The Biggest Food & Wellness Trend You Haven't Heard Of...Yet

I've sampled tons of health and welllness trends over the years. I mean, in terms of food, there was the rise of rice cakes (usually with peanut butter) during the late 80's, today's smoothie bars (I like my kale in a smoothie. Beyond that, no thx.), and now the budding adaptogen (herbs - like the jar of Sun Potion Ashwagandha I *literally* just ran out and bought - that are restorative, and supposed to help your body respond better to things like stress, by keeping cortisol levels in check) craze. 

So, I've eaten the snacks, taken the supplements, read the blogs, but wouldn't you know it, there's something brand-y new in town. And it's set to become one of the biggest and most buzzworthy things in terms of diet, lifestyle, and wellness! A handful of companies have sprung up over the last few years, offering genetic testing - called nutrigenomics - that's meant to guide you in creating a personalized plan for eating (which foods to keep in your rotation, which ones to kick to the curb...some have called it 'the DNA diet'.), nutrition (are you deficient in iron? getting too much protein?), and even exercise (errrr...maybe you and kettlebells aren't such a great match). 

Earlier this year, there was a flurry of people posting about their results from sites like or over on Facebook. I haven't seen many updating about their systems being slow to metabolize caffeine (which usually translates to recommendations to keep your coffee, or tea, to one cup a day or put yourself at greater risk for high blood pressure or heart attack...more about THIS in a sec.) Not yet anyway. Pretty sure it's going to happen though. It's something I've signed up for too, mostly because I've been feeling overwhelmed lately by the sheer volume of info and opinions swirling around about what we should and shouldn't be eating or drinking, which herbs or vitamins to take, etc. (Remember all the hoopla about coconut oil last year? SMH to everything except maybe oil pulling.)

Speaking of caffeine, I know someone who was shocked recently to learn she should probably dial back her coffee intake (or at least try to) after getting her results and Skype consultation from Nutrigenomix, the Toronto based company that's one of the pioneers in this emerging field of "eating according to your genes" testing. I'm also going to be using them btw, and hear the prep itself is straightforward and painless. You do a mini fast of about 30 minutes prior to. Next thing you know, you're spitting into a tiny vial that gets snail mailed off for analysis.

In about 2-3 weeks, you receive a PDF with a detailed breakdown of each gene that was tested and what everything means. There are 5 sections in total: Nutrient Metabolism (How are your levels of calcium, iron, Vitamin D? Are they where they should be, or elevated?), Cardiometabolic Health (Caffeine is a biggie here as it can either be a risk enhancer or a protectant, depending on how your body processes it. In other words, coffee can be really beneficial. For some.), Weight Management & Body Composition (Someone else I know has had problems with their Achilles Tendon for years and guess what? This section of their results identified THAT prob.), Food Intolerances (That same someone also suspected they had become lactose intolerant - no more milk shakes! - and bingo, suspicions confirmed.), and Eating Habits. You'll also get a follow-up consultation with one of their in-house dieticians, who will walk you thru your results, answer any questions you may have, and so on. 

Now, the cost of the analysis, report, and consultation (Nutrigenomix has both Skype and phone options.) is somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 and apparently not covered by most insurance plans right now. Long term, however, it could save you money on other big ticket purchases like those supplements now trending that you realize you simply don't need. (PS - If I end up finding out I'm one of those people who's NOT supposed to be drinking more than one small cuppa coffee a day, I'll freak.)