Last year we were fitbit obsessed, spinning took off, and everyone was getting personalised vitamin supplements. Some have been great trends (hello re-usable water bottles and coffee-cups, goodbye plastics), most pretty reasonable (interest in gut microbiomes), others outright ridiculous (Ahem, most of Goop), so what does 2019 have in store for us in terms of health and wellbeing? Here are my top four predictions and what I make of them.
A softly softly approach to veganism, with a gentle introduction into it via “Veganuary” has meant that it has started to take over our Instagram and Twitter feeds and is now an option on nearly every London restaurant menu. I suspect this year there will be more people binning the short-term slogan lead vegan-January for a longer-term plan of a plant-based lifestyle.
What I make of it: I am a fan of a plant-based diet in terms of its potential health benefits, animal welfare and reduced burden on the environment. But like most things, there are ways to make it unhealthy. In order to ensure a vegan is getting all the nutrients they need without the need for supplements, meal time requires prepping and preparing. You must also remember that fries are vegan, so don’t assume that taking on a vegan diet will automatically make you healthier. I am excited however to see a flurry of innovative ways to make that jack fruit taste even more like pulled-pork!
Archaeological research suggests that humans have been using mind altering drugs since prehistoric times, and these substances naturally attract considerable attention in science, the media and law. In the last year we have seen the laws change in terms of the medical use of cannabis, and with this has come new interest in CBD. Cannabis plants are made up of several cannabinoids, each with different effects on the body. The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid which allows recreational users to get “high”, but CBD does not have this psychoactive effect and as such is one of the few cannabinoids that is not considered a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
What I make of it: CBD has been hailed a cure all, with claims of improving Alzheimer’s, anxiety, arthritis. However, the studies thus far are minimal in terms of human trials. I suspect that the public’s perception of the efficacy of CBD in managing the many health problems it has been claimed to resolve is significantly unbalanced compared to the systematic reviews and studies that have thus far been conducted. So, before you pick up every juice, lotion and supplement containing CBD, remember we need more robust data to understand its properties and how they affect humans to be able to assess its future therapeutic success.
Peloton was a health innovator of 2018, providing spinning to the masses in their home with interactive live streamed classes, and awakening people’s competitive streaks as they can see their performance compared to the others in the “class” on a leader board. I suspect this digital fitness home environment boutique gym trend will continue into 2019 with other sports like rowing.
What I make of it: Having recently joined the Peloton craze at my local gym, I am all for this. Anything that encourages and inspires people to get moving can only be a good thing, and if you can do so from the comfort of your own home, then why not. But not everyone is into cycling so I am eager to see what 2019 offers with companies like True Rowing already taking pre-orders for the new year.
One size does not always fit all, and with the take-off of personalised vitamin supplements, I suspect these so called “DNA diets” will follow suit. There are companies offering a mouth swab to analyse your DNA to give you a personalised report to help you make better choices based on your specific sensitivities to foods.
What I make of it:I don’t feel you need a DNA test to make a diet work for you. The usual reason that diets don’t work for people is because they are unsustainable, forcing you to remove all carbohydrates, only eat green vegetables or juice everything to within an inch of its life. Ultimately, we know that for most people (health conditions permitting) it is a simple matter of input versus output, and the skill of losing weight is about finding a diet that matches your needs rather than necessarily matching your DNA.
With January knocking around the corner, if you are becoming increasingly curious about the wellness movements of 2019, rather than jumping on the bandwagon, take a minute to think about whether it is sustainable, affordable, and most importantly, is it a trend that will truly offer a healthier alternative. If you can answer yes to these, hop on!