The Eco Hub’s Canadian Health + Wellness Trends 2018

Health and wellness are not just about the right smoothie or workout anymore, in 2017 we saw a major shift towards more sustainable practices and a federal government dedicated too or at the very least talking about climate change.

We’re sure Intermittent Fasting, Fem Tech, and gut health,  will continue to trend, but for 2018, we’re predicting wellness trends that will benefit both humans and the planet, making the world a better place for all of us. Read more below!

 

#1 THE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

2017 was quite a year; we saw a record number of extreme weather events like monstrous wildfires (Kelowna, Fort McMurray), floods (Calgary, Toronto), hurricanes (Katrina, Sandy), drought (California, Alberta), and loss of glaciers and ice sheets.  Scientific evidence is proving over and over again that climate change is caused primarily by humans using fossil fuels and without a major shift in attitude; it’s only going to get worse.

Climate change is negatively affecting our health. Our food supply is going to take a hit as well!

All of this leads to one simple thing, change needs to happen and it needs to happen now. In 2017, we saw more companies and business moving towards more sustainable and ethical practices.

At the World Ethical Apparel Round Table (WEAR) in Toronto brands big (H&M, the Gap, Lululemon, Eileen Fisher, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Joe Fresh, Sears, Hudson’s Bay Company) and small met to discuss the fashion industry’s impact on climate change and how a move toward more innovative, sustainable and regenerative business models is imperative to the environment and millions of people worldwide.

WEAR founder Kelly Drennan says, “Everybody’s talking about it – retailers, big brands, thrift collectors and even government.”

Brands are also realizing that conscious consumers are smarter than ever and are demanding more from the companies they support.

Governments are also stepping up; the Province of Ontario, for example, will add more than 10,000 acres of land to the Greenbelt by protecting 21 Urban River valleys, Coastal Wetlands and 4 new parcels in Hamilton, Niagara, and Simcoe.

Popular celebs like Julianne Hough have taken zero-waste challenges following the lead of pioneers like Bea Johnson.

 

In 2018, we see The Sustainable Planet being at the top of mind for many, after all, #ThereIsNoPlanetB.

 

#2 MOVING MEDITATION

Let’s face it meditation is hard! In our over-stimulated world just sitting has become almost impossible. But now, more than ever we need to unplug and find ways to connect to the breath.

Studies have shown that connecting to the breath helps to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even extend our lives. One of the most popular moving meditation techniques is the practice of Qigong, which consists of a combination of movement, meditation, and breathing.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor Bodhi Batista echoes this sentiment and adds “It’s only taken about 5000 Years, but qigong (pronounced chee-gong) is set to become the next big thing in the world of health and fitness. With today’s rapid, frenetic pace, more and more people are turning to slower, quieter methods to heal their aching bodies and troubled minds. Essentially, qigong is moving meditation. It’s composed of three components 1. soft flowing body weight movements designed to stimulate the acupuncture meridians and their associated organs. 2. specific breathing patterns and 3 specific visualizations or intention. The appeal of qigong is that is gentle and calming, allowing anyone of any age or fitness level to participate, but also powerful in its ability to heal both the mind and body.”

In addition to his knowledge of QiGong Bondi has created a Moving Meditation Technique called “Zen Stretch Moving Meditation”, he explains “Zen stretch Moving Meditation is the combination of eastern and western philosophies of health and fitness. It’s Composed of 81 isometric (non-moving) muscular contraction performed in a specific sequence. Its design is to facilitate dramatic increases in total body flexibility, increased the range of motion around all joints, as well as developing muscular strength and stability. The western muscular stimulation is paired with deep diaphragmatic breathing know In the east as “beating and drumming the qi” which stimulates digestion and organ massage. Finally, both the breath and the muscular contraction serve to anchor the mind to the present moment, turning the entire workout into a moving meditation. Gym goers and yogis alike will benefit from this well rounded and balanced practice suitable for all fitness levels.”

Sign us up!

 

#3 HOME COOKING+CLOSING THE FOOD LOOP

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photo: Unsplash

More than ever Canadians are looking for ways to eat better and so it’s no surprise that one of the most popular Google searches in 2017, in Canada, was, The Plant-Based Diet, and with Health Canada’s new Food Guide being released any day now, healthy eating and home cooking is on the minds of many.

The Food Guide’s new Guiding Principles focus on eating more nutritious-dense foods and avoiding foods that are filled with harmful fats, sodium, and sugar.

“What is needed is a shift towards a high proportion of plant-based foods, without necessarily excluding animal foods altogether,” the document specifies. “Animal foods such as eggs, fish and other seafood, poultry, lean red meats such [sic] game meats, lower fat milk, and yogurt, as well as cheeses lower in sodium and fat are nutritious ‘everyday’ foods.”

They also talk about the importance of actually cooking at home with family noting that “having meals together can help reinforce positive eating habits and help children develop healthy attitudes towards food. It can also be a way for people to take part in food cultures they did not grow up with.” Sounds good to us!

In the summer of 2017, the Loblaw Food Council – a diverse group of Canadian experts including professional chefs, registered dieticians, academics and Loblaw food experts – met to review internal and industry data and share predictions for what will be hitting kitchen tables next year.

One of those trends is the concept of closing the food loop.

According to Loblaw Food Council member Chef Ned Bell: “Many Canadians are having conversations about how to reduce food waste in their households. Using leftovers to make new and exciting meals throughout the week is one simple thing we can all do at home to help make this challenging issue delicious.”

Loblaw expects to see greater public interest in Grow It Yourself, from backyard beehives and chicken coops, to balcony herb and sprout gardens. Now, that sounds pretty dope to us! (too much?:)

 

#4 GREEN BEAUTY REVOLUTION

The Green Beauty movement is not going anywhere and in fact it’s only gaining steam, it’s now a $13.2 billion industry, and as consumers get savvier about what actually goes into their products; large companies like Nordstrom Canada are also taking a bite out of clean beauty with their new “Natural Beauty Outpost” in 5 locations across Canada.

“Even though we have carried some natural beauty brands in the past in our stores, online and in the spas, we felt this was the best time to pull it all together in a more meaningful way and create a true destination,” said Debbi Hartley-Triesch, Vice President and Divisional Merchandise Manager for Beauty, Nordstrom

“We wanted to give our customers more choices and a bigger assortment with a curated selection to make it easier for them to shop online and in store.”
You can find Canadian brands like RMS Beauty and Plume online and in store.

Plume Founder, Lauren Bilon told us “we are very excited about this partnership with Nordstrom as it marks an important milestone in the green beauty revolution – with recognized, luxury retailers prioritizing clean beauty, it shows the market is shifting from ‘beauty at any cost’ to ‘beauty without sacrifice’,”.

And for the first time ever, we saw an all natural skincare line sign a contest with a major celebrity, Olivia Wilde, “She’s the spark,” said Christina Mace-Turner, the chief executive officer of True Botanicals. “We’re part of a growing number of businesses thinking about sustainable practices and changing the norms in our industry. Olivia completely got what we were doing and it felt like a very natural partnership.”

Along with this continued growth in the market, we foresee that body care will become more popular in 2018 with women treating their bodies, as well as they, treat their face.

 

#5 SLEEP

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2017 was definitely the year of better sleep, and more than ever we are seeing research that proves that a good night’s sleep is crucial to our overall health and well-being.

“Practicing proper sleep hygiene, which is lifestyle and behavioural changes to improve our sleep needs to be incorporated”, says Alanna McGinn, creator of The Good Night Sleep Cleanse™

“Steps like keeping a consistent bedtime, making sure you are getting on average 7-8 hours of sleep per night and keeping tech out of the bedroom is important, but adding other healthy fundamentals to your sleep cleanse, ones that maybe you never considered, could also help you sleep better,” McGinn added.

According to Stats Canada, 43% of men and 55% of women aged 18 to 64 reported trouble going to sleep or staying asleep.

Sleep has, in fact, become serious business in Canada. Brain scientists at the University of Western Ontario and The Brain Mind Institute are in the process of recruiting at least 100,00 people from all over the world for the largest sleep study ever.

“Many of us are working more erratic hours and sleeping less, while the pace of our lives seems to be accelerating,” said Adrian Owen, who is the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at The Brain and Mind Institute at Western and Chief Scientific Officer at Cambridge Brain Sciences.
(now THAT’S a title)

“We know that this sleep disruption affects us in some ways and that some people feel the impact more than others, but there’s surprisingly little research into exactly how our brains deal with these sleep deficits”

Brain researchers are still exploring some of the most basic, and essential, questions about sleep, Owen said: “What specifically happens in different regions of our brains when we sleep or don’t sleep? How much sleep is ‘enough’? Is there a long-term effect on brain health as well as a short-term effect? We all know you shouldn’t drive if you’re too tired — but should you decide to get married, buy a car or design a bridge if you’ve been up half the night? And if there is an impact, is it the same across all ages and jobs or is it different for seniors, young moms, students, shift-workers, equipment operators?
“We have the opportunity in this study to learn far more about the brain’s response to sleep than we have ever had before. And what we learn ultimately has the potential to change how millions of people go about their daily lives.”

Want to enroll, click here.

 

#6 BESPOKE EVERYTHING!

Bespoke subscription boxes for basically everything!Now you can have breakfast delivered right to your door, bespoke skincare, bespoke well, everything.

Subscription boxes are certainly not new to the market but now there is so much more to choose from in categories that range from home goods to crafts to food to self-care to giving back.

Joanna Sheth, the owner of Fenvii out of Calgary says “Whether it’s supporting your local entrepreneur or empowering a group of women across borders, people are now placing a higher priority on giving more thoughtful and meaningful gifts with products that are handcrafted, personalized, and tell a unique story.  On top of that, shopping for gifts can be a stressful experience, especially when life gets busy and it becomes another checkbox on your ever-growing to-do list. Gift giving should be fun. This is why more and more people are turning to thoughtfully curated gift boxes that are designed to celebrate all of life’s most important moments, big or small.”
We agree!

We also saw a kind of rise in Period Shaming (yes this is a thing!) online and with that the rise of tampon subscription. We’re totally on board.

Alyssa Bertram, the Founder of “EASY” a tampon delivery box says, “In my opinion consumers are feeling more and more compelled to choose products based on what feels aligned and often when a brand has curated a selection of well thought out products this is an easy (no pun intended) way to get in touch with these products. I think consumers are more conscious and more aware than ever. They want transparency and products that come highly recommended by those they trust.”

We LOVE THIS, it’s why The Eco Hub exists, to help you find products like these.

Along with boxes, there seems to be a trend toward bespoke skincare, where the products are tailor-made to your skin type. Julie Clarke from Province Apothecary is a master at this, you can visit her in Toronto where she offers the “THE CUSTOM ORGANIC FACIAL”, which begins with a holistic consultation by an aesthetician to determine what your specific skincare needs are. Then you are treated to a divine facial, with your custom blend, that you get to keep, Trust us, this is a MUST!

It’s going to be exciting to see what come next in this category.

 

#7 ZERO WATE LIFESTYLE

BYOB or Bring Your Own Bag (get it?) initiatives are a growing trend in Canada as consumers look for ways to cut back on packaging waste, especially plastic. Research is actually showing that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

World Animal Protection reports that “Plastic waste is littering our oceans and threatening the lives of millions of marine animals. Seals, whales, dolphins, seabirds, fish, crabs and many other animals are dying and becoming sick because of this deadly environmental concern.”

Canadians are hearing this loud and clear. Facts like these are partly responsible for Zero Waste Grocery Stores popping up all over Canada. (Still waiting for one to pop into Toronto).

Bulk giant, Bulk Barn, rolled out their “Reusable Container Program” back in February and since then it’s been “an absolute home run” according to Bulk Barn president Craig Ofield.

Valerie Leloup, the founder and CEO of NU, Ottawa’s’ first Zero Waste Grocer says, “NU is a grocery store, but it is also a platform to educate and raise awareness about waste. Our mission statement says it all: NU is on a mission to eliminate waste and reinvent consumption!”

In Vancouver, Nada, the provinces first zero-waste market sources all their veggies from urban farms, “We think about the food supply chain as a whole and develop long-lasting relationships with our suppliers to tackle these issues not only in our own store but in their businesses too”, says Brianne Miller the founder.

Be on the lookout for more zero-waste stores in Canada Eh!

 

#8 WI-FI FREE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

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After a recent trip to a Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica, where there was limited WiFi, we realized just how important is it to actually unplug.

In fact, we loved it and found it hard to come home and get back on the Social Media bandwagon.

It was so freeing and utterly amazing no to have to worry about what to post when to post it, how many likes is it going to get, the daily stress to keep up with the demands of Instagram is literally making us sick.

CBC’s Market Place did an eye-opening report on cell-phone addiction. They traveled to California to talk to industry insiders about how they created these apps, it’s disturbing!

They use artificial intelligence and neuroscience to help companies hook people with their apps. App creator, Ramsay Brown, who studied neuroscience at the University of Southern California, says it’s all built into the design.

“We’re really living in this new era that we’re not just designing software anymore, we’re designing minds.” SCARY!

A couple of years ago, Intel Security conducted a study, “Digital Detox: Unplugging on Summer Vacation”

The Study found more than half (54 percent) of Canadian participants who intended to unplug from their digital devices on vacation were unable to do so.

A recent study from CAMH shows Ontario teens’ use of smartphones is on the rise, with 16 percent spending five hours or more on social media per day. Many of the teens surveyed reported side-effects that include being less active, having a fear of missing out, anxiety, agitation, withdrawal, and stress.

“Today’s young adults entered their adolescent or adult years with a wide range of social media, apps, videos and other information and entertainment available to them 24/7,” says Dr. Hayley Hamilton, Scientist in CAMH’s Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and co-principal investigator of the CAMH Monitor.

Over the past year, the percentage of people who experienced frequent mental distress days rose significantly, from six percent in 2014 to nearly 10 percent in 2015. Frequent mental distress days are defined as 14 or more days, out of the last 30 days, in which a person rated his or her mental health as not good, which included stress, depression, and problems with emotions. “Generally, frequent mental distress days and self-rated fair or poor mental health have climbed over the last decade, which is concerning,” says Dr. Hamilton.

Do we really need more evince to unplug?

We’ll be sharing tips on how to pick the perfect “unplugged” destination on the blog, be on the lookout for that!

 

#9 ECO-TOURISM

As we become more aware of the ingredients that go into our skincare products, we are also opening our eyes to the suffering of animals at the hands of the global tourism industry. It’s both alarming and saddening, but with more awareness comes more action.

We feel that Eco-Tourism will continue to grow in 2018.

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photo: Unsplash

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The resolution, recognized “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”.

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada defines ecotourism as “a segment of sustainable tourism that offers experiences that enable visitors to discover natural areas while preserving their integrity, and to understand, through interpretation and education, the natural and cultural sense of place. It fosters respect towards the environment, reflects sustainable business practices, creates socio-economic benefits for communities/regions, and recognizes and respects local and indigenous cultures, traditions and values.”

It’s important to note that, like greenwashing, the term “ecotourism” now appears to be used as an advertising ploy by companies who have not really adopted good practices.

It’s key that you do your own research to ensure that the money you are spending is, in fact, going towards sustainable tourism.

We all want a world where wild animals live in the wild where they belong. But one of the biggest barriers to this natural freedom is global tourism.

A study by World Animal Protection reports that ‘up to one-quarter of this trillion dollar industry is driven by demand for wildlife tourism. What most people don’t know is the unacceptable cruelty and abuse of wild animals used in most wildlife activities.

These activities include elephant riding, swimming with captive dolphins, and hugging and posing for photos with lions, tigers or sloths.

Research carried out by the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), commissioned by World Animal Protection, has uncovered global suffering caused to up to 550,000 wild animals by irresponsible tourist attractions.

They compared expert scientific reviews of wildlife tourism venues with more than 50,000 tourist reviews on TripAdvisor. This revealed that 80% of people left positive
reviews for venues that are treating wild animals cruelly.

But this doesn’t mean they don’t care about animals. We know that when people are told about the cruelty behind such activities, most decide not to go.

Most people visit wildlife tourism attractions because they love wild animals and want an authentic wildlife experience.

 

An authentic wildlife tourism experience will not allow contact and interactions between wild animals and tourists.

 

Authentic experiences mean:
never riding a wild animal,
never swimming with a captive wild animal,
never petting, holding, or hugging a wild animal,
never washing a wild animal,
never keeping a wild animal on a chain or leash,
never watching a wild animal dance, play sport, perform
tricks, give massages or paint pictures.

When looking for a sanctuary to visit, keep an eye out for a place with:

professional accreditation,
access to veterinary care,
natural habitats and social groupings for the animals,
restrictions on having direct contact with the animals; allowing the animals every opportunity to behave naturally,
restrictions on public viewing; allowing animals privacy when they want it,
no breeding programs,
a not-for-profit business model,
a good visitor education program about animal welfare and conservation.

 

#10 ETHICAL FASHION

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photo: LNBF

A few years ago, Ethical Fashion was a trend and like most trends, it came and went. But there is some good news on the horizon and we see Ethical Fashion growing in 2018 as consumers become more aware of where their clothes come from!

Canadians buy 80 billion items of clothing every year and toss out about 32 kilos of it yearly and in most cases the items have not been reused or recycled and thanks to the way our clothes are manufactured, when they end up in landfill, they are leaching chemicals and dyes into groundwater, polluting our water sources.

Water is a big issue when it comes to the fashion industry, for example, on average, it takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton t-shirt. That’s enough water for one person for 900 days.

In 2017, we saw major milestones that will continue into 2018.

At Toronto’s Women’s Fashion Week back in April of 2017, ethical fashion made a mark, Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks (Peggy Sue Collection) debuted an exclusively North American Ready-To-Wear Collection that honours the Farmer, the Maker and the Creator. “For without their time-honored skills, knowledge and hard work, there would be no fiber, no fabric, no fashion.”

“When designing the Annual Collection, I focused on three words: Connected, Conscious and Regenerative. I wanted to create luxe fabrics and fashion-forward designs that celebrated Made in Canada, respected the people of our supply chain and envisioned fashion as a sustainable practice. I wanted to show luxury from an ethical perspective.” Says Peggy Sue.

In addition, Canadian Designer Evan Biddell partnered with Value Village, the collection, titled VV by EB or “Value Village by Evan Biddell,” was part of Eco Fashion Week’s 81 lb challenge.

81lbs is the average weight of discarded textiles per North American, per year. The 81lb challenge aims to visualize, rethink and reuse this “waste”.

In 2018, there are some exciting fashion initiatives coming up and if there are any indication, it’s going to be a good year.

Once again we will see the Design Forward Award, Canada’s only Sustainable Fashion Award, this year there are six categories and four for emerging artists – Water, Waste, Detox & labour, plus an Innovation Award and a Global Impact Award. The date is late May, we will certainly keep you in the loop.

Made Inland is a Toronto event that brings over 70 designers together all under one roof and all Made in Canada. Along with great fashion, goers can look forward to demo stations including ones that teach about the benefits of sustainable style.

“Since inception, INLAND has welcomed over 400 unique designers to its seasonal pop-ups. Over 95% of all collections presented at INLAND are hand-made or manufactured in Canada. Our goal is to make it easier to buy better.”

And finally, we will see the retune of the World Ethical Roundtable in September.

A lot of great stuff to look forward too.

Candice

Candice Batista is an award winning Environmental Journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets, where she has used her background in environmental studies and media & communications to produce and report on various environmental and climate issues for primarily television and digital audiences including Huffington Post, The Globe & Mail, The Weather Network, CityTV, Rogers Television, The Pet Network, iChannel, and CTV, where she is currently the National Eco Expert for the stations number 1 daytime talk show, The Marilyn Denis Show.

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