January Horoscopes: What Is Your 2019 Food Trend Prediction?


2019 is the year that everyone finally starts noticing how awesome you are. Own it, Pisces. Get comfortable in the spotlight and don’t shy away. You’ve worked hard to get here. With all eyes on you, you never know, you could become a trend-starter or, gasp, an influencer (and get paid for just existing? Anything is possible!). So pop those prebiotic eyedrops be sure to share it on your instagram story for all to see (except you, your eyes will be burning). Soon everyone will be doing it. In 2019, forget probiotic and notice the word “Prebiotic” everywhere you turn. You’ll never quite understand what it means, but you’ll NEED it. Prebiotic coffee, prebiotic salami, prebiotic catnip, and prebiotic all-purpose flour. Will any of this turn back time, tighten the skin around your buttcheeks, and make you feel love again? Only one way to find out.

Catherine Urban is an astrologer, writer and cosmic consultant. Currently, she is most excited about all the prebiotic pegan items soon to take over her life in 2019. Follow more of Catherine’s astro-musings on IG and Twitter @AstroCatherine or visit the website here.


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How Indian Food Became a Trend Thanks to Wellness Influencers | Healthyish


India is home to 1.3 billion people, and lately, it seems, 1.3 billion wellness trends. In the past year and a half, even people disinterested in health crazes are unable to avoid the golden tsunami of turmeric drinks, the proliferation of ghee and coconut oil in grocery stores, and headlines about how khichdi is the magically detoxing concoction you need right now. Everyone can spell ashwagandha, and Ayurveda, India’s thousands-of-years-old holistic healing system, is now an Instagram hashtag with over a million posts (many of them featuring white women). To put it simply, Indian food has become the darling of the health world.

It’s a radical shift from Indian food’s long-standing reputation in the West of being the spicy, cream-laden, junky takeout that would stain your nails, make your clothes smell, and give you inevitable stomach issues. So how did the perception of Indian food swing from diarrhea to detox?

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Photo by Chelsie Craig

Basu Ratnam in Inday, the fast-casual mini-chain he founded in NYC.

Gwyneth Paltrow,” says Basu Ratnam with a laugh when I posed this question. Ratnam is the owner of Inday, a restaurant with multiple locations in New York City that melds his passion for health with his Indian upbringing. While Paltrow—who was an avid yoga enthusiast before she became the Goop queen—can’t take full credit for the rise of turmeric tonics and khichdi cleanses, Ratnam is correct to point to a certain, ahem, limber set of people as the catalysts of change.

“The same philosophy that gave us yoga also talked about mindfulness, meditation, and Ayurvedic eating,” he says. “I think the interest in it is a natural evolution.”

Yoga, which originated in India, became a phenomenon in the West more than a decade ago. The practice is deeply connected to meditation, which has made its way into our everyday lives via mobile apps, airline entertainment, and seemingly every TED talk about how to be a successful entrepreneur. Hygiene routines like oil pulling, using a tongue scraper, and dry brushing were touted by (mostly white) wellness influencers, and retailers like CAP Beauty and Goop started capitalizing on the trend.

When health is a multitrillion-dollar industry, turmeric becomes much more than a sickness remedy.

Sana Javeri Kadri, the founder of spice company Diaspora Co., sees the rise of Ayurveda, a term that wouldn’t so easily roll off tongues in the West just a few years ago, is connected to the popularity of yoga. “I think people who have access to seeing Indian food through the lens of Ayurveda are people who are into yoga, or some form of appropriated Indian culture,” she says.

True Ayurveda is a labyrinthine set of rules and guidelines, but there are aspects that are extremely approachable, like not eating late at night, avoiding combinations of certain foods, or using spices such as turmeric to treat ailments. These principles are so woven into the fabric of everyday routines in South Asian culture, both on the subcontinent and in the diaspora, that many don’t realize they are actively participating in it. “I always thought I was someone who grew up without Ayurveda,” says Kadri. “But it was more that it was so a part of our daily lives that we never considered it a health thing.”

But when health is a multitrillion-dollar industry, turmeric becomes much more than a sickness remedy. It’s in skin care and on clothes, in chocolate, eggs, drink mixes, and snacks, and, seeing this success, the industry has begun to fetishize other common Ayurvedic ingredients. Ghee, coconut oil, ashwagandha, and moringa, have all ridden in on turmeric’s gold coattails. It’s only helped that today’s fad diets like paleo, keto, and Whole30 demonize dairy and gluten, which are easily avoided in Indian cooking, and valorize fats like ghee and coconut.

We’re more skeptical than ever before about Western medicine, and so we look to other resources and cultures for the remedies we need.

The West also has a new obsession with “plant-based” eating, essentially a term for veganism but without the militant connotation, which has buttressed this interest in Indian food and Ayurveda, says Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While neither Indian cuisine nor Ayurveda are completely meatless approaches to eating, it’s extremely simple to find vegetarian and non-dairy options that are “flavorful and healthy,” adds Sheth.

One thing that all these diets, Ayurveda, and the wellness movement as a whole have in common is that they all understand food to be medicine. We’re more skeptical than ever before about Western medicine—our ability to access it and its ability to heal us—and so we look to other resources and cultures for the remedies we need. Traditional Chinese medicine, which has long had a foothold in the Western world via techniques like acupuncture and massage, has seen its popularity expand along with the wellness trend.

But, as Kadri points out, Ayurveda is perhaps less intimidating to Westerners because it centers around more recognizable foods, while navigating the complex series of herbs and supplements that make up the framework of Chinese medicine is more challenging. “Most Ayurveda websites are also in English,” she adds.

Some Indians in America, like Ratnam, are excited to see the West embrace Indian traditions. “I think it is validating,” he says. He was once told that opening an Indian restaurant, especially a healthy one, was a terrible idea. “I think it means that there is some integrity to the belief, and I think that it is really exciting. There’s a consensus that these Indian philosophies are good.” Others, like Nik Sharma, author of the cookbook Season, are more cautious. “It’s important that Indian food and culture doesn’t get pigeonholed into wellness,” he says. “There is so much more to it, but learning about Indian food from wellness is such a niche perspective.”

Kadri agrees that she may have never started her company, which currently sells turmeric sourced directly from one farm in India, had it not been for the golden latte trend. While most of her customers are home cooks, she also sells to wellness brands like Golde, the turmeric latte blend that Paltrow drinks. But she’s more ambivalent than Ratnam. She struggles with people like Amanda Chantal Bacon, the controversial and oft-profiled white founder of L.A.-based Moon Juice, a smoothie shop that has spun out into an empire of products using ingredients popular in both Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.


Photo by Alex Lau, Styling by Sue Li

A khichdi from chef Divya Alter of Divya’s Kitchen in NYC.

Topics of ownership and appropriation are unavoidable when talking about the wellness world’s fondness for Indian food and practices. “Ayurveda has become so deeply co-opted,” says Kadri. She finds the conversation around khichdi, a rice-and-lentil based dish popular across India, particularly taxing. Over the past year or so, several publications have run articles by slender white women proselytizing the “kitchari cleanses” they have embarked on—frequently misspelling the dish (no one from India would ever pronounce it “kitchari”), offering up recipes that no Indian would consider to be khichdi, and, most importantly, failing to acknowledge the dish’s Indian origins.

It’s not that Kadri isn’t happy to see people from around the world eating khichdi. “I think that everybody should eat khichdi if it makes them feel better,” says Kadri. “I just have a huge issue with someone taking credit for a khichdi recipe.” It’s a frustration many South Asians have felt as these ingredients have been usurped by the West. In many ways, it’s food colonization.

The cherry-picking of Ayurvedic tenants is worrying to Kadri. “This is just normal food for a lot of people, so suddenly wrapping it up as a superfood with magical properties is just gimmicky,” she says. Ratnam is also concerned about what this selectiveness means from a health perspective. “People in America are always looking for quick-fix solutions, and I think this is contrary to what the true philosophy of Ayurveda is about,” he says. To him, Ayurveda means creating balance and intention. Plates of ghee-roasted meat with tall glasses of “golden milk” for every meal isn’t that.

Sheth also warns against viewing Indian wellness trends as miracle fixes. “When it comes to fat, I encourage my clients to still be mindful of portions,” she says. And on the subject of khichdi, Sheth says there’s nothing detoxing about it. “It can be a healthy meal as it provides carbs, protein, and some fat, but our body has wonderful organs that are designed to help with getting rid of toxins,” she says.

But Ratnam continues to be optimistic about the role of Indian food stateside. “America is definitely getting browner, and I think people are embracing spicier food more,” he says. He just hopes that Indians can own and lead this moment in the health space. After all, he says, “India was 5,000 years early to the wellness movement.”


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UQAM joins growing trend toward letting students use preferred names – Montreal


A major Quebec university is joining a growing movement toward allowing students — including transgender students who’ve long sought the provision — to use a name other than their given name on campus.

The Université du Québec à Montréal announced this week the policy will come into effect next semester. It will extend to all non-official documents and resources, including student cards, university email addresses and the student directory. Professors will address students by their preferred names.

READ MORE: Canadian transgender soldier speaks out on transitioning to help others

Their legal first name will continue to appear on official documents such as diplomas, cheques and financial documents.

“Starting January 4, 2019, in an approach that is inclusive and neutral, UQAM will be the first French-language university in Quebec that will allow, under certain conditions, all students who apply to add a chosen first name to their student file,” Danielle Laberge, vice-rector in charge of academic life, told students and staff in a statement.

WATCH: Quebec Liberals table transgender legislation

Already, about 100 online requests have been made since Monday’s announcement, about half of them from transgender students. Other people making requests include foreign students who prefer to go by a different name.

“For UQAM, it’s a policy that’s neutral and inclusive and offered to the entire student body,” spokeswoman Jenny Desrochers said.

In allowing a name other than the one that appears on a birth certificate, UQAM follows English-language institutions in Montreal that have instituted similar policies, including Concordia and McGill universities. Several junior colleges in the province also have preferred-name policies, as do numerous post-secondary institutions across the country.

READ MORE: Trans student outed by Edmonton teachers wins ‘landmark’ privacy ruling

A group that promotes LGBTQ rights at UQAM and that had pushed for the policy change hailed the announcement as a long-awaited victory.

“About three years ago, we brought forth the concerns of students who wanted to change their names on their identification cards or other documentation,” Roxane Nadeau of the organization La Reclame said.

“They were mostly trans students.”

Being thrown into an environment where their preferred name — the name they have come to be known by in all aspects of their lives — was not recognized could be traumatic, she said.

“They would start at university, (and) it meant taking measures, improvising for each professor, each class, each semester, for their entire university career,” she said.”It’s difficult and victimizes them with each interaction with a teacher to correct a piece of information that shouldn’t be used in the first place.”

READ MORE: Quebec women’s federation chooses first trans leader

Desrochers said the policy takes into consideration the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and 2017 federal legislation that provided protections for transgender Canadians.

She said the university’s new rector, Magda Fusaro, made the policy a priority after she arrived in her position in January.

READ MORE: Ottawa woman who was once homeless believed to be first trans school trustee

The university’s registrar will have the final say on whether a name is accepted. Certain names would be rejected — such as a disgraced historical figure.

“The university reserves the right to reject requests judged abusive or eccentric,” Desrochers said.


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