Ten years ago who would’ve thought a bitter tasting green vegetable like kale would become synonymous with a health movement that’s changing the way people eat?
But there it is, in all it's glory, kale - holding the title of a 'super food' of 2016. (How did foods winning some sort of Oscar become a real thing? I have no idea.)
Without ignoring the impact of awesome trends like matcha, gourmet organic burgers, fermented foods/craft beer or energy balls on the local dining scene - that are meant to nourish us and be playful. But today I'm talking specifically about 2 different experiences/cultures under the umbrella of food - food TRENDS and DIETS that are thoroughly annoying. Food trends are those often crazy creative (only sometimes healthy) and typically just downright wacky 'foods' that us millennials' believe are cool. Diets are, well you know those popular styles of eating that we try and try but never seem to actually teach us how to keep weight off.
The truth is, ignoring all of this simplifies your entire life.
Where do food trends come from?
Typically well-travelled diners demand creative dining experiences and both chefs and diners influence ingredients and dishes that become popular on your local restaurant menus.
Chefs with creative licensing tend to very much enjoy exploring and playing around with new trends they have seen, tasted or heard of. Playing with fermented foods, sprouts, vinegars, mushrooms or other 'exotic' foods is a way for chefs to express their creative side into dishes while adding a new level of flavour. There’s that joy of experimentation and trying new things.
As for the customers' side, people are usually interested in things they’ve tried in other places. Food trends travel quickly in our social media world where someone can try new exotic meals from around the world and share with you immediately. Food trends seem to be influenced by many factors - technology to pop culture, the economy and the modern workplace.
Diet trends, on the other hand, come from all over - lots of the time, it is celebrities who influence the hottest diets to follow this year (or month!) Diets have been in the spot light for DECADES as a way to solve being overweight. The word diet used to mean the food and drink that we habitually consume - but it also had another sense, meaning "a way of life." I like this much better than the connotation we have today on the word diet, which is to restrict, conform, track and stress about food until our body changes (whether for the good or the bad.)
Social Media has to be in the picture. No discussion about food trends is complete without mention of Instagram, it's visual nature helps hundreds of thousands of millennials enjoy discovering food trends. It's a breeding ground for food trends designed to go viral.
(And those foods trends we think we created? Sorry Milennials, "avo-toast" was a commune kitchen staple for hippies and their homemade bread in the '60's when avocadoes started booming. Although, Californian avocadoes' roots can be traced all the way back to 1926!)
A trend is something that gains momentum, whereas a fad is something we enjoyed fleetingly, like cupcakes, frozen yogurt, cronuts or bagels. (God help us - and rainbow grilled cheese.) There will always be the classical cuisines, and elements of those will be reinvented into specialty dishes or products that speak to these trends.
Why are food trends or diets worth ignoring?
1. They distract you from the ultimate goal of the ideal diet: real food.
When we become distracted by food trends or diets, it takes us away from what we really should be focusing on: a whole foods diet that is simple. When we're distracted, or overwhelmed it leads us to make less-than-ideal choices because we don't feel good about what we're eating or we're just trying to "keep up with the food-trend-Jones's." Convoluted ideas of what a healthy diet looks like will always leads to worry, strain and guilt. Simpler is always better. (And more affordable. Saving money on junk food is A HUGE BONUS of eating cleaner.) Diets are the worst way to lose weight as they are complicated (counting/stressing) and typically do not work. Diets distract us from the real meaning of eating - nourishing our body while embodying wellness and the environment around us.
2. Typically not sustainable/healthy/traditionally prepared foods.
A lot of food trends are just silly. Sustainable food means supporting local farmers and eating food that completely nourishes us - not food that just 'looks cool' or tastes sickly sweet. I'm all for treats and balance, but there has to be a good foundation of healthy nutrition before we can safely (and occasionally) experiment with wacky ice cream waffles, or rainbow sprinkles on everything. Our blood sugars' simply do not need this trendy craziness! As for dieting, when it comes to weight loss diets do not only *rarely* put a focus on real health + the quality of foods, but not everyone knows that weight gain has a lot to do with our stress level than just eating less calories. [RELAX harder [How to Deal with Stress] Thus, we worry more about the quantity of food or obsess about exercise and before we know it - BAM - we're stuck in a diet cycle that's hard to break.
3. Where is the responsibility?
I believe there is a level of responsibility of personal development through dietary modifications. Self-improvement and self-development are ways we find and learn about ourselves and we can do this through food as well. Copying 'trendy' foods from around the world may not be the most responsible way for us to eat. The foods may not suit our body, may not fit the season or our environment, may not really be safe to eat (full of toxic colors, additives, preservatives) or may come from really far away, which is not environmentally responsible. [READ HERE about Eating Right in the Winter] Eating seasonal, local whole foods is the best way to eat responsibly - and to start taking our wellness seriously (because change requires a LOT of effort for us to deal with our 'stuff' !) If I can do it, so can you.
4. Diet trends are a total waste of your time.
If you've followed a diet for any length of time, lost some weight (or not) given up and then looked for another one - you know exactly what I mean when I say "the diet train" and hopefully you can understand how badly I want you off of it. The diet train is the worst type of transportation available to us today, and part of my goal with clients is to get them off of it so they never, ever, EVER have to even think about dieting ever again. They break your trust (in food, in yourself) and typically don't provide proper nourishment. The real foods movement is the way to feel good in your body, get the nutrients you need while also supporting your local economy. Get mindful, eat whole foods & embrace wellness. Unhealthy dieting is so '80's.
Food Trends vs. Diets
Food trends probably aren't going away (there is no end in sight to our social media world, is there?) so play with it if you feel called to the creativity & experimentation of it all - but don't let food trends take over your life. As for diets, well, they aren't anything new, but I know many people working towards putting an end to dieting in the world for good. The tragic reality is simply that diets do not work. We know this. You know this. Your uncle knows this. And your dog does, too. At the end of the day, I don't judge. I hold space for wherever my clients come to me with. Whether you eat fast food all day or are a hard-core vegan, I can work with you. We are all in different spaces and places when it comes to diets and we are all evolving as we change, learn and grow. What makes me holistic is that I understand everywhere on the spectrum of eating - and can work with you where you are right now.
Wanna get healthy and ditch dieting for good? The time is NOW! (Not yesterday.) So shoot me an email and let's chit-chat.