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:
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.
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.”
I’m a huge fan of these pureed meals. Why bother chewing if it’s optional.
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 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.
Leandra calls these the Hugh Grant of superfoods. I’d like to see everyone else guess why in the comments below.
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.
…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:
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.”