Hi! I’m Erin.

Welcome to my blog, Well & Free. I'm on the path toward balance of the body, mind & space. I want to share my journey with you through blog posts about wellness, organization & personal growth. Thanks for being here!

7 Health & Wellness Trends to Explore in 2019

7 Health & Wellness Trends to Explore in 2019

Each year many trends come and go (that’s why they’re called “trends,” after all!), especially in the health and wellness world, where there are so many conflicting opinions, diets, fads and gadgets.

To help you sift through all the nonsense this year, I’ve done some research and narrowed it down to 7 of the biggest health and wellness trends that could be worth exploring. And hey, each person is unique so if a trend doesn’t jive with you, it doesn’t mean you have to commit to it! What makes your health and vitality sustainable is narrowing in on a lifestyle that works for you, regardless of what others say.

So here are 7 of the trendiest ideas in health and wellness — covering activities, diets, foods and beverages — that could help you accomplish your goals and feel great in 2019:

1. Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a crowd-pleaser when it comes to a form of relaxation that simultaneously detoxifies the body. Some popular forms of this therapy include saunas and steam rooms, swimming, floatation therapy, contrast showers (alternating from hot and cold water), the polar bear dip, and hot springs. Inside and out, water is an incredibly healing natural resource that helps flush out toxins, heal the body and calm the senses.

Start small by incorporating contrast showers into your morning routine to get your circulation flowing and boost your energy. At the end of your regular shower, alternate between hot and cold water (as extreme as you can handle without hurting your skin) three times for 30 seconds each — for a total of 3 minutes. It would look like this: starting with warm water, change it to cold for 30 seconds, then hot for 30 seconds, then cold again, and so on until you end with the third round of cold water before turning off the shower.

2. Combining Travel & Exercise

These days people are looking for unique travel experiences that incorporate history, time with a local, fitness, and delicious local food. With tools like Airbnb’s “Experiences,” it’s completely possible to combine all of these wants into one affordable outing.

On our trip to Italy this fall we booked an Airbnb experience in almost every destination we stayed at. The guided bike tour we did in Rome was amongst our favourites. With a great guide, two hours of cycling, bits of history, local foods and a great way to see a huge city in a small timeframe…  we were really impressed! For your next trip, or even to be a tourist in your own city, these experiences are worth checking out. 

3. Healthy Mocktails

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, sensitive to alcohol or just health-conscious, attending or even hosting parties where alcohol is served can leave you feeling left out. With more and more people being conscious of the amount of sugar and other stimulants ingested, searches for healthy non-alcoholic cocktails are on the rise, with ingredients like fresh fruit, herbs, herbal teas and kombucha. Here’s a couple recipes to try for yourself:

4. The “Pegan” Diet

The Pegan diet is the best of both worlds between the vegan and Paleo diets. The Pegan diet is backed by Mark Hyman, a renowned functional medicine doctor and author of Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?.

 The vegan diet excludes all meat and animal bi-products and ideally incorporates a variety of whole, natural foods. The very popular Paleo diet “is based on the idea that our bodies do best when fueled by foods that existed during the Paleolithic era, before agriculture came along 10,000 or so years ago.” This diet excludes sugars (except fruit and occasionally honey), grains, dairy, legumes or beans. It does, however, include some non-starchy vegetables and some starchy root vegetables, minimal fruit, nuts and seeds.

So, what does the ideal Pegan diet look like? No meat or animal foods, grains, beans, legumes or sugar — and lots of vegetables, a small amount of fruit, as well as nuts and seeds. It’s important to note that this diet can be extreme, especially for someone who has been eating a fair amount of animal products, grains and sugar for some time. The best approach would be to slowly cut back on all of these foods and trade them for plenty of vegetables and plant-based sources of protein like organic tofu and raw nuts. You can read more about this diet in Mark Hyman’s article on Mind Body Green.

5.  Ayurveda

Ayurveda is one of the oldest mind-body health systems, also called the “science of life” (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). Ayurveda uses two main guiding principles: the interconnectivity of the mind and body, and the most powerful tool to heal the body being the mind. The basic components of Ayurveda are regular meditation, a healthy diet that incorporates minimal raw foods, plenty of colour and the six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent), mindful eating habits (eating only when hungry and until satiated, sitting to eat without stimulation like TV, eating slowly and chewing well, and sipping hot water with ginger throughout the day), moderate exercise, a daily oil massage, detoxifying herbs, abundant quality sleep and time in nature.

Another important component of Ayurveda is your “dosha,” also called your “mind-body type,” of which there are three: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The three doshas are each made up of a balance of space, air, fire, water and earth. There are online quizzes available to help you determine what your dosha is, so that you can tailor your diet and lifestyle to what best suits that dosha. For example, someone with the Pitta dosha — one that is hot, sharp, sour and pungeant — would want to balance themselves by eating foods that are primarily cooling, sweet, bitter and astringent such as cucumber, watermelon, radishes and sweet potatoes. You can learn more here.

6. Intermittent Fasting

For some time now, intermittent fasting has been on the rise as a manageable and easy way to give the digestion a rest, detoxify the body and shed excess weight and bloating. There are different variations and it’s best to choose the one that agrees with your schedule and your body. There’s the 16-hour fasting period, typically with no eating between 8pm and 12pm the following day, or the 24-hour fasting period — either of which can be done 2–3 times per week. There are also more extreme forms of fasting, up to 10 days long!

The 16-hour fast is a fairly safe introduction, though before any form of fasting is performed, it is best to consult with your health care practitioner to make sure that it’s suitable for you (those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, anemic, underweight, have low blood sugar or cancer should avoid fasting). There aren’t any strict rules with fasting, per se. For example, you can incorporate herbal teas, juices or bullet coffee in the morning before your “break-the-fast” meal. Most importantly, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help flush out any toxins in your body, and ensure that your first meal at the end of your fasting window is clean and nutrient-dense.

7. Foods for Brain Health

Finally, while health of all parts of the body is important, brain health is a particularly trendy topic this year. Between games that keep the brain sharp and foods that improve focus, there are an abundance of tools at our disposal. Here I have highlighted some important nutrients for brain health that are worth incorporating into your regimen: 

  • Essential fatty acids in fish and fish oil, nuts, seeds, and cold-pressed vegetable oils

  • Berries — also a good source of antioxidants

  • The medicinal mushroom Lion’s Mane

  • Herbal teas such as ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, St. John’s wort, ginseng and yerba mate

All of the above brain food suggestions can likely be found at your local health food store.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and I wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

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