Put on your moonboots and strap on your seatbelt in your flying car: it’s 2020.
Okay, so the year sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but we’re not quite there with inter-planetary visits and air-bound vehicles.
Actually, most of the health and wellness trends this year are the opposite of futuristic. In fact, they’re about returning to the basics: eating more natural and less processed foods, moving our bodies, and using sustainable planet-friendly products.
Dive in below for a few key health and wellness trends.
1. Plant-based meat alternatives
Plant-based beef replacements have been popular in recent years – remember the vegan burger patties that would ‘bleed’ when cooked due to containing beetroot juice? But in 2020, chicken and fish are next to get a plant-based makeover. There has been major investment in start-ups like Good Catch that makes ‘tuna’ out of soybeans and peas to reduce consumption of actual tuna which is overfished. And although the taste and texture of vegan chicken is hard to mimic, it’s still increasing in popularity. I think there’s room for caution with this trend though: just because something is labelled plant-based, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If it’s made from 30 ingredients like processed soy and filled with artificial flavours, sweeteners and fillers, it’s not a better choice. But it is reflective of moving towards more sustainable food and a growing awareness of what we’re eating, which is a good thing.
2. 16-8 fasting
In 2016, the 5-2 diet popularised eating regularly for 5 days and incorporating fasting on 2 alternate days. In 2019, intermittent fasting was Google’s most searched diet. This year, 16-8 fasting is set to reach the mainstream – where proponents fast for 16 hours a day and eat within an 8-hour window. It’s not as drastic as it sounds – if your eating window is 11am-7pm, that simply means skipping breakfast and not eating after your evening meal. While most guidelines preach breakfast as the most important meal of the day, growing evidence shows that when we eat may be just as important as what we eat for health and longevity. Food for thought. (So to speak.)
3. Fitness at home
Exercising at home isn’t new – Jane Fonda brought aerobics to housewives back in the 70s and 80s (with one of her workouts becoming the best-selling VHS tape of all time), and the 90s and noughties saw infomercials bring home gym equipment and high intensity DVDs like Insanity and P90X to worldwide audiences. But the rise of smartphone technology and streaming services means home fitness is more effective and affordable than ever – daggy bodysuits not required. For those wanting a built-in community of like-minded women, personal training apps like the Ashy Bines Squad app or Sweat by Kayla Itsines are fun and engaging. For those wanting external accountability, try a monthly subscription to live-streamed classes like ClassPass Live or Booyah Fitness. And for those that like to go at their own pace or want constant variety, simply find your favourite type of exercise on YouTube (I love Yoga With Adriene and Blogilates).
4. Eco-friendly product swaps
Single-use plastic is out, and reusable natural materials are in. Making environmentally-friendly choices is becoming easier with an increasing range of bathroom and kitchen products designed to be used again and again. Stainless steel water bottles and glass coffee cups are a start, but take it to the next level with bamboo cutlery, beeswax wraps (instead of cling wrap), bamboo toothbrushes, silicone food bags, washable paper towels, cotton produce tote bags, menstrual cups (in place of pads and tampons), washable makeup remover pads and even reusable cotton buds (really!).
5. Sea moss
If kale was one of the original superfoods, sea moss is hot on its heels. Also known as Irish moss, this sea vegetable has a host of nutritional benefits like being high in iodine and selenium (good for hormone production), potassium and B vitamins (to reduce stress and support our nervous system), and its mucilaginous properties mean it’s soothing for our digestive tract (beneficial for digestion issues like bloating or IBS). It comes dried or fresh and can be used as a natural thickener – and while it has a slight apparently seaweed taste on its own, apparently it’s virtually tasteless when added to recipes. (I haven’t tried it personally but of course now I’m keen to!) Find it at specialty Asian grocers or on Amazon and try it in soups, stews, salad dressings, smoothies, homemade nut milks or raw desserts.
6. Chickpea everything
Chickpeas are to 2020 what cauliflower was to 2017. Chickpeas are gluten-free and neutral-tasting, plus they’re higher in fibre and protein compared to grains like rice. As well being turned into baking and cooking staples like flour, pasta and bread, prepare to see them on supermarkets shelves and restaurant menus in diverse forms from protein powder to brownies to fries.
Well, that’s my list. Is there anythig you’ve already tried? What’s missing that you think will be big for 2020? Let me know in the comments below.