The hottest food trend right now is actually decades old: hippie ingredients and recipes that hark back to the ’70s.
Right now, vegan restaurants, cold-pressed coffee cafes, juice bars and pop-up raw food delis are Instagram-worthy hotspots, and it's become trendy (again) to care about what you’re eating and where it’s come from.
Much like with fashion, food trends are cyclical, and we are once again moving away from fast and processed foods, as many of our parents did in the ’70s. The New York Times recently reported that "the hippies have won," and they certainly weren't referring to the recent U.S. election. Staple foods of the hippie era are back in a big way – think turmeric, brown rice and flax seeds – and buzzwords like "plant-based," "organic," "wholefoods" and "natural" are seeing a resurgence. The new emphasis is on natural produce and convenience has given way to respecting one’s body and the environment.
For most of us, though, this is a whole new territory, and we're more at home heating up leftover pizza than whipping up our own Buddha bowls and bliss balls (what!?) Don't worry though, because we're going to help you introduce these healthy ingredients into your existing diet in a low-stress way.
So, without further ado, here are 10 hippie ingredients you should be trying out right now:
While the original hippies may have used turmeric to tie-dye T-shirts rather than flavor food, we can still give them some credit, because turmeric is the latest on the elite list of superfoods.
Curcumin, the active constituent in turmeric, is incredibly beneficial to the body, acting as a powerful anti-everything: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-fungal and antihistamine, to name just a few! Once relegated to pre-packaged curry powders, turmeric is now a common ingredient in its own right.
How to use turmeric:
There is no limit to the ways in which turmeric can be incorporated into your diet, so feel free to get creative! Turmeric lends itself well to savory dishes, so try adding it to a frittata; spice up your favorite rice or chicken dish; toss with roasted vegetables or stir through soups. For a kick of color and flavor, add it to your smoothies and fresh juices or ward off winter colds by mixing it with hot water, ginger and honey or cinnamon and warm milk.
Fresh or dried, it can be found in most supermarkets, produce and specialty health food stores.
Peace, love and... seeds. While the hippies favored many types of seeds, flax seeds were – and still are – a popular variety.
Also known as linseeds, flax seeds are the richest source of an omega-3 essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA). If you want healthy hair, skin and nails – and who among us doesn't!? – you should be adding this super-healthy ingredient to your diet.
On top of providing a healthy dose of good fat, flax seeds are also packed with fiber, which helps to keep you fuller for longer and is great for your gut. Whole flax seeds often pass through undigested, so ground flax seeds are not only more beneficial for you but also easier to use.
How to use flax seeds:
Look for "ground flaxseed," "flax meal" or "milled flaxseed" in the flour/grain aisle of any supermarket. Incorporating flax seeds into your diet is easy: add a tablespoon or two to smoothies, porridge, cereal, granola bars or anything you're baking.
You read "Buddha bowls" above and were intrigued, right? If you haven’t already searched #buddhabowl on Instagram, here’s the goods: Buddha bowls are crammed with every hippie food you can imagine.
Buddha bowls are a powerhouse of nutrients from every nut, seed, vegetable, bean and grain you can imagine, all meticulously diced, sliced and neatly arranged. Think of buddha bowls as the ultimate new-age hippie comfort food.
Brown rice is a staple in Buddha bowls, much like it was in the ’70s, because it's less refined than white rice and retains more nutrients. Rich in manganese, selenium and B-vitamins, brown rice is also a good source of protein.
How to use brown rice:
Not only are supermarkets stocking it, but restaurants and even some fast food chains are offering brown rice as an option on their menus. Simply substitute white for brown rice; it couldn’t be easier. And if you’re game, give your own Buddha bowl a go.
Dates were big in the ’70s, and they’re big now. In the hippie generation of old, they were a core ingredient in what was touted as the hottest appetizer of the ’70s – "devils on horseback," or dates wrapped in bacon – but these days they're having a resurgence as health organizations worldwide are placing an emphasis on reducing refined sugar consumption.
Natural sweeteners like dates can replace sugar in baking and help to curb sugar cravings. Dates are nutrient-dense, giving you a healthy dose of potassium and magnesium while still providing a sweet fix.
How to use dates:
Most supermarkets and produce stores stock fresh and dried dates. Dates can be eaten on their own or with a handful of nuts; they can also be added to smoothies or salads and go well in hearty meat dishes.
If you want to go the extra mile, bust out devils on horseback as a retro snack the next time you have your mates around.
Sprouts can basically be considered synonymous with the ’70s. Featuring heavily in everything from sandwiches to salads and even soups, sprouts were considered a somewhat magical food. And they are.
Many of us are aware that seeds and beans are good for us, but it's less well-known that the sprouts they produce are, too. Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins A, B and especially C.
How to use sprouts:
Widely available in supermarkets and produce stores, it's important sprouts are eaten fresh. They can be used in place of – or in addition to – lettuce; as a garnish in soups, stir-fries or curries; or as part of a raw vege snacking platter.
The hippies were all about seeking out new experiences, and that included the culinary realm. Fruit and meat were commonly paired together, but the addition of spices like ginger set recipes apart from the usual fare.
Once considered "oriental" by your racist Nan, ginger is now a common commodity in the West. Ginger is great for digestion; helping to relieve bloating, gas, nausea and cramps.
How to use ginger:
Ginger root can be found in the fresh produce section of most supermarkets, while ground ginger is readily stocked with other dried herbs and spices.
Fresh ginger can be grated into soups or stir-frys, or added to fresh juices for a powerful zing! Because it's thought to help boost immunity, a slice of fresh ginger can be added to any hot brew, too: try it with green tea or a hot lemon and honey.
Ground ginger can be added to baking and is versatile in both sweet and savory dishes, working well with ingredients like apples, pears, chicken and pork.
Beans were a staple in the hippie diet. They're cheap, convenient and packed with protein, iron and B-vitamins, making them an obvious choice for our plant-based pals and for hippies and non-hippies alike.
Despite their unsexy reputation, beans really are an ideal food. They're considered good for your heart and help lower cholesterol levels.
How to use beans:
Widely available in supermarkets in fresh, frozen, packed or canned form, there are a huge variety to choose from: black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), you name it!
Beans are good in soups or stews, and there are plenty of great recipes for bean dips online. You may find you can cut down on your meat consumption or make your meals stretch further by replacing meat with beans or adding them to bulk up serves. Try making nachos or burritos with beans instead of meat, for example.
The original hippie food movement saw a shift away from meat and animal products towards plant-based food and drink, which bought rise to milk alternatives. In our climate- and animal welfare-conscious times, non-dairy milks have never been more relevant.
Soy and rice milk were popular and are still common substitutes for cow’s milk; however, there are now no limits to the varieties of non-dairy milks available. From coconut milk to almond milk to oat milk, there isn’t a nut, seed, grain or legume which can’t be "milked."
Non-dairy milks have become increasingly popular for being allergy-, animal- and environmentally-friendly. High in protein, calcium, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and low in sugar, they are also really good for you.
How to use non-dairy milks:
Soy, rice, oat, coconut and almond milks are stocked in most long-life milk sections in supermarkets, or can be purchased fresh from specialty health food stores.
Also, with recipes and instructional videos readily available on the internet, it’s relatively easy to make your own. Use it in the same way you'd use dairy milk: on cereal, in smoothies and, so long as you've got the right recipe, in baking.
Barley made up a big chunk of the hippie diet, mostly in the form of beer. While it's still used to make brews, barley is a healthy wholegrain and is becoming more popular as a food source.
Giving you a good dose of selenium, manganese and fiber, barley is nutrient-dense and can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce sweet cravings.
How to use barley:
To get the best benefit from barley, it’s ideal to buy hulled barley grains and soak them before cooking. This isn’t going to suit the time-poor, though, so pearled barley, while more refined, is a good option: it cooks faster and is readily available in supermarkets.
Use barley in place of oats to make porridge, add it to cereal or use it in place of brown rice. It also makes a great addition to any soup.
The hippies were nuts about almonds (sorry). Sliced or slivered, they were the go-to garnish, and no dish – sweet or savory – was spared.
Almonds have become increasingly popular in recent times due to the rise of gluten-free, paleo and raw diets in particular. Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E and riboflavin (B2), both of which can help to reduce the physical and neurological signs of aging.
How to use almonds:
Almonds are everywhere: from almond milk to almond meal, they have now become the go-to alternative to dairy, and almond is the new peanut when it comes to nut butters now.
The easiest way to eat almonds is by grabbing a handful and snacking on them raw. Try to avoid them roasted, salted or sweetened, as they will have lost most of their nutritional value in the process. Channel your inner hippie and add them sliced or slivered to salads, cereal or smoothies.
Now check out our exploration of the gentrification of soul food.