By Cynthia Maxwell, Trend Forecasting
The first day of spring is officially March 20, but we will start to experience signs of spring emerging long before that in some regions. Temperatures will warm up, tulips and bright green grass will make their first appearances. Interesting fact; because the crocus flower blooms so early, it is considered the first sign of spring. While nature is organically transitioning, humans transition as well. If we continue to eat the heavy winter "hibernation" diet of cheese, gluten, and red meats right into spring, many may experience congestion, sinus infections, and allergies.
From the ancient guidance of Ayurvedic science, eating and lifestyle habits that align with the seasons have been around for over 5000 years. We are just starting to hear about this concept as Ayurvedic science has become a trend in the consumer areas of beauty and health, and wellness.
Have you heard of Ashwagandha? By now, you probably have. You will find it in the herbal supplements area of your grocery or drugstore, added to ready-made juices, and can also purchase it in powder form to add to smoothies and coffee. Ashwagandha, which still leads the pack in the health & wellness trends, hails as far back as 6000 BC, first mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. This fantastic herb helps with unrestful sleep patterns, stress, and anxiety.
Ashwagandha can be an asset to our diets during any season change.
As we start slowly transitioning out of winter into spring, we choose lighter foods to shed off the moisture accumulated in the body from the heavy foods. Fortunately, we will start to see a lot of food trends this year that are both chef-driven and offerings in your local supermarket that align with seasonal eating.
Let's look at some healthy lifestyle foods and practices that can ease us into spring.
Bitter Foods are in this year!
Ayurveda says sweet foods work best in the winter and bitter foods are just right for spring. Vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and collard greens are good bitter vegetables. Chefs are starting to add dandelion greens to the menu, using them on pizzas, pasta, and side dishes.
The low and non-alcohol drink trend continues to get more interesting as spring-friendly root vegetables add health benefits to these elixirs. Angelica, Gentian, Burdock, and Rhubarb roots will soon make their way into your favorite beverages.
Last year I wrote an article about Urban Farming. This year Whole Foods named it their number one food trend of 2022. When it comes to seasonal eating, nothing is better than a local farm, farmers market, or your own backyard garden to access exactly what is growing according to the seasons.
With the supply chain being disrupted by the impact of Covid, we have and will start to see more Urban Farming and individual gardening.
These practices also address the continuing push from consumers to have fresh, organic, and non-GMO produce.
Vegan and Vegetarian diets are still growing everywhere and are often a significant influence on chefs using local and seasonal foods.
The plant-based lifestyle's demand challenges chefs to be creative and bring newness to their menus. I have said this before, gone are the days that a restaurant could only offer the token "vegetable pasta."
So what's new?
Caraflex cabbage! This variety is a small, pointy in shape, hybrid cabbage with a mild flavor and crunchy texture that can be used uniquely. Chefs are roasting caraflex cabbage and the more known cabbage varieties, adding some creative sauces and toppings, serving them as a main or side dish. As salads are optimal for spring, caraflex cabbage is a perfect addition to checking the bitter taste category.
I hope I shed a little light on seasonal transition eating and lifestyle trends. I, for one, am ready for the warmer temperatures and the new fresh foods that come with a season change.
Cheers! & Happy Spring!
Photo by @thefrenchiegardener