When you think that Australia brought us Kayla Itsines, glam sportswear and a ton of new exciting workouts, it’s pretty hard to ignore this faraway sunshine land as a mecca for health trends. Former Londoner and Sydney resident Carolina Are gives us her top health food trends from Down Under.
Especially if you’re in Queensland or in Sydney’s Easter Suburbs (think Bondi or Coogee Beach) it’s almost impossible to step out without seeing a bar or a cafe whipping up some yummy take on a smoothie bowl. The main streets around Coogee Beach, a mecca for British immigrants, have about ten bowl joints within five minutes’ walking distance from each other!
Unlike their London counterparts, Aussie bowls are quite generous in size, come in all sorts of varieties and are generally gluten and dairy free. Aside from the traditional açai, usually topped with fresh fruit and raw granola, professional açai bowl makers like Coco Bliss Collective have come up with about 10 different bowl options served all over Australia. Our favourites are the Mango Weiss, topped with mango cheeks wrapping the bowl almost like rose petals, or “nice cream” bowls, using frozen fruit like pitaya or banana to make smoothie bowls with an ice cream texture and topped with raw chocolate or desserts. Which brings us to the next trend…
Where to find these in the UK: Bodyism in Notting Hill offers a choice of four açai bowl to get your Bondi on.
A raw food diet is about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked meals. Although not everybody who eats raw decides to give up on cooking completely, more and more Aussies are going at least part raw, while cafés and restaurants providing yummy raw recipes grow day by day. Most health bloggers or influencers are raving about these easy to make, Insta-worthy raw food options.
According to nutritionists, eating raw foods doesn’t only ease digestion but also helps you make the most out of your meals’ antioxidants and vitamins. Plus, while they are not a guarantee to lose weight, raw foods make you feel fuller thanks to consuming fiber and nutrients in their full strengths, helping you curb cravings and eat less overall.
Where to find these in the UK: Planet Organic have a whole raw foods section both in store and online, while the Wild Food Café in Covent Garden exclusively cooks raw meals and provides recipes and cooking classes to get started.
Nutrionist made ready meals
Catering for busy Sydney-siders who still care about looking after their diet, a wave of nutritionist-approved healthy ready meals is taking the state capital of New South Wales by storm.
Companies like Eat Fit Food make meals packed with all the nutrients you need and tailor them to your needs, from vegan to gluten free, still keeping them super yummy. Think pumpkin gratin or raw granola with cashew milk, delivered to your door in the morning ready for breakfast or to be taken to the office.
Most services grow vegetables and prepare meals at their own farms or, like The Cook’s Grocer, they partner up with celebrity chefs from Sydney’s best restaurants. Although they’re a bit on the pricy side (three meals for $99 for The Cook’s Grocer and starting at $375 a week for an Eat Fit Food plan), they target high-income earner busy bees who benefit from not having to worry about cooking after hours spent at their desk.
Coconut Milk Desserts
Aside from tasting absolutely yummy, coconut milk helps your immune system and has been this year’s revelation in terms of desserts. From soft serve to real Italian ice cream, Sydney vegans have been having a ball hopping from Newtown’s Gelato Blue to Soul Burger’s coconut milk thickshakes – and these are only a couple of Sydney’s vegan joints that don’t make you miss the real thing.
Watch out however: if it’s weight loss you’re after, it’s still worth noting that coconut milk is high in fat. The secret of its success stands in its ability to make desserts taste and feel as indulgent as their dairy counterparts, making the switch to a dairy-free diet less painful on your cheat day!
Where to find these in the UK: Coconut Milk desserts still have to blow up in the UK, but Hanbury Street’s The Canvas Café makes dairy-free milkshakes with a coconut milk base. Yum!
Kombucha and fermented food and drink
Sydney is all about your guts right now and fermented food and kombucha are all the rage when it comes to looking after your gut’s health.
Kombucha is a tasty fermented tea-based sparkling drink that tastes like cider and helps your body detox. The staff of health news empire I Quit Sugar swear by it, stating that the beverage preserves nutrients and breaks them down into an easily digestible form while providing with vitamin B and an abundance of bacteria and yeast, to bring your gut flora back to a healthy balance.
So why bother about your gut? According to I Quit Sugar a healthy gut flora improves digestion, fights candida overgrowth, improves mental clarity and stabilises your mood. Kombucha is slowly becoming everyone’s choice of drink replacing alcohol and brands like Remedy Kombucha and Kombucha Zest are the new bottled drinks being stored in juice bars.
Along with Kombucha, fermented food such as sauerkraut and other vegetables are popping up in each Sydney supermarket. Health-conscious foodies love them because fermenting converts sugars into cellular energy and lactic acid, which eases digestion while enhancing nutrients.
Although jars of fermented food might look slightly odd and not super-appetising, they make a great work lunch and are actually a fresh and different alternative to your everyday boring salad.
Where to find these in the UK: Equinox Kombucha brew this tasty drink here in the UK.
Aussie-wide lifestyle gurus The Urban List predict that a rainbow of plant-based lattes will take over our Insta feed in 2017, from blue majik lattes (a type of algae) to red velvet. Meanwhile, turmeric lattes are what’s hot in Sydney at the moment.
Turmeric is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and memory improvement powers and, in a latte, it’s a caffeine-free spicy alternative to your boring chai. Sydney cafés from Bondi to the City are serving it up in all varieties, while companies like Golden Grind are producing blends of natural, unmodified turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper brew kits for you to brew your own latte at home.
Where to find these in the UK: Sourced Market at St. Pancras International gives you a healthy, caffeine-free turmeric latte before you hop on the Eurostar. Also, if you’re in Fulham you have to stop at Hally’s for a delicious turmeric or matcha latte! They have also just started doing beetroot lattes too!
Words by Carolina Are from Couchsurfer Reviews.