Fashionable Food

Hi guys have your having an awesome week! Thanks for tuning in again to Food For Function.

In today’s post I wanted to highlight something which I thought was a bit interesting. Did you know that fashion and food are in fact very similar?

Have you heard how fashion runs in cycles? So what was old yesterday will refresh and become new today? And what’s new today will become old but will come back and be the latest trend later on.

In other words, today we are wearing clothes that were once fashionable in the 50s, 60s and 70s (I am not really a fashion guru and am not too sure what is trendy now so I listed more decades hoping one would hit!).

So in other words, fashion runs in cycles and trends that are new now, become old, but they usually come back.

Well, what if the same thing actually occurs with our food habits and knowledge? What if what we eat follows the same trend as fashion, and that we simply eat what is popular now?

Old food is as good as new food

I think this is something new that we have only seen in the last 100 years or so but food is taking on a cyclic effect like fashion.

We are told that we should not be eating what we have always been eating, then years down the track they go back on that and say that it was actually really good in the first place.

If you want an example, talk to your parents. My mum grew up on coconut oil. Her family used to use it all the time as was the cultural tradition. But then there was a period in the whole cholesterol debate when all fats and oils were deemed bad.

Now coconut oil is pushed as the new Messiah of foods, that we should all be using coconut oil!

The same deal goes with any traditional forms of eating. Ayurvedic treatment and diets are now becoming popular but these have been eaten by many cultures for a long, long time.

Super foods

Ever heard of the term super foods? It has been around quite a bit now and I am sure you have seen it on TV, on the shelves of stores and so on. I am not the biggest fan of the word to be honest.

In its literal meaning I imagine it simply refers to food rich in essential vitamins and minerals or energy. Basically a food that is super for the body.

But honestly I think it’s just big marketing talk. I mean how many times have you heard about some new super food hitting the shelves or being in the limelight? “A new discovery that could save your life”

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that some of these super foods are in fact great for you, but are not a replacement for an otherwise unhealthy food lifestyle, nor are they sufficient in themselves.

The other thing is, they are in no way new. They have been known about by various cultures that originally ate them for centuries.

Not only that, they have probably been marketed before but have simply faded out of the limelight sufficiently long enough for them to be reintroduced.

Don’t get me wrong, I think super foods are great but they are hardly super. Things like chia seeds, coconut water, and spirulina are considered normal to the cultures that originally consumed that.

Perhaps it is seen as super to us because it is something unusual from an exotic location or because we are comparing it to things like fast food and pastries that have become the yardstick of food to us. In that case it really is super!

But in all honesty I really think that all natural foods are super and provide us with all the nutrients that we need. But because we have complicated things by altering and cooking food, we become amazed that something produced by nature that does not require additional human intervention can be so nutritious.

Why is this happening?

Well think back to fashion, how do fashion trends start? Well it’s usually a few brave trend setters that find something new or knowingly or unknowingly revive something from the past.

When enough people catch on to this we reach what is called the ‘tipping point’ where it becomes the norm and everyone starts doing it. Check out Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point for more on this. It’s a great read.

But what helps the new trend to really hit critical mass is the media, and in a way celebrities. What a celebrity wears gets broadcasted to us through the media and we see it on TV, in magazines, on the newspaper and so on. This helps it reach critical mass as people love to follow celebrities.

This is why celebrities sometimes wear the weirdest things and usually always wear something new. They are constantly approached by designers, retailers, manufacturers and so on and are given free merchandise to wear and promote.

Food is no different. We tend to eat what the media pushes. As well as celebrities, the media pushes the latest information from sources such as doctors, nutritionists and dieticians.

The best example of this was a newspaper article that a friend was discussing with me the other day. The article was describing how people who are distracted whilst driving are dangerous drivers (pretty obvious, I know!). So as a result some university had developed some brand new technique to improve concentration whilst driving.

The technique was to use a computer program that would show people a word then interrupt with multiple other words, whilst prompting the user to focus on the original word.

This is actually nothing new and is a form of meditating; focusing on one object whilst acknowledging the distractions but letting them slide by unnoticed. Meditation has been known about and practiced for eons; it is hardly a new technique.

But what these kinds of scenarios indicate is that our collective memories are short. We seem to have very short memories as a species or are ignorant to the collective information that exists our there.

Our advancement as a civilisation and a global community has propelled in the last 60 years in some of the fastest rates we have seen in a long time. This is due in my opinion to collective knowledge. Through improvements in communication, we are able to share knowledge much easier than we have been able to.

So instead of knowledge dieing with people, there are now many mediums available to be able to pass on that knowledge (its not perfect as knowledge can be misinterpreted).

So how does this tie in with food? Well, the concept s the same with food! Through improved communication we are re-discovering or re-interpreting what we already knew and are advertising it as something ’new’

I don’t really have much else to say, and wasn’t too sure how to end this post, but really I just wanted to highlight this point of food fashion to you which I found quite fascinating. Hope you had a good read, and as always, feel free to add any comments below or on the Facebook page.