As a nutritionist, one phrase I despise is “food fad”. I’m obviously in support of food, so the food component is fab. But add a fad to the end and suddenly everything changes.
Really, another one?
Food fads are usually heralded by minions shouting “I SAVED MY LIFE THANKS TO …” only to be forgotten two minutes later when the next magic pill arrives.
One delivery followed by another; weight-loss pills, the key to anti-ageing, potions for eternal bliss, scents to stave off hunger, superfoods to make you shine, elixirs to boost your metabolism, and so on. It still amazes me what desperate measures some individuals take in the name of health.
So what’s wrong with a little fad? The main qualm I have with fads is their tendency to encourage obsessive behaviours. Such actions are unsustainable in the long term and facilitate poor self-esteem.
I wholeheartedly support proactive health measures and preventative nutrition. However, there is no need to increase the mortgage on your house to fund these exclusive potions.
Look at Mother Nature
One fad that has been around for some time and is probably more a way of life than a fad is the kitchen garden program offered by many primary schools. Thanks to the vision of Stephanie Alexander and her desire to provide regular kitchen and garden classes to children, the next generation is learning vital skills for optimal well-being and healthy living.
Teaching a child how to love and nurture vegetables is crucial for their future health.
I appreciate that maths, geography, history and the like are essential to the school curriculum. However, teach a child how to grow tomatoes and show them some kitchen recipes that transform these beautiful sweet morsels into delicacies and you will improve their lives. It will encourage them to develop a healthy relationship with food and a positive regard for their body. This is turn will boost their self-esteem.
A child with food knowledge and kitchen skills is more likely to develop into a physically active healthy adult. They are more likely to consume wholesome foods regularly and respect and nurture their body.
Contrast this with a young adult lacking in basic food knowledge. They are often the yo-yo dieter who loathes their body.
I spend much of my time in schools and corporate offices giving nutrition seminars and running wellness programs. Adults who were encouraged as children to take part in food preparation and cooking lead healthier lifestyles as they grow.
But if you weren’t a child of home harvesters, it is not all doom and gloom. There’s no time like the present to start.
Fast fads & detoxes
Drastic fad diets and detoxes might facilitate short-term weight loss. Yet fast forward two years and it’s likely all lost weight plus more has appeared. Glorifying short-term skinniness is like celebrating the success of a cheater. The truth will eventually out in the most inconvenient circumstances, such as a burst zip, when the weight reappears.
A final message
Stop over-complicating everything.
Seek professional help if you would like a targeted approach unique to your lifestyle. Otherwise, simply consume far more vegetables than you think you need. You might notice the improvements to your health. You might even notice your skin develops a radiant shine that the $350 superfood failed to deliver.
And, with love and kindness, please drink some water.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with Stephanie Alexander or her programs, nor do I receive royalties or bonuses for promotion.
My Piece Published in The Weekly Review 14th March 2015