I have this somewhat useless talent of being able to pick up on food trends.
I couldn’t tell you the next big fashion statement, or the next hot song, or the way the stock market will go, but if you want to know about where the future of food is headed, I’m your gal.
Back in the day I predicted the passion with protein, the fetish with fat-free, and the curb of carbs. More recently I predicted the organic obsession, the local lure, and the kale craze.
What can I say? Some people read palms; I foresee food fads.
When I became vegan in 2004, the people who even knew what that word meant (and there weren’t many of them) thought I had lost my mind. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked, “But where will you get your protein from?”… Or, worse yet, the people who didn’t say anything and just stopped talking to me, muttering “freak” under their breath as they headed for the nearest burger joint.
But this post really isn’t about whether or not to be a carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, or chocolateivore (I made that last one up… all blog posts should mention chocolate at least once). This post is about food trends.
I usually shop at Whole Foods, simply because there are so many wonderful options for me there. Where else can I get a gourmet meal, complete with a fresh salad, a savory hot bar, steaming soup, and some vegan chocolate mousse to top it off (remember, all blog posts should mention chocolate at least once)? But today, it just so happens that another grocery store was on my way home. And, since we only needed a few things, I figured I’d run in there. It had been a while since I shopped at a grocery store besides Whole Foods, and I was pleased with what I saw.
First of all, the “natural foods” section was packed. And I mean, packed! I bonked my cart into someone else’s cart at least half a dozen times. (Although I am great at choosing healthy foods, I’m not so good at cart driving). Next, I noticed that the produce section was bursting with some great-looking, and sometimes organic (!) produce. And better yet, people were buying it! The coffee bar in the store had soy milk. SOY MILK! And, to top it all off, they even had a section for gluten-free products… it was tiny, but it was there! What a beautiful sight!
Of course, Unity’s always been way ahead of its time when it comes to food. We started with a vegetarian lunch program before vegetarians were hip. We were sustainable before sustainability was fashionable. At Unity, families care not only about what’s on their kids plates… but also what kind of plates those are!
Experts say that there isn’t one way of eating that works for everyone, but they can all agree that we should all be eating more vegetables, fruit, and unprocessed foods. And the trend seems to agree! Thanks to national television shows like “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” “The Dr. Oz Show,” and countless shows on the Food Network, people are becoming educated on healthy, sustainable foods. Authors like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser are on the best-seller list. “Food, Inc.” and “Supersize Me” are blockbuster films. Everybody’s catching the sustenance subway, and everyone will benefit from that ride.
So what’s next? Here’s my prediction… the future isn’t only about what we eat. The future is about how we live. Being a junk-food vegan, living off of Doritos and Coke, isn’t where it’s at. The future of food will be about health and harmony. Are we eating sustainably? Are we wasting less? Are we embracing quality over quantity? Are we eating real food that is created by nature and not in a factory? Are we treating food as medicine, recognizing that it has the power to make us sick… or not? Have a conversation with your kids about this. Chances are, they’ve got something to say about the subject. Unity students are way ahead of the trend!
Food is not just food. It’s culture and wellness. It’s health and happiness. I believe that as our food choices improve, our communities in general will be more peaceful, our citizens will live longer and better, and our priorities will shift. We’ll choose people over principles, kinfolk over cash, and giving over greed. We’ll not only add more years to our lives, we’ll add more life to our years.
A pipe dream? Maybe. But the trend is my friend. I haven’t been wrong yet.
Ronni Arno Blaisdell is a Unity mom to a 7th grader and a 5th grader, a member of the Board of Trustees, and the Co-Chair of the Sustainability Committee. Ronni is a Holistic Health Counselor and a writer and contributor to numerous health-related magazines, newsletters, websites, and blogs.