On Trend: Food

by Sophie Milrom
May 12, 2014
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You’ll never hear me predicting fashion trends, but food trends? That I can do.

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Since Kale was due to retire its crown this year, I surveyed all of my friends on what would be the “it” vegetable of 2014. Swiss chard was the consensus, with a few people thinking cauliflower might be due for a comeback.

There is nothing new about food and diet crazes: TV dinners were the epitome of “modern” in the 1950s; Julia Child introduced French technique to the American middle class in the 1960s; Chinese food became popular during the 1980s; and at some time during the 1990s, sushi made its way to our shores and we’ve been hooked ever since.

Right now we’re in the golden age of health food. Generations from now our descendants will marvel at how we consumed so much chopped salad while wearing corset-like yoga pants. My friend Lara and I will likely end up in a rehabilitation center for an addiction to smoothies. Just yesterday I texted her, “My Vitamix is my wife, but my Magic Bullet is my mistress,” referring to the mini-blender I keep at my office.

Like many of my contemporaries, a good amount of my disposable income is spent on niche/artisanal/pretentious health-foodie products: probiotics, green juice, seeds and powders whose names I can’t pronounce. Health is the new luxury, and I bought in, which was hard for me to admit as someone who prided herself on not preferring designer clothing to Zara.

This world of magic elixirs can be overwhelming though, so here is a list of the 10 best food trends that are defining the golden age of health:

Green Juice:

If superfoods had to elect a team mascot, it would probably be green juice. Nothing screams “I care about my body” more than holding a bottle full of liquid salad while wearing workout gear.

Chia Seeds:

According to Leandra, chia seeds are the Justin Bieber of superfoods because of their meteoric rise to fame. She told me over Gchat that “now they’re in their heyday but they’re probably going to crash and burn…presumably initiated by publicly peeing in a janitor’s cart.”

Smoothies:

I’m a huge fan of these pureed meals. Why bother chewing if it’s optional.

Almond Milk:

Almond milk is the litmus test for whether any given coffee shop in New York is “current.” Right now I would say about 40% of places offer it, with higher rates in hip neighborhoods. My friend Jilly lives in Williamsburg, and when she asked a café if they had almond milk, the barista looked at her like she was insane and responded, “Why wouldn’t we?”

Frozen Yogurt:

Frozen yogurt is the marijuana of health food since it’s basically just a gateway drug. First you’re eating Tahitian vanilla self-serve with rainbow sprinkles at 16 Handles and next thing you know you’ve just spent $21.99 on a slice of raw vegan goji berry cheesecake.

Goji berries:

Leandra calls these the Hugh Grant of superfoods. I’d like to see everyone else guess why in the comments below.

Quinoa:

It is only a matter of time before a celebrity names their child Quinoa. This is the cultured man’s grain. If rice is basic cable, quinoa is HBO.

Probiotics:

…Except the kind in the Jamie Curtis yogurt commercials.

Nut Butters (almond butter, cashew butter, etc.):

Amelia thinks that peanut butter is the Sheryl Sandberg of nut butters. Her reasoning is that peanuts are technically not nuts, so they became overachievers to compensate for impostor syndrome. The result was peanut butter’s ascent to the top of the nut-product world.

KALE KALE KALE:

Kale is so popular that it has non-edible merchandise. In addition to kale salads, you can find kale shirts, kale fine jewelry, and kale footwear.

I’ve eaten every single one of these ingredients this week. Some multiple times. Maybe asking a sales clerk if the coconut water I’m currently drinking is raw and unsweetened makes me a snob, but I’m a snob with glowing skin. Basically I think it’s all worth it. As Leandra once exclaimed after a romantic dinner we shared at Rock N’ Raw: “They say you only live once, but if you live (eat) like us, once lasts forever.”

REPLIES
  • Quinn Halman

    I feel like coconut is the new almond. There’s coconut water, milk, oil, flakes, jelly, flour, and sugar. I wouldn’t surprised at all if the next time I were at whole foods I saw some coconut spread

    • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

      Coconut has been my jumpoff since like 1994

    • Gem

      coconut butter = coconut spread :)

  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

    My office just got me frozen yogurt instead of a birthday cake. I once contemplated the name Almond, but now think Quinoa has a nice ring to it. Baby Q is what I will call him or her for short.

    • Quinn Halman

      I get called Q a lot and it’s a really great nickname but there is never any Q stationary, charms, and other stuff like that so just letting you know

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        Q is one of my favorite radio shows, out of, dun dun dun Canada. Your domain!

      • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

        Ok, my future child thanks you for the warning.

      • Quinn

        I feel you. I’ve been searching for Q merchandise since birth.

  • GapToothedGirl

    I’m eating well right now, I wondering will it last till sunday??
    Love, Gap.
    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  • Laura Mitchell

    Does it have to do with prostitute Hugh Grant or RomCom hero Hugh Grant? My mind is split between a salacious metaphor or something much more wholesome.

  • Gina

    I’d rather eat chocolate and die young than drink kale smoothies and live forever

  • http://www.shawneedreaming.blogspot.com/ Shawnee Rajala

    Ha, funny. Trends are so weird. I’ll still be eating these foods if and when the hype goes away. My ‘milk’ of choice is rice dream/milk though; it’s the best when a coffee shop has that, which is rare.

  • Laura Mitchell

    I have to put a vote in for Zoodles….

  • Gem

    Looks better with age from afar like a ‘fine English gent’ — though in reality you know it tastes bittersweet and leaves a slightly chewy stale aftertaste? I couldn’t sugar coat that one.. Sorry Hugh..

  • ScottMTuggle

    Her reasoning is that peanuts are technically not nuts, so they became overachievers to compensate for impostor syndrome. The result was peanut butter’s ascent to the top of the nut-product world. http://num.to/8845-7247-2991

  • Dancingcheektocheek

    –2 good things–

  • Jamie

    Celery would have been the next big one if Buscemi hadn’t sold bacon down the river.

  • Sophie

    Ha, brilliant post. Hale to kale & quinoa. I say bulgar wheat or pearl barley is gonna make it big time.

    Sophie x

    http://www.yourgirlislovely.com

  • Rose

    Please tell me you’ll be revealing WHY she calls it the Hugh Grant of foods to us.

  • Chia

    KinWah is a very common Canton name. Next time I fill out a form for my father, I’ll put “Quinoa” Mhawhaha…

  • Deborah

    I, too, am addicted to smoothies. I drink every variation of a kale or almond milk smoothie. I think that since they taste so darn good that it must be bad for me. It’s funny because I’ve been coming across articles online that now say that eating too healthy is bad or not as beneficial as we think. What a kill joy. Great way to burst my bubble. There really is no right or wrong thing to eat nowadays.

  • lucybladen

    I have eaten all of these ingredients in the past week as well, and it’s only Tuesday and I had my wisdom teeth out yesterday..

    Thank god for smoothies!

    remnantsofreflection.blogspot.com.au

  • Kristin

    Butter. The new york times declared that butter is back and there was an article in vogue this month about butter. And there were lots of cocktails finished with pats of melty butter this winter. Definitely on its way to superfood-dom

  • Mia

    I think that dandelions will soon become the new kale… (*not to be confused with the yellow flower, rather, it is the green leafy part of the plant you boil, drink the juice of and so forth). My juice-sommelier told me that when detoxing the liver via juice, often, he uses milk thistle, however, if you don’t have it (or know what it is like me), you can use dandelions. Furthermore, the newest tea flavour by Traditional Medicinals is dandelion root- Dandelions are dandy!

    • Kate Barnett

      i sautéed dandelion root caps last year and was very pleasantly surprised, but all in all dandelions green are pretty bitter, i think? i keep trying to find out the trick, if it’s the time you pick them, the way you prepare them, or if you just come to like the bitterness. any suggestions??

      • Mia

        I generally boil or steam them, but don’t leave them “al dente,” because the less you cook them, the more bitter they taste.
        Then I drench them in olive oil and lemon juice and ta-da — tasssty!

        The juice that comes from steaming/boiling is not bitter at all- it’s very mild, kind of reminds me of chamomile in flavour.

      • Kirsten

        My Nonna has always cooked dandelion leaves. I can’t remember what we call them in Italian but basically you sauté them with lots of olive oil till they’re well cooked and soft (it should resemble cooked English spinach). We also add dried black olives (the olives are sundried and/or dried out with salt). I sometimes like to add fresh chili and a whole peeled garlic clove, so I can get a bit of the garlic flavour but not actually eat it (doesn’t agree with me).

      • Aapa

        We eat dandelion leaves as a salad with croutons, bacon bits and hard boiled eggs, an interesting bitter & fatty mix. My parents always told me not to pick leaves on plants whose flowers are already grown because they’re too bitter. Maybe ‘young’ dandelion roots are also less bitter?
        (And my grandma will be so happy to know swiss chard is trendy!)

      • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

        Dandelion leaves are a staple in Slovenia: you pick them very early in the year (March and maybe April, the rest of the year, you dream about them), only those that haven’t blossomed yet and are not too large (up to 2 inch). We make salad out of them, by adding cooked potatoes and eggs (and pumpkin seed oil), but you can add anything that will adapt the taste, just like you would with radicchio and other bitter guys …. Beans? Chickpeas? Couscous? Really early in the year, they are not that bitter.

        And when they blossom, you can gather some blooms and cook them with sugar to get a lovely syrup.

  • http://www.anorexicescapades.com/ BougieHippie

    Another great beauty/diet food is cauliflower. Its helps prevent cancer, great for detoxing and anti-inflammatory.

    http://www.anorexicescapades.com

  • http://www.ellaetcetera.com/ Ella

    All hail kale! It’ll never retire its crown in my book.

    xx Ella
    http://www.ellaetcetera.com

  • ClaireUnderwear

    Beets are the new Brussels sprouts.

  • http://www.crashcourseseo.com/ scott

    I have been using the paleo diet introduced to me by Dr. Jack Wolfson http://wolfsonintegrativecardiology.com/ and since then have noticed a huge difference in my lifestyle, with more energy, stamina, and overall life performance.

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Another great piece, Sophie! I loved this one. While all of these are major players for in the healthy food movement here in California (although I guess Californians would argue that this is effectively no movement at all since this is supposedly — at least in the northern region of the state — the capital for all things green in food), I have noticed that the “It” food here for the past couple of years has been the acai berry. In the coastal towns especially acai “shacks” have popped up, and people flock in to buy a not-so-casually priced bowl of berry mush. They are delicious. And I guess acai bowls have completely pushed frozen yogurt aside in the past year because getting frozen yogurt, according to the girl in front of me in history class, “doesn’t even make for a relevant social outing anymore.” I beg to differ.

    OH…..I almost forgot the hemp seed! Those lil seeds are a bona fide member of the Green Foods Society in that they have been used for decades now for food, clothing, and hopefully in the near future, biofuels! Ziggy Marley (who’s surprised?) has a great line of hemp seeds that come in different coatings/flavored. They make an awesome snack.

  • Perry

    Does nobody watch Portlandia? Kale is over. #celery

  • Lucille Official
  • Lelano

    Coconut milk is amazing too :))

  • girlinmenswear

    Spirulina. Tastes like pond scum (because that’s exactly what it is), but apparently is your one stop shop to faultless skin. Add a shot to soup, smoothies, salads etc.

    http://www.girlinmenswear.com

  • hila

    Can you list some coffee places in NYC that have almond milk???

    • sophie

      all locations: stumptown, juice press, whole foods

  • G

    I say out with the grains in with the healthy fats… eat lots of veggies and only the highest quality meat if you choose to eat some. Love cauliflower – “riced” cauliflower…cauliflower “mashed Potatoes”… The possibilities are endless. Oh and Ghee!!!! Ghee is in!!l

  • http://www.livingzbeautifulmix.com Zuma Ayriyan

    I will eat kale salad for lunch, but then I have to have a cupcake with buttercream frosting, or something like that… For now, I am following these rules:
    http://www.livingzbeautifulmix.com/2014/05/the-healthy-living-project-five-things.html

    xx

  • Tess Harrison

    Macrobiotics. Kimye is going to write a macro family cookbook within the next year. Boom.

  • http://www.coolallure.com/ Cool Allure

    Quinoa is really good ! I love chia seeds too!!!The jelly consistency is gross and good for my guts!:))

    http://www.coolallure.com/new-year-new-food-trends/

  • Jess

    Re. Quinoa/Celebrity naming; Reformation have already named a dress Quinoa

  • http://prettyinpython.com Alison Du Pras

    Nut butters are my downfall…what are these serving sizes people keep talking about?
    Kale will always be the queen though !

    Ali
    Pretty in Python
    xx

  • houseofverde

    Love love love this post! & I totally agree with Leandra’s sentiment: “They say you only live once, but if you live (eat) like us, once lasts forever.” <— this is a fact.

    Speaking of eating healthy…(insert shameful self promotion here) my blog:
    http://houseofverde.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.strippedchic.com Shannon

    I wish jalapeños or habañeros would be next. Then we’d see who the TRUE health nuts are

  • Kelly

    MATCHA IS UNDERRATED.

  • http://www.themacadames.com Anisa from The Macadames

    My vote is for anything “activated”. Add that little word to almost anything and you’ll pay at least double! I’m pretty sure it just means soaked right? In essence you’re paying double for soggy produce.

    Anisa from The Macadames. xx

    http://www.themacadames.com

  • Amyzz

    Kale costs $14 where i live and it ain’t even organic :,(

  • http://www.saraconstance.com/ sara constance

    The last phrase touches such an important cord ! I completely agree with it! I was also happy to finally read a fresh and genuine article on the power of superfoods !

    Thank you !

    best wishes,
    Sara Constance
    http://www.saraconstance.com

  • _ANA3ANA

    It’s great eating healthy is the latest trend. hope it last! ha!

  • http://www.lezu.com/ L’ezu

    All of these foods are exactly what we try to eat! definitely staples for any healthy diet. Also, you could not be more accurate about the green juice/workout comment! http://www.LEZU.com

  • http://www.beautysalonsrockhampton.com.au Derry Jones

    Great!! The information about food trends is very interesting. I do have a similar blog with a motto to give quality suggestions and advises to my readers. Thanks for posting :)

    http://www.beautysalonsrockhampton.com.au

  • Health Food

    this articles mainly contains good things. i like this type of food which is tell above articles.this food is very much helpful for health.

  • Sab

    Hot, pink and wrinkly?