I’m Pretty Sure Quinoa is a Wellness Lie
08.04.17

“KEE-no-ah,” my mother pronounced with unprecedented elocutionary relish as she ladled a scoop of sand onto my dinner plate. “It’s a complete protein! All nine essential amino acids.”

This encounter took place in 2010. “TiK ToK” was the #1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100. I was wearing boyfriend jeans and a statement necklace. My guts were about to digest quinoa for the very first time. It would take me years to realize what I know now in chilling hindsight: As I picked up my fork to take my inaugural bite, I was on the precipice of contributing to the demise of my own sanity.

I swallowed the aforementioned bite and, reader, I told myself I liked it. From 2010 to 2016, I participated in the quinoa trend with gusto. I drank the miracle grain Kool-Aid. I incorporated it into my meals. I enjoyed its subtly nutty flavor. I requested it atop my salads and beside my grilled proteins. I waxed poetic about its amino acids.

Then, about nine months ago, I had a terrifying epiphany.

I was standing in line at Sweetgreen, about to order my usual quinoa grain bowl. My friend was standing in front of me and placed her order first. “I’ll have a grain bowl with kale and rice please,” she said. Rice!? I swallowed my skepticism. As I watched a heaping scoop of warm wild rice settle into her bowl, the smell of it wafted toward me. I felt my mouth fill with saliva.

“That rice looks good,” I said. “Really good.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I used to get the quinoa. Then I realized I don’t like quinoa.”

Her proclamation hit me like a sucker punch between the eyelids awoke something inside my subconscious. I DON’T LIKE QUINOA. Had I tricked myself into thinking I liked it because it was healthy? Or had I developed some sort of twisted Stockholm syndrome as a result of everyone around me being so obsessed with it? When I confronted the question of whether I really, truly enjoyed the taste, the answer was a resounding no — especially compared to other, far more delicious grains like farro, wheatberries and steel cut oats, all of which have become increasingly prevalent of late.

Not prevalent enough, however. Quinoa still reigns supreme. I couldn’t believe how blind I had been to the sheer magnitude of its penetration, growing and growing like an infectious weed, staking a claim on our Instagram feeds, dinner plates and pre-packed grocery store items. The irony isn’t lost on me that only after admitting my distaste did I realize it was impossible to escape. I can barely sit down at a New York restaurant and order a meal without encountering it in some form or shape.

It has also managed to infiltrate a whole host of formerly wonderful foods:

+ Hush puppies
+ Pizza
+ Risotto
+ Fried rice
+ Pancakes
+ Sushi
+ Cookies
+ Muffins
+ Rice Krispie Treats

Is nothing sacred?

It’s worth noting that by fanatically deciding quinoa should be an ingredient in every meal, recipe and mother-effing spa treatment, the demand has wreaked havoc on some countries’ economies in the process. According to The Guardian, global demand for the grain “has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it.” In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken.

Be real with me: Do we (and by we I mean you) actually like quinoa THAT much? Or is the hype misleading your tastebuds? Whether you genuinely enjoy it or not, you have to admit we’ve over-indexed. I propose that we stage a coup before it’s too late, by which I mean aggressively disseminate free samples of freshly-cooked farro at Whole Foods until someone kicks us out.

Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.

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  • Micah Lpez

    After reading this article, nothing seems real to me anymore. Do I even like my mother ?!?

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      hahahahahaha

    • Harling Ross

      LOL

  • Abby

    I’ve been trying to like quinoa for ages now, but I’ve finally given up. Shits gross.

  • Lady Grinning Soul

    I absolutely LOVE quinoa. I do it in so many different ways. Anyway you give me, I’ll eat it.
    There’s a quinoa and sweet potato burger here in Luxembourg where I live. I hate veggie burgers but this one… SO GOOD.

  • Adrianna

    I rarely order quinoa, because I don’t think people cook it properly, or long enough. I discovered quinoa back in 2007, before it really hit the masses. I ate like a 10 year old back then, and was hardly concerned with adding superfoods when dinner consisted of a bag of potato chips and orange soda. I thought quinoa was pretty filling.

    Cooking quinoa: bring water up to a boil. Turn off the stove. Allow the quinoa to steam until it “opens up” from its shell.

  • spicyearlgrey

    i luv any grain tbh. luv me some wholesome carbbbbsssss

  • Hayley

    Quinoa is also grown unsustainably in Peru. It saps out soil nutrients (that do not get replenished through field rotations with legumes) and causes salinization of the soil. It also requires A LOT of water to grow.

  • Rachel D.

    AMEN

  • angela

    omg that bowl of quinoa looks so good tho

    • Harling Ross

      hahaha yeah it does i’ll admit

  • I like quinoa. Actually, I L O V E quinoa. Especially for breakfast with maple syrup, blueberries and a peach! I could care less about all that other stuff.

  • Tess

    Conspiracy: Quinoa caught on because of its name. Has a nice ring to it, no? Plus, (at least at the very beginning) you could feel posh and elitist because /you/ knew the proper pronunciation.

  • Paula Rodio

    When will we learn moderation?

  • Mae Copeland

    I kid you not, I had this same realization last night as I was force feeding myself a garbage bowl consisting mainly of quinoa, kale, and hummus. Thanks to you, I don’t have to hide anymore. I don’t like quinoa!!!!!!

  • Anne Dyer

    I run from mob mentalities. Call it a blessing or a curse, it is either the best or worst thing about me. I have never eaten quinoa. And I live in LA so I’m really bucking the trend.

  • Thamsa

    When cooked properly, quinoa can be a nice alternative to rice for some (I personally don’t care for rice unless it’s Jollof). But I lost interest a few years ago as I found it too expensive. I an be nice in a cold summer salad, but I’ve realised it’s something I can live without 🙂

  • Andrea Raymer

    I love quinoa. but I have always hated rice. only recently have I begun to eat it voluntarily. I hated it so much that it was always my go-to food when we were learning food vocabulary in Spanish class and had to go around the room saying “No me gusto…”

    Quinoa is a much more preferable alternative.

    • Kat

      I used to hate rice, and now I buy the microwave packets of brown rice and stir a little olive oil and salt through before eating… it’s so much better!

  • Julia

    The real issue is not that quinoa is bad, its that rice is SO DAMN GOOD (Especially fluffy white rice drenched in butter and a little salt. Or risotto!!). Asian and pacific island cultures have sustained countless generations on rice as their primary starch. I refuse to believe that it’s evil!

    • gracesface

      yaaaaas rice is okay!!!

  • Hil

    I like quinoa but I don’t want to eat it in any of those things you listed.

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      same

  • Ana

    I am registering as a commenter for the first time to make this recommendation – cook it in light chicken stock instead of water. SO much better.

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      Def! And fry a little garlic in the pan before cooking!

    • Adrianna

      Agree 100%

    • Harling Ross

      WELCOME!! and thank you for the rec

  • Lucy Smith

    I love quinoa! I ate it last night tossed in an arugula and goat cheese salad and thought, this is the best thing ever:)

  • Dymond Moore

    I think the texture is just awful. My mom cooks it and then no one eats it because it gets stuck in your teeth so it just gets thrown out. Thank god someone said something. Can we do this with other things that a lot of people like, but it’s really not that great? Like kale and avocado toast? Or go into another category like Racked did with Maybelline Great Lash (bleh).

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    I love quinoa actually! But to be fair, I usually make it with white beans and mushrooms, fried in garlic and bacon grease so…

  • Meg Kuhagen

    Wheat berries forever

    • Harling Ross

      should i get this tattooed on my body pls advise

      • Meg Kuhagen

        girl, matching – let’s

  • Maren Douglas

    Team no quinoa!! Relate v much to the epiphany that quinoa is quite possibly .. the worst

  • tmm16

    I feel like I’m in the minority here but is anyone else tired of having this “wellness” trend everywhere? I went to the doctor and he said I’m well, so I don’t get why I need to be well-er? It causes too much anxiety.

    • Harling Ross
    • I like wellness when it equates actual WELLNESS – wearing sunscreen, getting some exercise, choosing veggies, etc….

      I’m completely and totally over the wellness trend though. Seriously, we do not need to be getting stung by bees on purpose. http://www.vogue.com/article/gwyneth-paltrow-apitherapy-bee-stings-treatment

      • gracesface

        100% agree with you. About 6 months ago I just plain burned out on it. VICE just put up this “fighting words” post titled, “Clean Eating Is Toxic” and I kind of love it. https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/zmvwb4/eating-clean-wont-make-you-any-healthier #articlebuddies

        • MJ

          I have hardly read a more idiotic article than the one you linked. Let it be known, that by “idiot” I refer to somebody who is willingly ignorant.

          Yes, clean eating is a billion dollar industry. But it so happens to be that the only reason “clean eating” emerged in the USA in the first place, is because, after second world war, Green Agriculture (mass scaled, plumbed with synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, sponsored by oil companies) was implemented. Today, we are only coming to a mild understanding of the environmental and health issues this conveys.

          To deny that pesticides and refined foods (idiotic lucky charm eater, I call that author), are bad for health, is plain ignorance. Pesticides have been proven to eradicate human gut-flora which, as proven by science, is essential to maintaining a stable physical and mental health.

          I wish all food could be “clean”. Guess what, less than a century ago, all food was !

        • Cristina

          thanks for linking that, it was a great read! It’s exactly how I have been feeling lately and no lie, today I was thinking about how stressful it is to try and fit into this box to buy locally grown foods and I was like, why am I doing this? The answer- it makes me feel somehow, better than those who don’t. That’s dumb cause GIRL you know you can crush an entire bag of Doritos and never turn down pizza. OY.

          • gracesface

            Tonight at the store my cart contained frozen pizza, frozen veggies, my beloved Eggo waffles, and avocados (for the husband). I’m happier eating a bigger variety of foods. I like belonging to a CSA when I can afford it but it is often a A LOT veggies and I can rarely cook all of them. I have a few metrics for success for myself: cooking at home, making my own coffee, using things up before grocery shopping – those habits are more important to me than JUST what type of food I eat. And god do I love pizza.

          • Cristina

            I followed the other links and realized we have totally had a comment convo similar to this, which makes me feel like we would be great friends in real life haha.
            Those are great metrics! I’m trying to pinpoint when mine became skewed, and not good enough. Gosh, I remember in college, I used to eat an Activia yogurt every morning, with some pure cranberry juice. Did I have any health or digestive issues? No.
            Fast forward 10 years and here I am now, with digestive issues that I’m sure have been caused by my ridiculous yo-yo dieting (a whole other story) and quest to be the healthiest person on the planet apparently (eye roll emoji). I buy grass-fed plain organic yogurt and sweeten it with homemade fruit sauce and I hate it. I either choke it down or it gets tossed out. I bought some vanilla greek yogurt from TJ’s (which I allow myself as an occasional “splurge” oyyy…) and I was like, this. is. HEAVEN. Why am I forcing myself to eat something I don’t like?! That has to be some kind of up and coming disorder lol.
            Also, I haven’t joined a CSA because I pretty much hate most vegetables. I like bell peppers, onions and bok choy. Green beans. That’s about the extent. I didn’t grow up in a fresh veggie house. I grew up in a house that made a lot of rice and pasta dishes so they would streeeetchhhhhh. And yet, due to outside influences, I constantly berate myself and feel guilt that I don’t eat enough greens or veggies.
            ANYWAY I say all that to say thanks for commenting, i love your perspective and input, and it helps me too 🙂

          • gracesface

            We DID have this conversation once before! I didn’t recognize your new avatar pic. You seem like such a nice person, Cristina! 🙂 And I totally agree with you that forcing ourselves to eat stuff is the wooooorst. I felt the same way about kombucha and smoothies! Do you like carrots? Those are a good gateway veggie and I do think that dark leafy greens have their purpose but it isn’t the end all be-all, ya know?

            Now I’m on to actually choose and stick to an exercise plan for the first time in yeaaaaaars without the mental chatter of the wellness community in my ears…eek!

    • Jac

      there was a great article on the wellness/”clean” eating trend in the nyt recently, key takeaway being that eating clean is essentially just a diet that refuses to use that word and instead acts like a moral imperitive (which then contributes to the stigma of overweight people for being lazy, inherently bad people with no self-control):
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/magazine/weight-watchers-oprah-losing-it-in-the-anti-dieting-age.html

    • I’m so freaking tired of the trend, too! We’re all gonna die anyway, so might as well enjoy a cheesy burger.

  • sara_math

    quinoa sucks. and so does kale. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Autumn

      Preach, sister. Kale is a garnish, not food.

  • la croix boix

    i’ve been staring at “KEE-no-ah” for a while and if this is right I’ve been pronouncing it like a hillbilly

    • Kat

      Right?! I though it was KEE-noir…

  • Bea

    Great article! I’m so glad you mentioned the issue with quinoa and its price increase in Perú and Bolivia. In 2014 I met a Peruvian girl who told me about this and I decided to reduce my quinoa consumption ever since. It still surprises me how most self-proclaimed health gurus and environmentally responsible people either don’t know about it or don’t care about the conditions in which quinoa is produced. Apart from this, there are so many other healthy grains! It’s unnecessary to eat quinoa every other day.

  • Sheila T.

    the sweetgreen wild rice blend is so so good and is 10 times better than any quinoa could ever be

  • alicia

    ~nerd alert~ there’s pretty good evidence that rising quinoa prices actually increased welfare among farmers and rural communities in quinoa growing areas of South America. which is cool! The Guardian article is from 2013, and got a lot of attention – but a couple of economists investigated the issue (and published a paper) disproving some of their claims. here’s the link if anyone has nothing to do on their friday afternoon: http://marcfbellemare.com/wordpress/11813

  • true

    Quinoa makes me super bloated!

  • s_knucks

    I’m Peruvian. I grew up eating quinoa for breakfast. Cooked with plenty of butter, like grits, because that’s how my grandma made it. So can we please stop these stupid counter-trend pieces about how gross quinoa is and how you don’t like the taste? To me this might as well be an article complaining about how much you hate tomatoes or something (“god why are they on salads everywhere??? yuck!”) Because Peruvians have been eating it and depending on it as a staple basically forever. Just because it suddenly became popular in the US isn’t the quinoa’s fault; damn!

    Personally I think it’s delicious if cooked right. But i also see that the red variety is super popular in restaurants and americans tend to undercook it so it’s generally hard and unpleasant, like the worst wild rice you’ve ever had. I suppose they think this makes it “feel” healthier, but it just sucks. No, quinoa is supposed to be soft and delicious, like tasty white rice. And very little of it fills you up. Not a “super food” but definitely a damn sight healthier than other carbs.

    But i suppose I should be glad white girls are starting to realize they don’t like quinoa. Like someone else mentioned, the popularity in quinoa has caused a lot of problems with growers in Peru, and the prices over there have skyrocketed. Poorer people in rural areas can’t often afford the quinoa they grow, so they turn to shitty processed food instead. Again–I think the reaction to this is not “fuck quinoa” but to start exclusively buying it from certified fair trade companies. And holding places like sweetgreen accountable for sourcing it from said companies. Still, I’ll be glad if the craze dies down so i can stop having to hear bloggers’ intrepid opinions about how “overrated” my beloved quinoa is. More quinoa for me!

    • Harling Ross

      Hey, I totally hear you. I would never presume to blame quinoa for my personal, not-at-all universal dislike of it — because everyone has foods they like or don’t like and that isn’t the food’s fault! Rather, I my intention in writing this was to poke fun at myself for convincing myself that I liked it for so long. I also wanted to be sensitive to the fact that the U.S.’s demand has wreaked havoc on other countries’ economies in the process as you mentioned, which is why I referenced the article in The Guardian. I agree with your point about exclusively buying quinoa from certified fair trade companies. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

    • Bo

      This is a great comment – love your perspective

    • Erica Del Aguila

      Yes! Milk or fresh cheese, then cook for a looong time. 90% of the quinoa in restaurants is dry, undercooked, and flavorless so I can see why y’all would think it’s gross!

    • MJ

      Wonderful point of view.

  • *raises hand*

    I legitimately like the stuff, but I’m a hardcore grains girl who prefers most meals to be in “pile” form. One of my go-to breakfasts is a heap of quinoa topped with a fried egg and whatever veggies I have on hand. When asked to bring a side to a gathering, I default to making some sort of quinoa salad and my efforts are always met with lots of ooh’s and ah’s about how good it is. Before my quinoa-hating boyfriend moved in, I ate the stuff for dinner once or twice a week.

    To be fair, quinoa is a HIGHLY overrated grain…why aren’t we celebrating it’s equally healthy cousin bulgur wheat? It is also stupid expensive if you don’t buy it in a 5lb bag at Costco like I do.

    • Harling Ross

      i love bulgur!!!!!

    • It’s fairly affordable at Aldi for those going the non-bulk route. I also legitimately like it, I make a lot of meal prepped “salad” type dishes to get me through the work week. Certainly going to steal your breakfast egg idea, that sounds yummy.

  • Kay Nguyen

    I never like quinoa, like cmon, it doesn’t taste good and the texture is kinda weird! Rice on the other hand is soooooooooooo good (maybe because I’m an Asian) but rice tastes at least 100 times better <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Autumn

    When I make fried rice I use half rice, half quinoa (accidental discovery) and it comes out fluffy and creamy. And is awesome. Quinoa by itself? I just feel ‘meh’ about it.

  • Quinoa is not worth the hype IMO. I’ve been trying to convince myself for years that I like it, but like your friend, at the end of the day I’d much rather have rice in my grain bowl. I can see why vegetarians might rely on it being a complete source of protein and all that… so I’ll leave it for them.

  • Rae

    I HATE quinoa! One time I bought a salad that had quinoa hiding under all the greens without reading the ingredients, and I will never get over it.

  • Haha I love this! I had a similar realization a couple years back. Quinoa is just not for me, and it’s awesome to hear someone else say it too.

  • Rachel

    I used to refuse to eat quinoa having never tried it (I’m one of those people who believes they don’t like something having never tasted it before). When I finally did try it I really enjoyed quinoa. However reading this I began thinking maybe I don’t actually like quinoa that much, I just like all the other delicious things I put into a quinoa salad. Quinoa is just the healthy filler you put in to eat with peppers, beans, cranberries, feta cheese, etc.

    Also wheatberries are the BEST!! Those I legitimately love and I have the best broccoli wheatberry salad recipe that I pretty much make every week for my lunches and I have yet to grow tired of it.

  • Ashley Hamilton

    This is important I’m glad you shared.

    • Harling Ross

      thank you for the support

  • lillian c.

    my mom puts it in granola and it’s delish but i think people are just using it WRONG/ making it wrong.

  • Courtney Johnson

    Never could get into it, nothing makes me feel more like a bird.

  • I like white rice the most. I’m so Chinese lol.

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Liz Root

    I genuinely like quinoa, but not to the extent I put it in everything or have to eat it everyday. The biggest appeal is the fact that I can throw a quinoa bowl together before I go to bed and have lunch for the next day.

  • Shevaun

    I fucking hate quinoa.

    My mom is always trying to get me to eat it. NO THANKS. I’ll stick to my white rice.

    Edited to add: I also hate kale.

  • gracesface

    Quinoa destroys my stomach. Not eating it anymore thank god.

    • Cordelia

      Me too. I’m so allergic to it (though I didn’t figure it out until after three very terrible times) and it’s everywhere – in everyone’s salads, sides, cereal, etc. 🙁

  • Clairebear

    I loved it when I first tried quinoa, I worked on an organic farm with an on-staff chef that would make us lunch every day. Then a few years later, I had a bad reaction to it, stomach cramps lasting all night. I am guessing it wasn’t washed properly, and they didn’t rinse off the saponins. It happened again a few months later, and I may have grown an intolerance to it.

    I think this might be the most bourgeois food intolerance ever. Make sure to rinse your quinoa, kids!

  • I prefer quinoa to rice actually. To me it has more flavour and I like that it’s smaller/easier to chew (rice gets stuck between my teeth, especially white rice, but quinoa kind of pops in my mouth). Also it’s easier to cook than rice.

  • Julia

    LOL I can’t stand it. Everyone is always blown away when I say it. I’m also convinced I’m a little allergic to it. But maybe that’s just my dislike becoming a physical symptom.

  • DA

    My mom read about the crisis in Peru and being the I love everyone hippie (sometimes to a fault) that she is, she stopped buying it and stopped me as well. And I’m glad, because no amount of essential amino acids (even all 9 of them) can justify starving those who already live lives much harder than ours. I have since renewed my love affair with eggs, the other complete protein in my life. And its far cheaper.

  • Kelsey

    Chia seeds! Chia seeds are DEFINITELY a wellness lie. Pretty sure you’d have to eat huge quantities of chia seeds per day to see any type of nutritional benefit, and if you eat a normal level of vegetables (which, if you’re the type of person who eats chia seeds, YOU DO) then you’re already getting everything you need.

    Disclaimer – I 100% fell for this trend and put them in freaking everything until someone pointed out that the only thing you’re achieving by eating chia seeds is pooping out undigested chia seeds. And then I realized I already spend enough money at Whole Foods without having flavorless seeds that I’m going to poop out anyway on my grocery list.

  • Jeanie

    The first time I had quinoa was at the Sanford Cafeteria while I was teaching at a kids summer tech camp. I’ve never heard of it and had no idea what it was, but I loved it! Quinoa is either good or meh depending on how it’s made.

    Wellness trends just furthers the confusion around health and diet though. Most food isn’t in itself healthy or unhealthy. It’s how much of it you eat and your personal digestion (food sensitivities etc.) that affects your health. I don’t see rice as unhealthy. It just has too much calories per volume for the mostly sedentary person that I am to consume regularly.

  • MJ

    Quinoa is not a wellness lie. I do agree the hype is out of hands and, as a vegan, I am preeeeeetty much bored with having THE vegan option at any menu to include some warping of quinoa.

    But I am also bored with the bashing of health initiatives by dissonant media. Quinoa is a rich food used as a staple starch in the Andes for thousands of years. It is good and heart warming when properly repared (which is often not the case in restaurants where it be either overcooked or fermented during summer and heat).

    Please, don’t bash on quinoa just because you fell for a fad.

  • Maybe the hype made you like quinoa first and the pressure to keep choosing it in lieu of others grains made you dislike it again?? Just a thought haha. Where I live we’re not big on ‘food trends’ plus I don’t have instagram, so I had no idea quinoa was THAT healthy haha I just heard it’s sorta good for you and I quite like it. In general, I think it’s not exactly healthy to feel pressured to radically substitute foods in your diet for ~SUPERFOODS~ (if you don’t like them). My family has been eating white rice (father’s side) and on my mother’s side white bread (the horror!) with lots of cheese (even worse!) for generations, and all of them are very healthy, skinny and lived to an old age. I think a healthy relationship to moderate eating, and ENJOYING what you eat is essential, not the number of essential amino acids on your plate.

  • Ciccollina

    First of all, I never ate quinoa because I don’t like it.

    Secondly, this – “has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it” – has been the reason I am super smug about not eating it for the last few years.

  • Néo Bourgeois — Christum

    Probably would work well after a long hike in the bush. Stick to Frosted Flakes in Trumpcounty ( NYC ). So not Free over there.

  • Lucinda Bayly

    I ate the most delicious quinoa for lunch one day. Ended up contracting some strange stomach virus late that night that landed me in hospital for 2 days. Convinced myself it was the quinoa. Convinced myself I am allergic. Tell everyone I’m allergic. Now no one can ever judge me for not eating quinoa. Never going to eat quinoa again.

    • Cristina

      LOL! Not about the illness, but about your fail safe reason to tell people why you don’t eat quinoa. I kinda wanna use it haha!

  • Sis

    I’m Italian and here millenials and rich urban 30/40 something are getting obsessed with expensive trendy food, the mediterranean diet (the real one, not the stereotype for tourists) has some of the cheapest and healthiest food in the world but..”hey, everybody on the social media is talking about quinoa, it must be better…or at least cooler!”…

    • M Catastrophe

      So true! I think Mediterranean countries have a culture of food that makes me really jealous. What I like in it is not only the quality of the ingredients, but also the way it respects the seasons (I go crazy when it's fiori di zucca season again!), local products or the values of the community.
      Did you know the Mediterranean diet is actually protected by Unesco?

      I think most modern food trends are based on totally unsunstainable production models. Quinoa is just an example, but the increase in the consumption of some products in the west in response to fancy Instagram trends brings about huge imbalances in food markets, local populations and the environment. Ever heard of blood avocados or the increasing deforestation in countries such us Argentina and Brazil due to soybean plantations?

      It worries me that the food wisdom of some countries like Italy disappears to silly trends that promise to be healthy and sustainable, but not really.

  • nell

    The stuff is fine but it’s definitely time for an end to quinoa hegemony. I think farro and bulgur wheat are better, although nutritionally they’re not really the same. Freekeh is another yummy grain that is becoming more accessible (pretty sure we have Ottolenghi to thank for that). Also teff, amaranth, and more (find the Bob’s Red Mill section at your grocery store and go nuts). We have a ridiculously diverse array of foods from all over the world available to us, more than at any time in history — it’s crazy to eat quinoa every day with all that deliciousness happening!

  • Amelia

    Oh my god I detest quinoa and I’ve finally stopped eating it after months of trying to convince myself I liked it because wellness or whatever

  • I know this may be unpopular, but I would like to add acai bowls to the list of ‘things I told myself I like but which I actually hate’. I don’t like the sweetness, the coldness or the fact that they’re not solid food. I don’t know what I was thinking.

    • Cristina

      We don’t really have Acai bowls here in the midwest/great plains.. I literally don’t get why people want a smoothie. In a bowl. With toppings. Like, what?! lol!

      • Yeah they are the weirdest trend. Smoothies in a glass aren’t even that great, but the bowl thing and the stupid insta-ready arrangement of stripy toppings. We’re all kidding ourselves.

  • deee_cue

    Brown rice is so, so underrated.

  • Cristina

    I’m catching up on MR.. and this article is just everything. I whole-heartedly agree and happen to be a non-quinoa eater. One thing I noticed one day is that I don’t actually like carrots plain. I would munch on baby carrots from whatever “eating plan” i was on and finally I was like “why the eff am I eating these?!”. Now, I happily dip them into rannnchhhhh. Or some other delicious dip from Trader Joes.

  • Lexi Andrews

    PLEASE write about how people choose “aesthetic” over actually eating right !! I feel like you or any of the other writers could cover this topic so well hahah like how people eat acai bowls for breakfast even though they can be so damn sugary for you but who cares bc it’ll look “aesthetic pleasing” on an instagram story lol