When it comes to food trends for the coming year, our crystal ball says there are three that stand out: wellness with adaptogens, decreased consumption of alcohol and the exploration of spicy foods and condiments from around the world.
Adaptogenic mushrooms might be new to the Western hemisphere, but they’ve been used for centuries in Eastern healing modalities. Adaptogens are said to help your body adjust to various types of stress and help your systems return to a balanced state called “homeostasis.” In mushroom form, varieties like reishi, chaga, turkey tail, lion’s mane and cordyceps may increase the body’s resistance to stress and protect against stress-related damage.
Just ask Chanel Murray, vice-president and co-founder of Forage Hyperfoods, a medicinal mushroom company that aims to provide accessible holistic and preventative fungi medicine to everybody. “Mushrooms have decades of peer-reviewed clinical research behind their health benefits,” she says. “Many of us have used fungi-based medicine without even knowing it. Penicillin, a common antibiotic, is derived from the fungus Penicillium, so trying naturally occurring functional mushrooms should not be a far leap.”
Sourcing both wild-harvested and organically cultivated mushrooms out of Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec, Forage Hyperfoods offers potent, bio-available liquid extracts, mushroom coffee blends, raw chaga in various sizes, and new and exciting formats coming soon.
Many Canadians haven’t historically opted for non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits, but a lot has changed throughout the pandemic. Now, more and more millennials and older Gen Z are interested in reducing their alcohol intake, with some looking to eliminate it from their diets altogether. Take it from Elaisha Jade, a mental-health advocate and meditation teacher. “In 2020, I wanted to try doing one year alcohol-free to see if it made a difference in my mood, sleeping pattern and wallet. It made such a difference and I’m now almost two years in,” she says. “I had to deal with a lot of explaining and re-explaining my reasons for not drinking to friends. People seemed uncomfortable that I chose not to drink.” In a way, opting for non-alcoholic beverages allowed Jade to evaluate which relationships were founded on being “drinking buddies” and make space to genuinely enjoy the company of others.
Looking to explore what’s out there? The Feast On-certified Spirit Tree Estate Cidery’s non-alcoholic craft ciders are perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Other Ontario options include West Avenue Ciders, beers from Partake Brewery and distilled non-alcoholic gin by Sobrii.
If homemade chili oil going viral on TikTok has taught us anything, it’s that Canadians are more open to exploring the flavours that the rest of the world has to offer. In fact, research shows that more people gravitate towards the spicy version of whatever they’re ordering when dining than not these days. After all, heat paired with flavour can enhance any culinary experience, an opinion Roshan Kanagarajah, the founder of Kitchen Guerrilla, enthusiastically confirms. “We have so many immigrant communities [in Toronto] and everyone is exchanging ingredients and sharing experiences...hot sauce in varying forms is a staple in so many households,” Kanagarajah says. That’s why he started a company making hot sauces and marinades. At first, he used peppers that his wife, Dalscene, grew in her garden. These days, he works with larger suppliers, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Every year, he releases a limited-edition batch made with her peppers.
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