Health and wellness is a hot topic; and there seems to be plenty of trends in the spotlight shaping the way we eat, play, live and shop.
Raw cafes, Paleo cafes and health bars have cropped up all over South-East Queensland, while new superfoods are being added to the list quicker than health addicts can get the chia seeds out of their teeth. ‘Healthies’ are the new ‘selfies’ on social media channels, with those having the best bums or green smoothie recipes amassing the most followers.
Raw food advocate, Kristie Ord opened 48 Degrees Raw Café inside Genesis Fitness Windsor at the end of 2013. The café holds steadfast to the raw food approach, which focuses on fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, nuts, grains and natural fats and fresh whole food not heated above 48 degrees in order to preserve the nutritional content. Followers say the diet can boost the immune system, stabilize hormones and aid with digestion.
And, it’s a diet that Kristie Ord says changed her life.
“Two years ago I was constantly unwell,” she says. “I suffered from repeated bouts of chronic bronchitis and irritable bowel syndrome. I quit my job in hospitality to focus on getting better and discovered the raw food diet.”
Two years on, Kristie is a changed woman. She has a clean bill of health, and is now a qualified holistic health coach with a mission to teach others the benefits of a raw food diet through workshops and healthy meal options dished up at her popular café.
29 year-old Dwayne Martens has turned his passion into a multi-million dollar business. Heading up distribution business Amazonia, Dwayne imports tonnes of fair trade Acai berries throughout Australia and five overseas countries.
Growing up in a farm in South Africa, he started the business in Fremantle after buying an array of fruit from a Brazilian farm. The fruit went bad, but he was introduced to Acai and started selling it at the Fremantle markets. Now he sells it in frozen and dried forms to cafes and businesses including Coco Bliss in Bulimba.
Dwayne was originally drawn to the product for its fair-trade sustainability; and this was how he marketed it. His earnings were going directly to the local Brazilian communities, and helping to preserve thousands of acres of Acai rainforest in the Amazon. But it wasn’t until he became more aware of its incredible nutritional value that the product really took off.
“People are really into their nutritionally dense foods at the moment – and the reason for that is obvious; you feel better when you’re nourished. I believe people are becoming a lot more aware of themselves and how the food they eat affects every aspect of their lives for better or for worse.”
And he has big dreams for the future of Amazonia.
"Amazonia will become one of the worlds largest food suppliers with a number of brands under its banner. We also one day will look at providing a number of natural retreats around the world and build and link fully sustainable communities. I dream big!"
Brisbane-based wellness warrior Valeria Ramirez has amassed more than 10,000 followers on Instagram alone. The personal trainer and holistic health coach offers healthy living tips and recipes via her blog, The Well Nest.
Valeria follows a Paleo-esque diet – a diet largely based upon eating wholesome foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have followed in the Paleolithic era - by avoiding processed foods and refined sugar and eating lots of whole foods and lean protein. The diet has a massive following among the Cross-Fit collective, with varying levels of application and cafes dedicated to a purely Paleo way of life. But for Valeria, it’s all about achieving balance.
“People have a lot of misconceptions about Paleo, thinking that they have to eat wild animals and no carbohydrates. It’s really about eating how we were designed to eat before food companies came along. However, I do think everything in moderation is fine. Any food or exercise that gets people motivated and moving is a winner for me.”
The busy mum began her passion for wellness as an attempt to escape the 9 to 5 rat race.
"In my quest for health and happiness I endured countless yo-yo diets, quick fixes, detoxes, shakes and gimmicks. Needless to say, none of them worked," she says.
"As a busy mama I’m all about express, do anywhere fitness. I don’t have time to chisel my physique at the gym or spend hours in the kitchen preparing boring meals to sustain my training. I’m not an athlete, or a body builder."
"I founded The Well Nest in 2011 and it has now grown to a sizeable supportive community connecting people with inspiration and simple ideas to create their version of healthy."
She believes that 'wellness' as a trend has grown out of confusion and contradictory information offered from health professionals and everyday people taking the matters into their own hands.
"There is a huge blog movement lead by everyday people that have made a commitment to their health. They look great, they’re always happy and their positivity is infectious. And lets face it, who doesn’t want to look and feel great? These wellness warriors are our new role models that happily share their real experiences with the general public. We are happy show that we are not perfect, and often have bad days, but there are a mere dot in the great scheme of things. People appreciate honesty and can connect with that."
"Health and wellness is such a personal thing, but sometimes it’s nice to compare notes, be inspired and feel like you belong somewhere."
Whatever health trend it is; ‘health and wellness’ seems to be sticking around - and one to invest in in 2014.