4 Reasons You Don't Need The Latest Food Trend to Be Healthy
Good Monday morning! I hope you had a great and restful weekend. As I've started working full time, I definitely have a better appreciation for the weekend and how rejuvenating it can be. So needed! I was talking to a friend and fellow dietitian this past week, (hi Emma!) and she brought up how crazy some of the most recent food trends have become. You know the ones...like matcha, collagen, maca powder, acaí, bee pollen, cacao powder, goji etc. The list goes on and on.
I started thinking about all of the wild claims that are made about these products. Marketing, and social media have pretty much led people to believe that these products will make you perfectly beautiful, have infinite life and ultimate health. For so many reasons this is bogus and can even be really harmful.
I know many people want to do everything they can to be healthy and the best version of themselves, but I think this mindset can do more harm than good. After our conversation I sat down and came up with some reasons why you DON'T need to be using these products:
- Food is just food. There is no magic vegetable. If there was we would all know about it and it would probably be curing cancer or something super impressive like that. Since such a food doesn't exist, we can only rely on what we know for sure. Food sustains life and each and every one of us needs it to survive. Some foods are more nourishing to the body physically, some more nourishing emotionally. Both have a place and hold value but in the end, it's all just food and gets digested and absorbed into our bodies the same way.
- We don't live in a vacuum. I talk to patients about this one all the time. Most of the time we are eating foods in combination with other ones, and having several meals throughout the day. Life and eating are not static. Sometimes we get the idea in our heads that everything we put into our bodies needs to be perfectly balanced and nutritious for us to stay in the "healthy zone." This could maybe be true, if our bodies weren't as smart as they are or if we only ate one food forever. The human body is so incredible and knows how to perfectly store, use, release and create exactly what we need to survive based on whatever we've eaten. As long as we give our bodies something to work with, it can figure out a way to keep us going efficiently. (Obviously some genetic and metabolic disorders exist where this would not be as simple or correct, but for the general population who aren't struggling with that, this holds true)
- Health is about more than nutrition. We shouldn't define health as simply as just how "good" or "bad" our nutrition is. So many other things go in to it. Food plays a role, yes, but so does our physical, social, emotional and spiritual health. To say that nutrition is the only thing on the table is to ignore many other areas of our lives. We are complex people, so our definition of something like health cannot be fit into a tiny little nutrition box and left at that.
- We don't need to become something more than we already are. At their core, these products are sending a message that we are not good enough the way we are and we should want to change something about ourselves. This message gets all wrapped up in diet culture and the belief that we should need to change ourselves to meet some vague standard society places on us. It's just not true. We were all perfectly created with a specific purpose for our lives. The companies selling these products don't care about that. They'll do and say anything to to sell us on the idea that we NEED this stuff and that it will change our lives. If we are rooted in the knowledge that we actually don't need to change, we can save our selves a whole lot of stress...and money!
One last thing to keep in mind..
- It is OKAY to eat the trendy foods. I would be a super hypocrite if I said "don't buy this stuff ever because you're wasting you're money and feeding into diet culture if you ever ingest it." No, because I've tried a lot of it and the reality is that some of the trendy stuff is fun and actually tasty! So many juice bars and new cafés are making super creative and fun meals and snacks out of a lot of these ingredients. So go ahead, have the expensive matcha coated, acaí infused energy bites. Just know that the energy bite is not going to change your life and that you don't need it to make you into a better person. Eat it and enjoy it because it will nourish you just like a chocolate chip cookie would and that's great!