I have met the future, and her name is Lucie Greene.
She's the worldwide head of a group called JWTIntelligence, a think tank busy identifying "emerging opportunities" that could become big business. In other words, it looks at what's cutting-edge today to figure out what'll be trendy tomorrow (and pathetically passe by the time I finally get around to wanting it, buying it and — sometimes years later — figuring out how to turn it on or eat it).
Foodwise, we have already gotten used to kale in everything, of course. My friend was waxing rhapsodic about the delicious shake she had the other day, which combined pineapple, orange and honeydew — yum, yum and yum — and kale.
Excuse me while I sip my St. Patrick's Day McShake.
It's green, too.
But beyond food, young Greene says kale is also appearing in nail polish, and yes, the name of a product is NailKale. You can also find the overexposed leaf in hand cream, youth serums and cleansers — which means that by about this time next year, there will be a kale aisle at the dollar store.
Nothing stays young forever, even youth serums.
Which brings us to another of the trends Greene and her team are tracking: youthful burnout. Not burnout on youth culture, alas, but actual youths themselves feeling spent and old by the time they're pushing the big 2-8. "I have a lot of girlfriends who are in senior management and they've got stomach issues, hair loss, eczema," says Greene, a millennial herself. So the culture is trying to cater to them, too.
Hence, we are seeing a wave of free-floating spirituality that aims to revive and uplift without all the rigmarole of religion. With about one-fifth of the population claiming no religious affiliation — yet more than a third considering themselves "spiritual" — JWTIntelligence sees seminars, meditation, jewelry and a mind-numbing insistence on "mindfulness" as the fill-in. If all of this sounds New Age, rest assured; it's not. It's called "Now Age" now.
Part of this mind/body/Gwyneth trend, by the way, is broga — yoga for men, the way a bromance is a romance (but not a romantic romance) between men. Up next? I predict a new fashion magazine for men: Brogue!
Anyway, another restorative on the horizon is bone broth. Boiled bones are believed to be so beneficial that there's even a new Australian restaurant called Brothl, which goes one hipster step further and boils the bones tossed out by fancy restaurants. Sip that and you're hip, recycling, Paleo and outrageous, all in one bowl — before the crackers! That's quite a feat.
And on the opposite end of the spectrum, you've got the whole vegan thing growing like lichen (something vegans no doubt appreciate the way the rest of us appreciate a schmear of cream cheese). Shunning all meat and dairy is only getting more popular — or at least until 6 p.m., at which point the bible of this movement, Mark Bittman's "VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health ... for Good," apparently allows you to mulch your kale cupcake and gnaw a stegosaurus.
Do it mindfully and you could probably start a movement. Or at least a YouTube channel. Or — heck! — a religion.
And Lucie Greene will find you.