Review of food, fitness trends of 2008

This past year, we learned to say NO to pricey bottled water and YES to reusable bags, both great for the economy and the environment.

Our aging population found functional fitness tools extremely popular. Both the smart bell and the TRX offer a unique way to stretch and strengthen.

Since the weather is mild pretty much all year in Southern California, outdoor fitness has flourished. Jogging, hiking and boot camps became popular, and free fitness stations at parks buzzed with exercisers.

The biggest theme for food this year was no surprise: the economy. We learned to cook with cans, to cook one meal and turn it into three others and to look for products that would serve a family of four for under $10.

Many shoppers became experts at cutting coupons and navigating away from enticing, but often pricey, foods.

If we did use high-end or extravagant products like fancy cheeses, we learned how to serve them wisely.

We also looked at ethnic foods other than Mexican and Chinese. Spanish and East Indian turned out to be thrifty, yet tasty, treats.

And while trans fat seemed to vanish from the scene, we continued to see some manufacturers sneaking this undesirable fat under the radar. As always, check labels.

Finally, we saw a great addition to the market: the influx of gluten-free foods. Gluten-free foods are one of the fastest growing trends at the market. Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and regular grocery stores offer many great tasting options for those who need them.



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