A Journey Through Food - Dietary Trends
By Münevver Gürel
“Eating is an act that simultaneously connects and differentiates us from one another.”
Hello my ‘foody’ friends, greetings to all!
This time, I would like to talk about various ‘eating’ or ‘dietary’ trends and how valid or persistent they are in today’s everchanging food system. There are millions of reasons why people eat what they eat and how they eat it. I will just narrow it down to current trends and will talk about ‘meat-free’ dietary options. Before I begin my words, I would like to share some definitions with you, to be certain that everyone knows what I am talking about;
**Vegetarian: a person who does not eat meat or fish, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons (usually eats dairy products and egg).
**Lacto-vegetarian: a person who possesses a vegetarian diet but also eats dairy products (not eggs).
**Ovo-vegetarian: a person who possesses a vegetarian diet but also eats eggs (not dairy).
**Vegan: a person who does not eat meat or fish or any other animal products including honey, dairy or eggs.
**Pescatarian: a person who does not eat meat or poultry but eats fish and seafood.
As you all may have noticed, nowadays specialty diets are ‘popular’ more than ever. We see the ‘gluten-free’, ‘sugar-free’, ‘dairy-free’ and such labels all around. This popularity comes both with positive and negative effects on our food system. Such dietary options should be investigated and implemented very carefully as there are people who are actually suffering from food related physical disorders; such as diary allergies, diabetes and celiac disease.
On the other hand, ‘meat-free’ diets are more ‘optional’ in today’s trends. People choose not to eat meat for both ideological and health related reasons. Ideological reasons include; animal welfare, ecological succession, food surplus, climate change and so on. Health related reasons include; unrestrained use of antibiotics and hormones on poultry, cattle and fish farms. Latter being more in focus of families -especially with young children- and former being more in focus of scientists and environmentalists, both reasons are significantly important. However, today’s biggest problem is that people -especially young adults- do not investigate the ‘meat-free’ diets before they decide to practice them. The ‘trending’ aspect of these diets is more in focus for young people, especially if a celebrity they admire is practicing any of these dietary implementations. This causes many negative judgments on sociological aspect of these dietary choices. People believe that ‘meat-free’ or ‘plant-based’ diets are ‘unhealthy’ because we do not gain enough protein, vitamins and minerals. This prejudgment comes from illiterate dietary implementations which causes health problems such as deficiencies, malnutrition, weight lost and obesity.
Research shows that especially vegan diet may cause B12 vitamin deficiency if not applied consciously. Changing one’s diet is a significant issue and should be done by consulting to a nutrition specialist. If these implementations are made properly, then they would be beneficial both for the personal wellbeing and for the environment.
The biggest concern I have heard is that; “I am a true meat lover and these dietary choices are not for me.”. Before you decide to make such a change in your diet and in your life, you must do a research on why do you want to do this. Human beings are omnivores and this means we can survive both by eating only plant-based foods, only meat or a combination of both. It means that you will not die from B12 deficiency if you find the right replacements. Therefore, if you know your reasons and if you would like to try a plant-based or meat-free diet, you can ask your favorite restaurant or café to prepare you an alternative dish of your choice. Our lovely chef Maria is offering delicious plant-based food and dessert options at the Home Café. I would suggest you to check out the menu and see when there is a meat-free dish on the menu next and give it a try. Do it for yourself, not because Miley Cyrus does!
Thank you all and see you in June!