Culinary Trends That Are Changing the Industry
When you debate about which restaurant to visit, you probably go through a laundry list of food choices that features cuisines from around the world. Do you want pizza or burgers? Curry or sushi? A sandwich or a burrito? Buffet, fast food, or a sit-down restaurant? And while there are certainly a wide variety of options for eating out, the landscape of modern dining has been undergoing a healthy renovation right under your very nose. With the government looking to polish up its tarnished image by demanding healthier fare in schools, overhauling the food pyramid, and outlawing trans fats, several new types of foods and diets have emerged as hallmarks to a generation that is tossing the chips and sodas in favor of foods that are generally more nutritious and sometimes bizarrely alternative.
1. Organics. You’ve probably seen organic foods in the grocery store or heard that they are “healthier” than the items you normally buy. These claims may or may not be true, but here are the facts. Organic produce differentiates itself in the following ways: fruits and vegetables are grown without any chemicals, which means no pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or harmful fertilizers will touch them, while meats are humanely raised, fed organic grain, and given no hormone injections or antibiotics. This basically equates to a complete removal of chemicals from your foods, which is probably a healthy choice in the long run.
2. Flexitarian. This unique and rapidly spreading diet is mostly vegetarian. It allows consumers the freedom to eat meat occasionally (lean meats like chicken and fish are recommended, although red meats that are high in protein and iron can be consumed up to twice a week), while ingesting a predominantly vegetarian diet.
3. Macrobiotics. This is a big word for a no-meat diet. But it differs from the standard vegetarian or vegan diet in that it relies heavily on brown rice and whole grains, while limiting the intake of fruits and vegetables to certain items that must be eaten in soup form. Additionally, animal products (eggs, dairy) are discouraged, along with items that are high in fat, and strangely, cold foods.
4. Raw foods. Just the opposite of macrobiotics, this diet demands that food be prepared without cooking. Acceptable items include fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, grains, and the like, none of which can be heated to above 116 degrees Fahrenheit at the risk of destroying enzymes that aid in digestion and absorption, or the “life force” of the food.
5. Instinctive eating. This fringe diet (sometimes referred to as Instincto) also requires that foods be raw, but unlike the raw-food diet, it allows for the consumption of animal products. That’s right, you can eat eggs, meat, insects, pretty much whatever you want as you want it…provided it’s raw. The other part of the diet is a bit strange, especially in a culture where the norm is to plan out meals. People who choose this diet are encouraged to eat what they desire at any given moment, and this is determined by smelling (or when acceptable, tasting) the foods on hand. Plus, foods can’t be mixed, spiced, or anything of the sort. They are literally eaten as is.