How to Spot and Avoid Dangerous Wellness Fads

Trends come and go. Whether it is fashion or tv, chances are what is popular now won’t be popular long-term. And the same goes for health. From wellness retreats to self-care, we have turned being healthy into something trending and a lifestyle to aspire to.

While this can be inspirational, it can also be daunting. As a functional medicine practitioner, my job for over a decade now has been to study and learn about each emerging trend to better know how to help each one of my patient’s health. And I have seen firsthand how these trends can be either beneficial or detrimental.

When to participate

Part of the reason wellness trends come and go is because we are continuously learning more about health and our own physiology. One thing that has been shown and continues to be proven through research, is that everyone’s health case is unique and therefore, not every fad is going to be worth implementing.

Knowing which fads to adopt and which ones to pass on is going to be a very personal decision that is going to take into account a variety of factors including budget, health case, and daily routine. There is no harm in trying out something to see if it benefits you. Listening to your body is going to be essential when trying out a new wellness fad to determine if something is right for you or if you need to skip it. If you notice positive changes and feel better, then great! Keep going.

If you want more definitive answers on whether something will benefit your health or not, work with a functional medicine practitioner who can run labs and is trained to make recommendations on what foods, diets, supplements, or lifestyle routines that will optimize your personal health.

What to look out for

It’s one thing to be passionate about health, but when that passion turns into an obsession it can become very unhealthy. Hyper-focusing on what you are eating, how much you are working out, or any other aspect of health can turn into orthorexia – an obsession that takes over your daily life, consuming your every thought and impacting your stress levels.

This is the antithesis of wellness. The intention about any of these fads is not about punishing yourself. Instead, they should be used as a way to love your body enough to take care of it. You can’t heal a body you hate. If any wellness trend is turning into an unhealthy obsession for you, feels out of balance, puts you in debt, or causes fear relating to food or about ‘’breaking the rules,’’ it’s time to stop. It is not the right trend for you.

Exciting trends on the horizon

There are a few wellness trends that are on the rise that have caught my eye for their research-backed health benefits and promise for sustainability over time. These are what I am most looking forward to seeing gain more traction in the wellness world.

1. Cellular Anti-Aging

For years when it came to anti-aging, topical creams were the only solution to avoid wrinkles and maintain a youthful appearance. But exciting research is emerging on how to press pause on the aging process by supporting your cellular health. By feeding your cells – the building blocks of your organs, including the largest one, your skin – the nutrients they need to stay healthy, your skin will reap the benefits. High quality supplements, like mindbodygreen’s nr+, harness these nutrients into a once-a-day capsule.

2. Ketogenic diet 2.0: Clean Keto

This high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet gained steam over the last couple years and doesn’t look like it is slowing down anytime soon. With benefits like weight loss, restored energy, stabilized blood sugar, enhanced cognitive function, and more, people are continuing to hop on the keto train. My book Ketotarian, is a plant-based twist on a conventional meat- and dairy-heavy ketogenic diet and opens the door to a whole new group of people looking to reap the benefits of this way of eating. Check out what a day in the life of ketotarian eating looks like in my article on the subject.

3. Intermittent fasting

The practice of intermittent fasting has been around for a while but is a wellness tool that has also been growing in popularity. It has been shown to have some incredible health benefits including reduced inflammation and increased cellular health due to its ability to enhance autophagy – your cell’s self-cleaning process. However, since this requires not eating for long periods of time, it can be triggering for certain individuals who struggle with anorexia or other negative relationships with food. Here is my full guide on the different ways to intermittent fast.

4. Plant-based alternatives

People are trading their traditional beef patties for more environmentally friendly options. Brands like Beyond the Meat are elevating what it means to be vegan. Gone are the days of soy-based meat alternatives, and instead these brands are leaning into nutrient-dense ingredients like pea protein and beets that not only mimic the texture of traditional beef but also rival the flavor of your conventional burger.

5. Adaptogens

All over Los Angeles and New York you will cafes and health food spots with adaptogen infused lattes, treats and beauty products, but what are they? Adaptogens encompass a wide variety of different natural medicines from all corners of the globe that have a few things in common: They are safe and they have a balancing effect on something called the hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine axis. This is the delicate dance between your brain and hormone system. Many people are struggling with hormone problems, weight gain, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Adaptogens can be a tool to regulate this master control system of our body. Adaptogens are also anti-inflammatory. I am so excited about the research surrounding adaptogens and other ways to calm stress and inflammation that I put together Calm Yourself, a supplement pack that provides synergistic support of adaptogens and other plant compounds to do just that.

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