(Photo: alexbrn/Flickr)
Black pudding, staple of the English breakfast, may be the healthiest component of the plate. (Photo: alexbrn/Flickr.)

January: “Eat this new healthy thing now” month! Some years it’s more bacon or bananas, and some years bacon and bananas will kill you. Whether you’re watching calories, looking for the next cleanse or trying to reduce your intake of processed and refined ingredients, here are a few trends from around the dietsphere that will have you pushing away the kale and welcoming offal into your kitchen! On second thought, keep the kale.

Offal is the truth: Black pudding may be a superfood.

American? You may know black pudding from the full English breakfast fry-ups (pictured above) that you get at a pub that knows what it’s doing. Hail from the United Kingdom? You know all about this rich, savory treat that’s as delicious as it is, well, black. It’s a flavor-packed cooked sausage made from pig or beef fat, pig blood and oatmeal or ground oats. A good source of protein, zinc and iron, black pudding is a surprising new addition to foods nutritionists agree are generally very healthy for you, although this one should be consumed in moderation. Or, for most people Stateside, for the first time.

soup

Panera now serves “clean soup.”

Panera Bread has a list of 150 “no-no” ingredients that you won’t find in its food. Why is anything called tertiary butylhydroquinone in food anyway? Their New Year’s resolution was to ditch it all, and now the fast-casual giant serves exclusively “clean soup,” free of anything processed or refined. The flour that makes the roux that starts their famous broccoli-cheddar? Unbleached wheat flour. And it only took them 60 revisions to tweak it so that you can’t even tell.

The hottest new detox involves charcoal! 

You know how you’re not supposed to barbecue meat until it’s charred? You’re still not supposed to do that, but activated charcoal — charcoal that’s been heat-treated to increase its detoxification properties — is finding its way into more and more cleanse regimens, according to Grub Street. Activated charcoal has adsorptive properties (as opposed to absorptive), which means that toxins and other bad stuff adhere to it to be disposed of, rather than being sucked in entirely. Take it in pills or mix it up in your health tonic (or pay a company a bunch to do it for you!) and experience the magic of a different kind of charcoal than a chicken thigh left on the hottest part of the grill for 45 minutes.

Kale and apples make beautiful juice babies. (Photo: Clay Williams.)

A one-way trip to Juicetown

Juicing is not going away, folks, so quit squinting in disbelief when you see folks sipping thick green concoctions from takeout cups. Are they still just showing off? Perhaps, but the more you see them, the more you’re likely to crack and discover that beets and ginger are like super-healthy people’s peanut butter and jelly. As long as we’re seeking out trends, invest a buck or two in an excellent juicer and marvel at how fast you can get four giant leaves of kale and an entire cucumber working wonders in your system.