Is food industry like a fashion industry?
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Have you ever noticed that there are ‘trendy foods’ like in fashion industry? How many trendy cafes these days serve coffee with milk alternatives? Do their menus include words like, chia, acai and coconut yoghurt?
I remember the time when goji berries were considered a superfood. Fast forward some time and kale became the new big thing followed by cacao nibs, acai, quinoa, gluten free and now plant-based cheese, meat, and ice cream!
These trendy foods are often very expensive creating dents in your weekly grocery budget.
Are they so special that you need to include them in your standard diet?
Well, I don’t think so. When you Google ‘superfoods’ you see the list of foods that are considered superfoods. The list includes your standard fruits and vegetables! Occasionally, there are foods that are cultivated and produced in only certain parts of the worlds. Those foods are meant for the people in that community. We are perfectly designed to eat the foods that surrounds our environment and are easy to grow.
For example, both Kale and Broccoli are from the same brassica family. Brassica varieties are packed with vitamins and minerals and have number of health benefits. They are shown to decrease the risk of developing cancers, asist in detoxification and stimulate immune systems.
Brassica family consists of vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, turnip, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, rocket, watercress, collard greens, bok choy, kohlrabi and horseradish.
They can be cooked and prepared in different ways. Next time when you go to the supermarket, choose whichever vegetable that looks fresh. Produce that are in season are often cheaper. There is nothing wrong in choosing good old broccoli. This can be applied to other foods like berries, choose the berries that are in season instead of the ones that have the 'superfood' claims.
I like checking out the menu of local cafés to see what’s trending at the moment. Sometimes the menu states things like chia seeds but when the food comes out, you notice only the tiny amount of chia seeds scattered on top of the meal. It looks pretty, but I doubt it would provide adequate protein by having such a small amount.
I get inspirations from menus like those and try to recreate some of the fancy sounding meals at home. It often comes out amazing and at a fraction of the cost at the café.
My point is that rather than keeping up with so called ‘superfoods’, there is nothing wrong with your good old broccoli and apple. Any fruits and vegetables are beneficial for human health and therefore should be encouraged to include as many varieties as you can in your daily diet. Food trends change all the time and who knows, the next superfood can come back to a humble apple!
BRASSICAS J.W. Fahey, in Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition (Second Edition), 2003