The Five Most Obnoxious Food Movements

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guygonecaveman.com
We truly live in a golden age of food awareness. Where once Americans ate whatever grew or grazed around them, we now find a nation of extra-regional culinary tribes; whole dietary religions based on what food we should or shouldn't put in our bodies, how we prepare it, and how we obtain it. Then again, most of us just eat. And from the outside, the most dogmatic food movements can appear slightly, oh, silly. Some more than others. 

1. Paleolithic diet
Also known as the "caveman diet," this back-to-basics nutritional scheme excludes everything that our hunter-gatherer ancestors couldn't kill, uproot or suck out of a dead animal's eye cavity for themselves. In: meat, fruits, vegetables, roots and nuts. Out: grains, beans, dairy products, salt and chocolate martinis.
We see two obvious problems with "going Paleo." For starters, it would make dining in any worthwhile restaurant highly impractical:
You: "Hey, you wanna try out Beckett's Table?"
Me: "I dunno. Do they make anything without salt, sugar or dairy in it?"
Yeah, eff that. Plus, if we took the Paleo diet to its logical extreme, our daily meal would have to include maggots, a gulp of Listeria-tainted drinking water, and probably the ceremonial consumption of raw, hot Neanderthal livers. And there's no way we eat that stuff without salt.

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funkyartqueen.blogspot.com

2. Freegans or Opportunivores
Profiled by New Times reporter Niki D'Andrea in 2009, these glorified dumpster-divers make like human raccoons, picking half-finished, coffee-ground-flecked hot dogs and the like from the trash bins behind your favorite restaurants and delis. Not so much obnoxious as mind-blowingly foul, the freegan movement is partly claimed by so-called "fermentation fetishists" and forager/survivalist types who also dine on road-kill.
True story: The founder of a Tennessee-based opportunivore meet-up group called the Green Path paid the ultimate price for his found-food passions, succumbing to a tape-worm infection. That's what we call a "PR fail. "

3. Raw Foodism
The pointed "ism" suffix should be a dead giveaway of the obnoxious doctrinal rigidness to come. Not that we have a problem with raw food. Great with dips, quite refreshing after a hike and, hey, who doesn't love a little sashimi? But for three squares a day? We don't care if cooking food above 104 degrees does degrade enzymes or engender harmful toxins or whatever the rawist pseudoscience dictates -- it just sounds like no bloody fun whatsoever.
It's interesting to note that not all raw foodists are vegan or vegetarians; a subgroup of carnivorous raw foodists practice an all-raw-meat diet. (Reeeeeal good intestinal health in that population, we bet.) There are also all-fruit "fruitarians." Evidently both Gandhi and Idi Imin were fruitarians. Try to figure that one out.

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ameliascakes.com

4. Food patriotism
This is just a euphemism for the locavore movement, which is actually not obnoxious at all unless taken to silly extremes (i.e. "hydroponic Meyer lemons from Queen Creek"). But "food patriotism" makes it sound like some kind of rebranding effort to suck up to the Alan Jackson crowd. So it makes the list.

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flickr.com

5. Molecular gastronomy
Now, we love Binkley's in Cave Creek as much as the next bourgeois middle-class striver. And, admittedly, we did surrender a little squeal of delight when the server delivered our fried okra in a ranch dressing foam amuse. The problem with molecular gastronomy - more a cooking discipline than a food "movement" - is that it doesn't take the whole better-eating-through-science thing far enough. Foams, polymerized pear yolk and candied lattices of pork fat are great, but science can do better.
Which is why Chow Bella is proud to break the news of the world's first restaurant specializing in the emerging field of "sub-molecular gastronomy": the CERN Large Hadron Bistro in Switzerland. Conceived in tandem with Napa's French Laundry, the bistro will feature such mouth-watering metaphysical oddities as dark matter-encrusted chicken custard brulee that exists inside and outside your stomach at the same time, and a relativistic cauliflower soup with heavy-ion cream that you literally eat with your eyes. 

Rumor has it that CERN researchers are also cooking up something with faster-than-light tachyon beams and seared pork belly. Stay tuned.

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19 comments
Noah Wareman
Noah Wareman

I'd love to see a "Paleo" restaurant open up nearMesa, AZ. I think there may be a market for it. Although I agree that many foodmovements are obnoxious (i.e., vegetarian, raw food, etc.), I think that thefree market will provide whatever demand is placed on it (as long as the state cankeep its nose out of it).

Regarding the "Paleo Diet," this is actually ahealthy diet. If you track the modern hunter-gatherer diet of aboriginalpeoples over the past couple of hundred years (which there is a lot of good dataon), you will find that most of the "diseases of western civilization" starteffecting these populations along with the westernization of their diet. And,when westerners adopt these hunter-gatherer diets, their health has improved.

It certainly makes sense that our bodies adapted throughmillions of years of evolution, based on what was available to eat. And, it isonly in the past 10K years or so that grains, etc. were added to the diet andonly the past few hundred that ultra refined grains & sugars became so prevalent.

The conventional wisdom of the evils of saturated and otherfats being scientifically linked to heart disease is questionable at best. Irecommend anyone interested in diet and the science behind it to read GaryTaubes, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" or "Why We Get Fat."The conventional wisdom that supports the "Food Pyramid," lowfat/high complex carb theories are not backed up by the science. In fact, thescientific data points to a more fat/protein and low carb diet as being thehealthiest and that Atkins (who based his diet on the same existing scientificdata of his time) was right after all.

More studies need to be done, but there is enough datato seriously question the almost religious and non-scientific dogmas advocating what the“experts” tell us is healthy.

Personally, my blood work  from a heart healthy standpoint (as recent studies also support) hasimproved dramatically since I have nearly eliminated grains and most othercarbs from my diet.

One complaint I have of the Paleo movement is the anti-man,anti-industrial revolution, anti-capitalist, ignorant 60's mentality of hippies that havesome affinity for primal man. I also think that most of the "Paleo" proponents ignore the fact thatfruits are high in sugars. Not just sucrose, but high in fructose, too. Thisinterplays with insulin, which depending on your metabolism can make you fat oreven obese and can make even thin people "unhealthy."

My two cents.

Bondi5000
Bondi5000

And the author can proudly add themselves to the list of most obnoxious hack journos.

Great work.

Behindthejab
Behindthejab

You forgot the largest group, the Obese American. They blindly follow the outdated food pyramid, have or are at high fish for type II diabetes, hypertension and the host of other issues that obesity causes.

They snub their nose at well documented and researched options such as the Paleo diet, and instead ride the see saw of fad diets where their weight drops then spikes back up higher than before.

As a follower of the Paleo diet I have to say that you failed badly in the research department in your article. If anything you should be commending people trying to improve their health, not lump them in your food terrorist network.

Be a real journalist and do a 30 day intensive and report the results. I think you will be quite surprised at the results.s

Mindful Monk
Mindful Monk

I lost 142lbs on paleo in 11 months, thank you very much.

MadRaven72
MadRaven72

so much butthurt and no one has looked at the date on the byline

Dlf73162
Dlf73162

Wow, I am shocked anyone would even publish such crap. You are totally misinformed. You need to do more research before you start spewing at the mouth. Also I highly doubt anyone at anytime has attempted to "suck out of a dead animal's eye cavity for themselves".

StabbyRaccoon
StabbyRaccoon

Everybody on the paleolithic diet eats salt now. The main premise that we form a hypothesis with (and then test it) is that those things that are novel might not be what our physiology has adapted to. If you gave an ancient human a salt-shaker he would love it and it wouldn't be the least bit unhealthy. The paleolithic diet begets excellent metabolic health so insulin levels stay low and we reduce our production of angiotensin, thus making salt relatively irrelevant to blood pressure. You are right that many foods are better with salt.

Also many paleos eat good quality butter. It doesn't follow that all dairy is bad all of the time just because it is novel, that is why the paleo axiom only allows for a hypothesis. Since nutrition is biology, and in biology evolution is the connecting axiom, we use evolution to speculate and form a hypothesis which then must be tested. Grains are demonstrably unhealthy save for maybe white rice in moderation, and not all dairy is created equal. Alcohol is also fine in moderation because we have an adaptation to make it fairly benign at a certain intake, not so with grains, legumes and excessive sugar or linoleic acid.

Paleo is a way at looking at the world of nutrition, in accordance with the basic principles of evolution. You can liken it to evolutionary psychology. Get your theory, make your hypothesis, test your hypothesis, and compare it again against your theory.

Cat
Cat

Your remark about "dining in any worthwhile restaurant" being "highly impractical" while eating Paleo is completely ridiculous. Most "worthwhile" restaurants have protein (steak, chicken breast, salmon) and salads. That's completely Paleo, assuming the protein isn't cooked in soybean, peanut, or canola oil. Also, many Paleo dieters include certain types of dairy, and this lifestyle is proven to reverse Western diseases. So do your research before you make uninformed remarks.

Terry Lee Ballard
Terry Lee Ballard

Your thoughts on paleo diet are very amusing but fall short of the truth mark. There are studies that show wheat and other processed foods are bad for you, and having gone bread-free for a year I can speak to the health benefits - lost weight, stopped snoring, less reliance on asthma inhalers. The point is, we don't take this to extremes - we just cut down or cut out things we know don't work for our bodies.

Kimberli9
Kimberli9

I think we need to keep Craig around. Seriously.

Jwb217
Jwb217

Speak for yourself.

Harry
Harry

Exactly! Can you say "Fogo de Chao"? : )

resa_challender
resa_challender

Seconds this:Weight loss, loss of snoring/sleep apnea, and NO MORE DEPRESSION/ANXIETY.

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