I have always heard that Capetonians are extremely conscious about exercise and healthy eating. And since moving here, I have came to realize that this myth definitely is a reality!
It is quite thrilling to see health stores, cafes and smoothie bars around almost every corner. It definitely shows that healthy food and eating behaviour have come a long way since the dark old days when fast foods became an international hit.
There are so many food and healthy trends doing their rounds, and Cape Town is usually the first place to experiment with food trends; with the rest of the country to follow suit.
Expect to see chefs taking on the challenge of food allergies, a movement towards less wastage and an exploration of using edible flowers and medical mushrooms in dishes.
The drought 2017 in the Western Cape has really hit the industry in a hard way – and there is a big drive towards waterless cooking.
In 2017 we saw a sudden explosion of turmeric in everything! From lattes and flavoured yoghurt to cocktails and desserts.
Listed below are a few of the popular trends that will probably be seen in the future.
1. MEDICAL MUSHROOMS infused in different foods
The 2017 trend of mushroom-infused foods is still going strong, with varieties like reishi, chaga, and cordyceps taking the lead. These so-called ‘medical mushrooms’ are known for their immune boosting and antioxidant properties and they’re getting more popular by the day.
2. An innovative WAY TO SEASON YOUR SAVOURY DISHES
Consuming too much salt (sodium chloride) can put tension on your heart, stomach and kidneys. Luckily a new kind of savoury sprinkle is trending. It’s cheap, easy to make and deliciously salty: seaweed.
Seaweed like Nori (the adored sushi wrapping) and Dulse (a nutritious red seaweed that looks a bit like miniature kale) are making headlines as healthy substitutes for salt.
All strains of seaweed have a naturally salty taste without the high levels of sodium. Although researchers say it is not a complete substitute for salt, it can definitely help to relieve some of the pressure - especially if you think that you’re consuming too much salt in your diet. And of course, there are some added benefits as well.
3. SUPER (FOOD) POWDERS
Superfood powders like matcha, spirulina and acai were all the rage in 2017. And the trend looks set to continue with an even broader range of jam-packed powders.
In 2018, our favourite nighttime drink, Turmeric Golden Milk, will be supercharged with newcomer, ashwagandha; a close relation of the gooseberry. Benefits include anti-ageing, stress relief, immunity and fertility .
This is also the year that super green moringa – one of the most nutrient-rich plants in the world – will take over from kale, matcha and green tea as the super green must-have. Usually added to foods and drinks as a powder; moringa comes from the dried and crushed seeds of the fern-like moringa tree. It is loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, iron, calcium, protein and vitamin C. Expect this green powder to quickly rise through the ranks as a smoothie booster.
4. GOING VEGAN IS simpler THAN EVER before
Vegans have had a tough time in South Africa. We are a nation of meat eaters with an entire day dedicated to braaivleis and boerewors, but veganism is part of the culinary rainbow, and more people are opening up to the amazing things you can do with veggies.
6. EATING LOCAL IS GETTING CLOSER TO HOME
Global movements like farm-to-table and root-to-stem are flourishing – and with good reason. The foods grown and cultivated near you are usually the freshest, most nutritious, and most flavourful foods that you can eat.
7. AVOCADO OIL: THE ALL-ROUNDER OF 2018
Avocado oil has been named one of the five healthiest oils on the planet . This oil, made from the thin layer of pulp around the avocado pit, is a lot more adaptable than you might think.
Avocado oil has a higher smoke temperature than most oils (including olive oil), which means it’s less likely to lose any nutritional value during cooking – even at very high temperatures. It’s the perfect oil for searing juicy pieces of salmon and locking in those flavours.
8. FROM KOMBUCHA to SWITCHEL
Switchel is a fermented drink made from apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, and a variable sweetener. It is said to ease inflammation, boost your immune system, balancing the body’s PH levels and quenching thirst.
So stay healthy, keep fit and don’t be scared to try new things. We live in a trendsetting province – be proud of yourself and your eating habits.