle it in a healthy way. These are called adaptogens and they have the attention of respected physicians like Frank Lipman, MD, skincare lines and even juice companies. The potential of these stress-fighting superherbs to improve all kinds of issues related to health and beauty is super exciting. These superherbs can help your body adapt to its specific needs. Get ready to see adaptogenic ingredients like moringa, Ashwagandha, maca and ginseng in your juices, smoothies, chocolate, beauty products, and more. As we burn out on RX drug experiments and look to sustainable sources to help with stress and health, all arrows point to these herbs.
NUT MILKS GO WILD
Nut milks are getting tons of attention - more than cold-pressed juices were getting even five years ago. Thanks to all the exposure around animal agriculture, dairy intolerance and the issues around soy, more people are drinking nut and seed milks than ever before. But now, people now want milks that are all natural and emulsifier-free (NO carrageenan). Customers are looking at ingredients. Get excited to see some new brands and improved brands! Have you ever made your own nut/seed milks? Here is a nice DIY plant milk recipe formula.
ANTI-DIET! IT'S ABOUT THE BRAIN, NOT THE A$$
Thanks to a growing millennial philosophy about fitness—working out is not about chasing a dress size or for appearances anymore. It’s about working out to ease anxiety and feel strong rather than just to lose weight. The mental health benefits of fitness really are to experience how good it makes your body and brain feel. This stamps an impactful change in thinking about wellness as a holistic way to live versus always trying to look a certain way that leads to letdown and depression for many. Checkout the Anti-Diet Project.
OIL WILL BECOME YOUR CLEANSER OF CHOICE
Ready for a new skincare ritual that has a lot in common with your grandmother’s evening cold cream to remove dirt and makeup? Bring on nature! This modern holistic technique uses natural plant oils. You will see many beauty brands bringing in cleansing oils in 2016. It’s a gentle concept of oil cleansing – an oil cleanser effectively tackles the dirt and oil on your face – vs. water-based cleansers that need surfactants to provide suds to get your skin clean. The oil removes the emulsified oil, makeup, and pollution while leaving your skin balanced and nourished.
Cheers to 2016!
Previous post: Why I'm Vegan, by Kristin Wuhrman
Childhood to Adulthood
When I was a young child, I loved visiting my grandparents’ farm in Michigan. There were so many animals – cows, chickens and barn cats. I loved hanging out with, watching and petting them. I started observing their behaviors and understanding their needs for love, companionship and compassion. They were no different than me. My dad would let me hold the piglets – I wanted to take one home as a pet so badly. I grew up with having cats – there was Oscar, Smokey and Magic. I deeply loved, nurtured and cared for our cats – I felt like I really understood them. I would do anything to protect them, make them happy and keep them from harm. When they died, I was heartbroken, crying nonstop at their sad and unfair deaths.
As I grew older, yet still a child, my love for animals continued to grow – I went to vet visits at Michigan State University, subscribed to as many animal magazines I could, daydreamed about having a farm hotel for all homeless animals, and just wanted to be the animal whisperer I thought I could be. I started questioning why we had to eat animals – it didn’t feel right. I believed then that they were meant to live and enjoy life just like I was. I had this terrible experience seeing these massive semi trucks transporting chickens. It absolutely made me sick. They were crammed so tightly in small crates and not even upright. How could this even be allowed? I then learned what happened to baby calves within hours of their birth, removed from their mothers and many becoming so distressed from the separation that they became ill. I started to refuse eating animals and my family supported it, knowing how it made me feel.
After graduating from Michigan State University, I started my career of 10 years in the animal health industry, volunteered at several rescues, was a heavily involved in helping feral cats and visiting sanctuaries. I also adopted my first cat, Lexi. I still have sweet Miss Lexi, who has welcomed my other lovely 5 cats I adopted over the past few years. Three of them have vision problems (one blind), due to being separated from their mother at only a few weeks of age. I rescued them at my grandparents’ farm and bottle-fed them to great health.
Vegetarian to Vegan
My reason for becoming vegetarian was simple: I absolutely loved and love all animals and I didn’t want to be involved in anything that lead or contributed to their suffering. I first gave up pork, beef and chicken, then fish. But I still didn’t feel right and wasn’t educated enough on commercial dairy and egg farms. I quickly learned that these loving and innocent animals lived miserable lives too, so why was I still having eggs and dairy? I was not eating and living in accordance with my beliefs that animals have their own lives, that they're entitled to their own lives, and that contributing to animal suffering was something that I would never ever be a part of. It was literally over night that I gave up all animal products and became a vegan.
com·pas·sion: concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
In Love and Cross Country Road Trip
I fell in love with my amazing husband, who was from Seattle and moved out there with all 6 cats. After living out of our backpacks in France for 12 days, my husband and I flew to Michigan, built a "pet hotel" in the back of my FJ Cruiser and then drove 2,351 miles to Washington State with all 6 of our cats. We took advantage of all the natural beauty we possibly could as one big family. It was a road trip we will never forget! Lexi, Sammi, Ruthie, Lulu, Miranda and Chuck did extremely well and we are happy and healthy living in the Pacific Northwest now.
Advancing in Veganism
I continued to stay very active on educating myself about veganism and learning about health, climate change and the environment continually reinforced my knowledge. Thanks to many powerful resources like Cowspiracy, I learned that eating meat, dairy and eggs are highly responsible for people developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. I found out livestock covers 45% of the Earth’s total land. I found out that 5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes and 55% of water in the US is for animal agriculture. I found out that 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 90 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese. I found out that 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second. I found out that there is 15 times more protein on any given area of land with plants rather than animals. And I found out that most of zoonotic diseases (SARS, mad cow disease, bird flu, etc.) are the result of animal agriculture. And as a clincher: Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.
My Vegan Business
As I studied veganism, health and the environment, the more eager I was to educate others. Also, being an athlete, I learned how much better my performance and recovery was when I ate balanced, plant-based whole foods. My passions were really becoming clearer everyday – animals and plant-based health. But how could I educate and softly influence others in order to get them to listen to the wealth of information and knowledge I had to share? After attending the world’s largest nutrition school, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I became certified as a holistic health coach and I started my own plant-based health coaching business called BEVEGAN® Grassroots Health (aka Miss Bellevue Vegan). I coach, support and help people and businesses transition into or better understand the benefits of a healthy vegan lifestyle. BEVEGAN® Boot Camp, my signature program is a 33-day 'clean-eats' cleanse program built around an unprocessed, nutritionally complete, whole food plant-based diet. Delivered by a realistic, down-to-earth approach, BEVEGAN® Boot Camp will help you discover your authentic self. I also hold local events to raise awareness and provide new experiences for both vegans and non-vegans. These include Vegan Food Crawls and Vegan Cooking Classes.
"Veganism is not about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peace within yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable" ~ Gary L. Francione
In addition to my Vegan Health Coaching Business, I’m proudly involved with several incredible non-profits that support animal rights and animal welfare. I’m a District Leader with the Humane Society of the United States, a Community Member Benefits Provider with The Vegan Trade Council, a Feral Friend with Ally Cat Allies, an active volunteer and team captain with The Humane League – Seattle and supporter of Pigs Peace Sanctuary and Pasado’s Safe Haven.
There is so much more I could say, but I truly have covered the reasons that I became and proudly remain vegan. I hope my story has been an inspiration to many and there become more heroes for the animals.
Peace, Love, Vegan,
*Agribusiness statistics courtesy of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.
Owner of BEVEGAN® Grassroots Health. Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. AKA Miss Bellevue Vegan. Plant-Based Health Consultant. Vegan Athlete. Outdoor Enthusiast. Outdoor Gear Reviewer. Author. Cotopaxi Local Ambassador. Animal Lover. Dreamer. Believer.
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