Trends: they’re the subject of our social media feeds and our conversations. Here at the NAA, we love to question them, and sometimes even follow them— do you? This week, we share the latest trends that we’re puzzling over, considering for ourselves and our clients, and reading up on. What do you make of these trends that overlap with the fields of nutrition and aesthetics?

Rachael: Questioning Grain Free/Paleo

I have been seeing grain-free/Paleo products made with cassava root flour EVERYWHERE. But is this a good thing? Or will it become the next big food allergy/controversy like almonds, soy, coconut, etc. due to overuse?

In the United States, we tend to adopt a “more is more” attitude for just about everything, whether it’s “supersized” quantities at a fast food restaurant, or foods that we as a society never ate large quantities of (almonds, soy, coconut), until they were touted as “replacements” for foods deemed less healthy. Soy replaces animal sources of protein, coconut and almond products replace both wheat and dairy products, and so on. What we have now is higher incidences of allergies than ever before, and an onslaught of hormone-related chronic illnesses. I always find it fascinating to shop the snack food aisle at healthy food stores like Whole Foods Market, to see what they’re coming up with now to replace hard-to-digest-for-many wheat, corn, and rice products. With the grain-free Paleo trend, and the now-popular lectin-free trend, that doesn’t leave many options. Anything made with grains, beans/legumes, pulses, and some seeds are out. What’s the replacement? I’ve started seeing crackers and chips made with cassava flour just about everywhere. I had never heard of cassava flour before. Upon research, I found that it is a gluten-free flour made from the fibrous yucca plant–the same plant that tapioca (another gluten-free substitution) is processed from. It’s purported to be the “best” gluten, grain, and nut-free option because apparently it is also unlikely to cause allergies. But does that mean that everyone should switch to cassava everything? Well, think about it. Not so long ago, soy was the healthiest food on the planet. So were coconuts. So were almonds. So were rice and quinoa. Yet now we hear of terrible allergic and irritant reactions from those foods, as well as difficulty with digestion and blood sugar management for some people with these foods. Is it possible that this will happen with cassava too?


Tisha: Questioning Sleep Smoothies

I wouldn’t consider myself “on trend” per se, (if Garanimals for adults becomes a fashion craze, I will be cool again) but I do have friends, family and clients who are much cooler than me and I follow them on Instagram! One trend I’ve noticed lately is the idea of ‘sleep smoothies’: evening smoothies to help you sleep well. I grew up drinking a glass of pink milk before bed, with the maternal instructions that it would help me sleep. What was in it?  8oz of milk blended with a handful of frozen cherries. Worked like a charm, until I abandoned the practice in my teens to spare myself the calories. For many years, I heard the wave of nutritional experts warning against late night consumption of anything and felt righteous in my “nothing after 9pm” rules. Imagine my surprise when a client asked me what I thought of sleep smoothies. It seems that the science and trends now align with Grandma, and there might be a adult pink milk drink in my future. or maybe I will stick to my golden milk.  

Jolene: Questioning Fitness Trends

One of the best parts of following trends is that they can be fun, and keep things fresh, and there’s a lot to be said for adding fun and freshness when it comes to our workout routines. But I question whether following the out-of-control-train of fitness trends distracts us from connecting with our bodies in order to figure out which forms of exercise are best for us. Have you taken time to reflect on the way your body feels during and after your workouts? How about the ways that your hormonal cycles influence your fitness needs? Instead of searching for a studio to do vibrational fitness, checking in with what everyone else is doing on Instagram, or hustling off to aerial yoga because it’s the new buzzworthy activity, check in with your body and what it needs first and foremost. When you realize that you’re the only one you need to please when it comes to fitness, you can stop worrying about keeping your finger on the pulse of trends and settle into what lights your fire when it comes to fitness. It might even help you free yourself from unrealistic fitness expectations that are holding you back from really being happy with your beautiful self. Of course, it will always be fun to try a new workout or technique, but only when it’s right for you.


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What trends have you been questioning lately?

What trend have you tried recently that you’ve loved— or hated?