Each year is defined by its cultural trends: what we wore, what we read, what we watched and even what we ate. This past year was the year of banana ‘nice-cream,’ of cold-pressed juice and microgreens. So what can one expect in terms of food trends of 2016? We’ve rounded up some contenders that runners should watch out for.
Before reading this article, you probably thought a pulse was on your wrist, or your neck, a physiological marker that tells you when your workout is at its peak, or how far you are in terms of recovery. In 2016, pulses are going to have an increased dual meaning for runners as both a biomarker and a nutritious ingredient group.
Lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas all fall into the category of “pulse crops.” With one of the expected trends of 2016 being an increased interest in plant-protein sources, these pulses are sure to play an important role. It doesn’t hurt that the UN General Assembly actually declared 2016 the “International Year of the Pulses.” The UN is backing pulses in order to encourage the reduction of meat consumption and therefore mitigation of the greenhouse gas emissions of the meat industry, as well as to support food security in economically unstable areas.
If you want to jump on the pulse-train early, check out some of our favourite roasted chickpea recipes.
Getting your greens, sea-veggie style
If your experience with sea vegetables is limited to seaweed salad at your local sushi joint, 2016 is the year to expand your horizons. Some key players in the food industry are going as far to say that “kelp is the new kale.”
Sea vegetables are incredibly nutrient dense and low calorie–a rare combination. Of particular importance to runners is the iron and magnesium that it contains. A mere 100g of seaweed or kelp delivers 16 and 30 per cent of your daily intake of those nutrients, respectively. Sea vegetables are also an excellent source of iodine, a nutrient that is hard to come by in foods (which is the reason we have iodized salt to help us reach our quotient).
Sea vegetables are becoming increasingly mainstream in terms of availablity. Most grocery stores now sell sheets of nori or packages of kelp noodles. For inspiration, check out Canadian Running‘s list of super seaweed recipes.
During the past year, “prebiotics,” “probiotics,” and “gut flora,” came to join other biological terms to join the contemporary cultural lexicon. The tip of the iceberg has started to be revealed in terms of the wide-reaching effects the health of the little bacterium populations in our digestive systems have. Thus, there has been an increasing push to eat to support these populations.
One of the best ways to encourage a healthy gut is the consumption of fermented foods. Like sea vegetables, these foods, which were previously a fringe, health-food store phenomenon, have begun to hit mainstream grocery shelves. Look for kefir in the dairy aisle, or kombucha in the juice section.
Raise your hand if you chop off the beet stems and throw them in the compost, or cut of the broccoli and kale stalks, only using the leafy parts… (*slowly raises own hand*). Beets, broccoli and kale are all great nutritional choices, but those of use that cut off and throw away half of these vegetables are being wasteful and frankly, missing out on some cool recipes.
Next time you’re cooking with a vegetable that you normally discard parts of, try incorporating the whole veggie. Stir-fry, sauté, bake, mash… the options are limitless.
If you follow any food accounts on Instagram, it would appear that bowls are the new plates. These bowls have a variety of names that they go by– smoothie bowls, goddess bowls, bliss bowls, burrito bowls, noodle bowls, the list goes on and on.
The concept behind “bowling” (that’s my own term, but I think it could happen, right?) is throwing a whole bunch of nutritious ingredients together, usually so that you have a complete meal of carbohydrate, protein and fat.
As we become increasingly conscious of the carbon footprint that transporting exotic foods creates, more and more people are turning to local food. Not only is the food more fresh, it supports local farmers. Taking a trip to the farmer’s markets isn’t an activity limited to summertime!
For those interested in the sustainability behind local food, former Vancouver city councillor, Peter Ladner’s book, The Urban Food Revolution: Changing the Way We Feed Cities is a great resource.