Today I went to Kale Me Crazy with a friend. It’s apparently the #1 Juice Bar in the Nation! Despite that accolade, I didn’t try their cold-pressed juices. I came in to try an acai bowl after having heard about them. Needless to say, I will be back to try some of their juices and smoothies.
My friend and I split their kale salad and their acai bowl, and both were delicious! The salad had a ton of delicious add-ons, including quinoa, craisins, carrots, crushed peanuts, and more. The acai bowl was like a sweet smoothie, topped with granola, banana, and coconut, and then drizzled with honey. It’s the type of treat that would make an excellent breakfast.
The menu at Kale Me Crazy is great. It’s packed with delicious smoothies, wraps, salads, and juices. It’s also totally hip, including things like hemp seeds, goji berries, and spirulina. But it got me thinking about how our culture pursues food in crazes and fads.
A couple years ago, coconut was bad for us. Now coconut oil is proscribed in 2 tablespoons per day doses. Quinoa (KEEN-wah) and acai (ah-sigh-EE) were discovered… although people are still discovering how to pronounce them. Kale is practically passe. If you just have a green smoothie, you’re not nearly as committed as someone who juices. The grapefruit diet was followed by Weight Watchers was followed by Atkins was followed by Paleo. (Check out this link here for a good history of fad diets in America: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-diet-timeline-20150228-story.html).
What is it about us that makes us always seek the next thing? Is it the desire for a magic bullet? Is it the rush of a craze? Is it the feeling of being a part of something, no matter how brief, superficial, and short-lived?
Years ago, people knew how to live and eat well. Some people did so and some people didn’t. Today, we still know the same. Some people do so and some people don’t. We know that veggies are good for us and that McDonald’s isn’t top of the list. We know the food pyramid, that we need a myriad of types of food. Eat the rainbow… and I’m not talking just Skittles!
But I want to be clear. There is no good food. There is no bad food. There is just food.
Take fat for example. You need it. You need to eat it; you need to have it on your body. You actually can’t survive without fat. A diet (meaning a way of eating, not a fad) without fat is actually unhealthy, just as a diet with only fat is.
Somehow, we’ve tried to turn food into something that isn’t not. We’ve turned food into a reflection of our worth. We think that if we’re eating kale we’re doing good, and if we’re eating ice cream we’re “bad” or “cheating” or “have to go for a run later to work off those calories.”
How trite! How easy!
It is easier to make your worth dependent on food. Then, after a day of WholeFoods-type eating, you have had a good day. Don’t regard the fact of what happened during your day. Don’t ask whether you loved your neighbor, cared for your co-worker, or smiled at a stranger from the sheer joy of shared human experience. Don’t ask whether you were a better parent, child, sibling, worker, student, writer, dreamer, runner. Ask no questions, and you won’t have to face the harder truths.
Problem is, it doesn’t work. We don’t stick to the fad diets. We measure our worth in food and calories but don’t feel any better at the end of the day. Rather than get stuck on food, we need to get stuck on the things that really matter.
Eat the whole pyramid. Enjoy food. Have your kale and your acai, but not because it makes you a better person. Have salad because you like it, and have chocolate because you like it. And then go use your energies to make the world a better place!
What foods do you like? Any cool foods I need to know about?
What are you going to base your sense of worth on?