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It looks to be an exciting year for health & wellness, and Green Queen shares her predictions for what will be 2016’s biggest trends.
1. Bowl Everything
Mark our words, this coming year the already-huge-on Instagram fad is going to take over IRL. Buddha bowls, smoothie bowls, rice bowls, poke, salad bowls, veggie bowls…Whatever you call them, this year’s biggest health food trend will be bowl-based! Here in Asia, bowl-based meals are nothing new (hello char siu fan) but with the focus on eating all the colors of the rainbow whilst keeping things convenient, bowls have gotten a healthy shake up. From vegan salad bowls to Hawaiian poke bowls to breakfast acai bowls, you can happily sustain yourself on nothing but food served in bowls. Stay tuned for Green Queen’s Bowl Week later this month, when we will celebrate these delicious one meal hacks in all their photogenic glory.
2. It’s All About The Gut
The medical research world is a controversial place full of spirited debates about what is behind all our global health epidemics but one thing every expert agrees on is that it’s all about the gut. Your digestive tract and your microflora (aka the microbes and bacteria present in your gut) are absolutely key to good health. What makes for poor gut health? Food intolerances, allergies, excess antibiotic use, stress, poor diet and genetics. Not having the right microbe environment can lead to a host of medical issues, including obesity and an inability to lose weight. Expect your family GP to start talking to you about how to ensure your gut flora is balanced and healthy.
3. Fermented Everything
Along with a revival of traditional foods and cooking techniques amongst the latest generation of chefs, poor gut health is also the one of the main reasons behind the next trend: the mainstreaming of fermented foods. We need more probiotic-rich foods and supermarkets and restaurants are more than happy to oblige. Two years ago, no one had even heard of kombucha. Today, it’s everywhere, along with its cousin kefir. Not to mention the return of bacteria-filled yoghurt, from coconut to Greek, and restaurant menus packed with probiotic-filled pickles of all kinds from kimchi to sauerkraut and everything in between. Popping probiotics pills is so 2015. In 2016, you will eat your good bacteria.
4. The Vegan Roar
It is no longer possible to ignore the fact that industrial meat farming is hugely damaging to the environment and to human health. More and more people are jumping on the plant-based bandwagon, leaving animals and animal by-products. Case in point? Veganuary, a movement started to encourage people to vegan in January now has 50, 000 adherents up from 3, 000 two years ago. Veganism also has some powerful advocates including Brad Pitt, Ellen De Generes and Bill Clinton, not to mention world-famous athletes like superstar tennis sister duo Venus and Serena Williams and Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier. Here in Hong Kong, the Green Monday movement has grown from strength to strength. Expect the vegan voice to turn into a powerful roar.
5. Healthy Meal Delivery
We are all getting busier- not everyone has time to invest hours in preparing macro-balanced, home-cooked meals but the good news is: eating healthy is no longer a fringe lifestyle choice. The average office worker is looking for better, more nourishing food delivered in a convenient format and luckily, a whole host of new players have launched healthy meal delivery services in Hong Kong with menu options for veggies, the paleo crowd, weight loss, intense training and more. The food is sourced with love, prepped daily and delivered fresh. No more old pizza, stale sandwiches or worse 7-11 quick lunch fixes. Eating healthy has never been easier!
6. Niche Workouts
From underwater spinning to strongman circuits to aerial yoga to bootcamp in the park to pole dancing classes, from Thai boxing to trampolines to Barre, working out is no longer the chore it always felt like and we foresee the niche fitness trend gaining followers by the thousands. There are so many fun ways to get your heart rate up and your muscles pumping, and even exciting new ways to stretch, and Hong Kong’s fitness scene is all the richer for it.
7. Specialty Fitness
As the quest for personal fitness becomes more mainstream, your average gym customer’s needs have changed. People want service and curation and specialized workouts and the proof is in the pudding: over the last year, Hong Kong has seen an astonishing amount of specialized fitness studios open up, all with tailored programs and bespoke offerings (think trainers who double as nutritional consultants and class limits in the single digits) and a dedicated clientele who wouldn’t be caught dead in a multi-purpose mega gym where no one remembers your name and you have to line up to take a shower. RIP #factorygyms.
8. The Rise Of The Healthster
Athleisure-wearing, yoga-mat carrying, green-juice drinking healthsters are no longer exceptions to the rule. In today’s fast-moving glocal world, health, wellness and fitness have gone from being sideline hobbies to lifestyle-defining choices, influencing the majority of our daily activities. This trend is only going to ramp up and soon, the non-healthy among us will feel like the odd ones out.
9. Vegetarian Food = Haute Cuisine
In case you haven’t noticed, vegetarian cuisine is no longer just for peace-loving hippies. From Matthew Kenney’s self-proclaimed mission to “craft the future of food” at his Plant Food & Wine restaurants to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new vegetarian eatery in NYC, plant-based menus are calling for their Michelin stars all around the world. Grassroots Pantry has been a pioneer of plant-based eating for serious gastronomes on the Hong Kong F&B scene for a while now, but Chef Peggy Chan is no longer the only fancy veggie kid on the block. She has inspired a legion of chefs and restauranteurs in the city to push the limits of what can be done with plants and make them the meal’s well-deserved focus.
10. DNA-Based Wellness
Turns out, we are not all designed to eat the same diet. Nor are we all meant to practice the same kind of exercise regimen. Each of us has our own individual requirements and thanks to huge advancement in tech and medical research, we can now record the right data to ascertain the perfect eating plan and workout for our specific bodies. Whether it’s recording our every move on Fitbits and Jawbones or undergoing a complete DNA assessment or figuring out how we metabolize sugar so we can eliminate the foods that cause insulin spikes and prevent weight loss (for some it’s ice cream, for others broccoli), the one size fits all mentality is done and dusted. Amen to celebrating the unique healthy snowflake in all of us!
Check out our 2017 Health & Wellness Trends.
Image credits: Beauty Orange County Women’s Fitness Yoga Pants -7853 via photopin (license), Sweet Green, Improving Human Intestinal Health via photopin (license), 2013 ITU World Cup Elite Women via photopin (license), BounceLimit, Torq, The Pebble Posse via photopin (license), Zumufi HK and Green Queen.