Every year has its own hip diet, its own trendy exercise and its own hot vegetable. Remember kale’s glory days and the peak of Pilates? This year, as we try to recover from the physical and emotional toll of the pandemic, it will be no different. Here are a few predictions for 2021, from local wellness experts with their fingers on the pulse.
Instantly de rigueur in 2020, video conferencing will only become more commonplace in 2021, according to Bret Larsen, CEO and co-founder of the Mesa-based telehealth firm eVisit. He predicts telehealth care will transition from “video visits” to comprehensive “virtual care” offerings for patients in their homes or on the go.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Don’t call it a comeback: The anti-inflammatory diet never went away, but it will enjoy a resurgence in 2021. Katie Mollica, a trainer and nutrition coach who owns ANATO-ME, a Phoenix fitness center, says diets rich in immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory agents like berries, oranges, asparagus and broccoli and lean proteins such as salmon and raw, unsalted nuts will be popular in response to the pandemic. Instagram: @anato_mephx
In the wake of COVID-19, immunity-boosting vitamins will be top of mind for everyone, according to Patrick Sullivan Jr., CEO and co-founder of Scottsdale-based Jigsaw Health, a family-owned nutritional supplement company. He posits K2 will be a big one, for its role in supporting bone and heart health. Fat-soluble K2 is a little-known vitamin that helps direct where calcium is absorbed in the body. jigsawhealth.com
Chaos dominated 2020, which is why Phoenix-based wellness expert Deb Caron, founder of deMysticism.com, is seeing so many people turn to mindfulness, meditation and spiritual practices to help relieve stress and manage anxiety. Beyond that, the practices help people find clarity about themselves and help them determine who they want to be in the world. demysticism.com
Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat became the darlings of the meatless set (and those dabbling in a less-meat lifestyle) over the past couple of years. Jonathan Netzky, owner of Flagstaff-based NexVeg, a culinary company that produces plant-based meat replacements, sees that dietary trend evolving in 2021 to include cultured and fermented proteins, which will allow people to eat lab-grown “meat” without harvesting an animal. He also expects an uptick in lifestyle medicine, a practice that uses natural vitamins and healing properties in plant-based whole foods instead of pharmaceutical interventions. nexveg.com
Scottsdale nonprofit Waste Not will continue to combat food insecurity by upcycling food that would have otherwise gone to waste, a particularly noble effort as Feeding America reported 50 million more Americans experienced food insecurity in 2021 compared to 2019. Waste Not will continue cultivating partnerships in 2021 that allow for composting and redirecting non-edible items to farms for animal feed, keeping as much food as possible out of landfills. wastenotaz.org
This year, more than ever, self-care will become a priority, according to Dr. Suneil Jain, a naturopathic doctor at Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics in Scottsdale. He predicts people will appreciate their bodies in more holistic ways to support a strong immune system, seeking out IV nutrient therapies, maintaining ample micronutrient levels and a healthy gut microbiome, and putting emphasis on metabolic health. werejuvenate.com
Marissa Abdo and Morgan Renfro, founders of Scottsdale-based Lumen + Bevel Aesthetics, expect an increased demand for dermal fillers, specifically hyaluronic acid, a sugar found naturally in our bodies that provides hydration and plumpness to skin. The increased sanitization of the pandemic (hourly handwashing, anyone?), coupled with the general aging process, dries and weathers skin. Hyaluronic acid is attractive for its ability to aid the healing process, minimize wrinkles and restore hydration. lumenandbevel.com
Mental Health Care
Dr. Andrea Raby, vice president of psychiatry at Valleywide Bayless Integrated Healthcare, says demand for mental health services is increasing at an “astronomical rate.” Predicting a “tsunami” of people seeking mental health support in the coming months, Raby pegged the need to pandemic-related issues, including substance abuse, job loss, PTSD and the long-term effects of COVID-19, including brain fog, memory issues, anxiety and sleep disturbances. baylesshealthcare.com
Prebiotics and Gut Health
Dr. Beth Segerholm, who specializes in functional medicine at Prevene Wellbeing in Scottsdale, predicts a healthy amount of attention paid to prebiotics – foods that help probiotic bacteria grow and create a balanced microbiome. She also sees the use of precision medical testing accelerating as patients search for individualized care to improve their gut health and, ultimately, their overall health. prevene.com