Yearender 2021: As we leave behind 2021, and welcome 2022 in a couple of weeks, it will not be easy to analyse how we fared at health and wellness front this year. While some of us were proud of the lifestyle choices they made by sticking to mostly home-cooked and nutritious food, many of us regretted becoming screen addicts and putting ourselves at a grave risk of many health issues triggered by sedentary lifestyle.
Morning walks and fitness routines were re-introduced in our lives after easing of restrictions, but we continued to stay largely at home managing work, home and our kids’ online classes together with high stress levels.
Wellness trends in 2021 primarily showed how people’s idea of staying fit and healthy shifted in diverse ways – from gymming to yoga and meditation, from rushed eating to mindful eating and from fad diets to sustainable weight loss.
A look at some popular wellness trends that made a lot of waves in 2021:
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1. Mindful eating
Mindful eating is the latest wellness trend that is being embraced by people who have realised the importance of these golden 15-20 minutes that one spends on eating meals staying in the present moment and relishing every bite.
Being mindful of what you are eating makes a great difference in not just making the right food choices but also reduction of stress levels.
“Mindful eating is a conscious awareness of the food and drink that we consume on daily basis. When we are aware of how food makes us feel, we choose the right food,” says nutritionist Preeti Seth, Founder of Pachouli.
“Most of us are physically distancing ourselves from the world and turning to food for companionship. Binge-eating while binge-watching our favourite shows along with minimal physical activity is bound to result in weight gain and none of us want that. It takes more than self-control to avoid overeating,” says Jyotika Diwan, Nutritionist and Diet Advisor.
2. Sustainable weight loss
While they could not step outsides their homes, 2021 gave people an opportunity to choose the food that helped them lose weight over a period of time, instead of quick weight loss diets that did more harm than good.
“One of the major problems with FAD diets is they cause nutritional deficiencies along with major hormonal imbalances which negatively impact hormonal health and metabolism. People are waking up to the fact the FAD diets are quick fixes which can backfire if not adhered to,” says Palki Chopra Dietician & Weight Loss Expert (Nutritious Bites)
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The dietician says that people have found the right food wisdom in their grandmother’s kitchen after navigating through many weight loss plans and are exploring the age-old formulas of a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Having plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, seeds, nuts, legumes and limiting added sugars, saturated fats and processed food can make you lose weight sustainably.
3. Desi superfoods
Moving over broccoli and kale, people are increasingly realising the power of desi superfoods as they are stocking their kitchen with ghee, amla, ragi, makhana, spices and herbs.
“The moment we read the term ‘superfoods’, we immediately imagine broccoli, blueberries, kale, quinoa and olive oil. But, not anymore, because our local Indian traditional foods have been granted the superfood status and are now being sold and valued all over the world. These are ghee, amla, Ragi, makhana, turmeric, jau, curd, spices and jackfruit. Our grandmothers always used each one of these superfoods in their kitchen, but they were forgotten once we embraced the western culture. However, their gaining superfood status all over the world now has helped in boosting their sale all over,” says Sonia Bakshi, Nutritionist & Founder of DtF.
During the unpredictable pandemic times when people were highly stressed and extremely confused about what to do next, millions of people resorted to spiritual practices like yoga. The practice of yoga and meditation is believed to provide clarity to the mind and manage anxiety levels.
“The virus taught us that life can be extremely unpredictable and it is better for us to be prepared for any kind of challenge that may present itself. Meditation has helped many people to improve their mental well-being during lockdown, and social isolation even while they were suffering from risk of personal and financial losses. More and more studies prove to us the importance of practices like yoga in order to improve not only physical health but also our overall wellness quotient. Therefore it is crucial to make meditation part of our everyday life and to be able to reap the benefits of these productive practices during times of crisis,” says renowned Yoga Guru Grand Master Akshar.
5. Intermittent fasting
We saw how Bharti Singh lost oodles of weight with intermittent fasting when she found out she was at risk of diabetes. Intermittent fasting involves different eating patterns where you have cycles between eating and fasting. There are various kinds of intermittent fasting. Under 16:8 method, you fast for 16 hours at a stretch and eat between the window of 8 hours, while in 5:2 method, you eat normal diet for 5 days and go on a strict diet for 2 days.
There are researches that show that the diet helps with insulin resistance, reduces oxidative stress, inflammation and prevents against diseases, says Meghana Pasi, nutrition expert, My Thali program, Arogya World.
“The advantage of intermittent fasting over other fad diets is that it tells you when to eat and not what to eat,” says Pasi.