by Sarah Senter, LAc  of Medicine Kitchen

What is on your list of new things to try or achieve this year? I love the energy of the new year and using it to take stock of what makes me happy in my life, what’s doesn’t, and how I can make changes to adjust towards a more fulfilling and healthy existence. I naturally look to food and wellness to help with this. Superfoods are always making new ground in the mainstream market & that has no chance of slowing down in 2019. Here is a new list of superfoods and lifestyle practices that may help you live your best life this year.

As plant based eating holds strong popularity in some circles, we will see the more interesting seaweeds come into play like wakame, hijiki, & kombu as well as the ubiquitous dried nori snacks. Seaweeds are so versatile and nutritious with minerals, iron, and iodine, making them a wonderful addition to salads, rice bowls, soups, and wraps. I think we will be seeing more creative variations of dried seaweed snacks arrive on the shelves as well.

Maca Root
As more women realize that hormones are at the root of everything regarding their health, adaptogens will continue to stay popular to combat stress, and we may see a revival of Maca root powder. Maca is a superfood otherwise known as “Peruvian ginseng” and is adaptogenic, nutritive and tonic to the body. It has been used for centuries to help balance hormones, increase fertility and libido, and combat adrenal fatigue due to ongoing stress.

Hemp & CBD Products
Nothing starting blowing up like hemp and CBD products in 2018, and 2019 will be the year for these to really hit the mainstream market. We will be hearing a lot about the endocannibinoid system of our bodies and how these products can affect it to promote relaxation and soothe pain. Many people don’t realize that we indeed synthesize our own cannabinoids from certain foods like the fatty acids in fish and flax seeds, just like any other vitamin or hormone, but the flowers from cannabis just happen to be one of the plants highest in cannibinoids to supplement this process. They can be wonderful antidotes to daily stress or chronic pain that doesn’t respond to other treatment.

Monk Fruit
People went crazy for the keto diet last year and we will see more products that support keto-based eating in 2019. Monk Fruit is a natural sweetener, called “luo han guo” in Chinese medicine, that has made a huge name for itself in the keto world for its ability to sweeten without raising blood sugar. You may know of monk fruit already yourself, but do your parents? They will by the end of the year.

The many health benefits of aloe vera will be highlighted this year, especially with regards to healing the gut and aiding digestive imbalance. This bitter, cooling, moistening food can be eaten & used internally to help with acid reflux, Crohn’s disease, IBD, leaky gut, constipation and more. This humble plant is so easily accessible and makes for the perfect natural home remedy for more than just skincare.

Reusable Wrapping and Produce Bags
Who’s with me that we should all migrate towards 100% no-plastic grocery shopping? This is a big personal goal of mine this year, and I think we will see more people strive for this as we all consider our planet and all the news that surfaced in 2018 regarding our plastic waste. Reusable produce bags are a great place to start! In fact, why don’t you pick up a set. Also consider using plain & simple bar soap instead of plastic pump bottles!

Sleep, Rest & Restorative Yoga
You may notice a trend happening here. The need for balancing hormones, soothing inflammation, using CBD products for pain and anxiety… many of these topics are related and can be traced all the way back to stress as a root cause for their current buzz. I think 2019 will be the year that people try to find the ultimate means of de-stressing in their daily life. It is a luxury to take time off work or go to the spa, but getting adequate sleep every night is something we can all strive for. Sleep optimization plans and the business of sleep – whether it be the best foam mattresses or pj sets – will get a lot of attention this year. Also, transitioning half of your yoga classes to yin-style or nidra-style restorative yoga will become even more important as we realize it’s just not worth living feeling worn out, over-extended, over-stimulated, or wired all the time. Believe it or not, slowing down is the next big thing.

Photo by Heather Gallagher