Food Trends

As 2013 comes to a close, one tends to reflect on the year that was. For the last Meatless Monday post of this year, here’s my pick for the top 5 vegetarian food trends of 2013:

Kale
One of the trending ‘super foods’ is kale. Popular on cooking competition shows and with vegetarian/vegans for quite some time, this green leafy vegetable is packed with nutrients. The ubiquitous kale chips have featured on many menus and in many grocery stores but kale can also be eaten either steamed or raw or in soups and smoothies. Varieties of kale include curly, ornamental and Lacinato.  
Extra! Extra! Read all about it:
Benefits of Kale

Quinoa
According to The World’s Healthiest Foods website, the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) named 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa.”
Quinoa is an edible seed and belongs to the same family as Swiss chard, spinach and beets. It is nutritionally dense, versatile in the kitchen and can be eaten by just about anyone with dietary concerns.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it:
See our original post for more ideas with quinoa & read more about its health benefits by clicking here.

Gluten-free
As far as I’m concerned this is the mother of all food trends. There are 2 factions who choose to go gluten-free: those that must for medical reasons and those that want to capitalize on the supposed health benefits of being gluten-free.
Gluten is the protein found in some grains (e.g. wheat, barley , rye) and wheat gluten has been a protein staple in the diets of some vegetarians/vegans from the time that hippies made a plant-based diet groovy.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder whereby the body’s immune system goes renegade on itself. The consumption of gluten causes damage to the villi of the small intestine. The villi are responsible for nutrient absorption and when their function is impaired this can lead to malnutrition. Other serious medical issues can also develop in persons with Celiac (e.g. osteoporosis, cancer) if left untreated.
The other camp believes that going gluten-free is key for weight loss. Because this belief is so strong many food companies have pursued a range of gluten-free products and voraciously promoted anything that is naturally gluten-free so as to maximize their profits. Many consumers are literally eating this up.
Note: Many commercial gluten-free products severely lack any nutritional value; sugar is often the main ingredient.

Raw
A raw food diet consists of preparing and eating food in its natural state so as to maintain the integrity of the inherent enzymes and nutrients of whole foods. ‘Rawism’ or raw foodism is more a lifestyle choice than weight loss plan. Its proponents are largely vegetarian/vegan as the bulk of the diet is plant-based. A food dehydrator is essential for food prep and any heat produced must not exceed 46°/115°F in order for the food to be still considered raw.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it:
Raw Food diet review on WebMD

Sprouting
Sprouting entails more than just alfalfa sprouts on a vegetarian sandwich or bean sprouts in a stir-fry. Sprouting has gained popularity and is an economical and easy way to get your greens year-round. Legumes, grains and seeds can be used and the results are tasty and full of vitamins, antioxidants, protein and fiber.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it:
David Suzuki on Sprouting
Sprouting 101

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