As we're literally just days away from 2021, I figured that this would be as good a time as any to share with you some of the food trends that are gonna be pretty big next year. The thing that I really like about each of these is they are thoughtful, healthy and something that you can easily incorporate into your diet and lifestyle, regardless of what your budget may be.
So, are you ready to discover what you should be spending more of your time on, along with what should be going on your grocery shopping list for the next 12 months?
1. Black-Owned Restaurants
Something that I found myself saying a lot in 2020 is, a company couldn't care less how much we don't like its practices so long as we keep giving it our money. That's why, when I found out which companies that supported Trump's campaign, I stopped shopping there (I also don't give money to billionaires who refuse to give their employees sick pay; just saying).
On top of that, I am more intentional about supporting Black businesses than ever. That's why I smiled when I saw that a big 2021 food trend is backing up Black-owned restaurants. You can find the ones in your own city by either going to your favorite search engine and putting "Black-owned restaurants" along with your city and state in the search field. Or, you can support another Black-owned company and download EatOkra; it's an app that specifically helps you to locate Black-owned restaurants. Dope.
2. Virtual Cooking Classes
Even with the COVID-19 vaccine, folks are still gonna have to wear masks and a lot of companies are still going to require their employees to telecommute. You know what this means, right? Zoom is gonna be here to stay for quite some time. If one of the things that you promised yourself was you were going to be more health-conscious and that you were going to save more money in 2021, why not sign up for some virtual cooking classes? If you get a friend to join in with you, they can actually be a lot of fun and make you quite the at-home chef by the time 2022 rolls around. For a list of some of the best online cooking classes, click here, here and here.
3. “Other Oils”
If you're someone who cooks with olive oil, good for you. Not only is it rich in oleic acid (which helps to keep bodily inflammation down) and antioxidants, it's the kind of oil that helps to reduce your chances of having a stroke. Plus, olive oil contains antibacterial and anti-cancer properties, and it has the ability to keep your blood pressure low and keep your blood vessels healthy and strong.
If you want to add a few other oils to your cooking collection, 2021 would be the year to do it because different kinds of oils are another thing that's going to be pretty popular. For instance, pumpkin seed oil can help to put you into a good mood while also providing your hair with natural sheen. Walnut oil works to improve both your blood sugar as well as your cholesterol levels. Sunflower seed oil promotes heart health, improves digestion and strengthens your immune system. Avocado oil contains the antioxidant lutein which is great for your eyes and contains properties that are good for your skin. Sesame oil is also loaded with antioxidants, has nutrients that can protect your skin from harmful UV rays, it helps to reduce your stress levels and, if you use it for oil pulling, it can work to maintain oral health too.
4. Sugar Alternatives
Personally, I don't know too many people who don't have some sort of a sweet tooth, even if it's just every once in a while. Problem is, between the high caloric count and the fact that consuming too much sugar can lead to things like bodily inflammation, high blood pressure and diabetes, refined sugar is something that you should keep to a bare minimum. That's the bad news. The good news is another popular food trend for 2021 is sugar alternatives. What are those? They're ways to make your food sweet without all of the drama that comes with white sugar. Some that top the list include honey, coconut sugar, monk fruit extracts (sweeteners that are made from fruit), maple syrup and molasses. The cool thing about alternatives like these is they contain more nutrients while still being able to appease your desire for something sweet. Try some in your recipes. Let us know how they go.
5. Fruit Jerky
What the heck is fruit jerky? Think of it as being similar to the Fruit Roll-Ups that a lot of us used to snack on as kids, only it doesn't come with all of the extra preservatives. While I never really thought of it as being a "jerky" before, when I did a little research on this, I realized that it's basically dried fruit that is stretched out. For instance, I really like mango jerky. Anyway, it's a huge food trend in the upcoming year and it is something that you can make from the comfort and convenience of your own home. By the way, some people call them "fruit leathers". Anyway, you can get tips on how to make your own here or you can find some at your local health food store.
6. Spiked Kombucha
I'm gonna be honest, I can take or leave kombucha. If you've never had it before, the long-short of it is, that it's fermented tea. The reason why a lot of people like it is because it has some pretty impressive health benefits including the fact that it's high in antioxidants and probiotics, and the acetic acid in it is able to kill bad bacteria that may be residing in your gut (your gut is where 80 percent of your immune system is, so that's a good thing), and consuming it can help to lower your type 2 diabetes and heart disease risk.
While kombucha has been all the rage for health enthusiasts for a few years now, for the next several months, it's gonna be all about spiked kombucha. In many ways, it's similar to hard seltzer because it's a drink that has a low amount of alcohol content. Anyway, if this is something that you'd like to try, some spiked kombucha brands to consider trying to include June Shine Hard Kombucha, Loona Bay Booch, and Jiant Kombucha.
7. Super Spicy Stuff
If you're someone who has a taste for spicy foods, 2021 is definitely gonna be your year because something that you're gonna see pop up more on restaurant menus and food blogs are meals that have more than a little bit of a kick. The great thing about this particular trend is there are several benefits that come with adding ingredients like chili peppers, turmeric, cumin, ginger, and garlic to your recipes. Spices like these are able to increase your metabolism, help to kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, fight off cancer cells and they can even help to ease depression-related symptoms (thanks to the component capsaicin which can help to give your endorphin levels a boost). So, if spicy is your thing, have at it (in complete moderation, of course).
8. Coffee-Flavored Eats
If you're looking for something that will give you more energy, make you more attentive, help to burn body fat, provide you with a good amount of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus (even a little bit of calcium), and even help to decrease your mortality rate, coffee is able to do that. Keeping all of this in mind, something else that will be a big trend for a while is not just having a cup of java but eating foods that taste like coffee too. So, if you adore the taste of coffee, the next time that you're in the store, be on the look out for items like coffee milk, coffee yogurt, espresso vinegar, coffee shortbread and even coffee spreads. Now, more than ever, stuff like this will be so much easier to find.
9. Comfort Food Breakfasts
Since 2021 will still have a lot of us working from home and our kids doing school online, it actually makes a lot of sense that breakfast would be a big food trend. Not only is breakfast still considered to be the most important meal of the day, but now that you're not rushing to get to the office or to school, you have more time to make some pancakes, French toast or a loaded omelet. While it's important to not indulge in these kinds of foods every single day (certain foods can really pile up when it comes to calories), setting aside a weekday to have a comfort food breakfast can give you one more thing to look forward to every week.
10. Fermenting and Canning
Pickles. Miso. Sauerkraut. Yogurt. Sourdough bread. These are just a handful examples of fermented foods. The reason why they are so good for you is because they're rich in probiotic bacteria (good bacteria). Also, since 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut, they are foods that can keep your immune system and overall health in great shape. So, definitely make sure to put more of these on your grocery list.
Also, since canning (a method that helps you to preserve foods for a longer period of time) is also a huge 2021 trend, how about learning how to pickle some of your own veggies from the comfort and convenience of your own home?
11. Farmers Markets
Growing up, it was fairly common for my family to go to our local farmers market, at least a couple of times a month. All these years later, it's still something that I enjoy doing. Not only can you find some pretty amazing-looking produce at a super cost-effective price, there are other benefits that come from going the local route too. The food is organic (which means it tastes better and is more nutritional). And, it's one of the best ways to support your community; more specifically, your local farmers. If you'd like a bit more of a breakdown on why going to a Farmers Market on a consistent basis in 2021 is one of the best decisions that you could make for the sake of your overall health and well-being, Mohammad Modarres's right-at-six-minutes TED Talk will be sure to convince you. Check it out here.
Like I said earlier, taking the precautions that we did in 2020 to keep ourselves safe aren't going to be letting up any time soon. So, whether your city still hasn't opened up its restaurants or you're just not ready to eat inside of any of 'em yet, remember that there is always takeout. Before you order, 1) try and go with one of the Black-owned restaurants that we touched on; 2) read "10 Safety Practices For Ordering Takeout (During A Pandemic)" and 3) definitely invest in an air fryer. Nothing warms up day-old fries quite like it will, plus air frying is another food trend for 2021. Eat up and enjoy, y'all!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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