And Everything Inbetween: Has Social Media Influenced Healthy Eating?

I had a thought over my avocado and tomato omelette last Saturday morning.

Would I have bothered to cook this for myself if it wasn’t for social media?

While the actual truth is I didn’t have milk or bread – I cannot honestly say if I would have learned to cook an omelette/eggs if it wasn’t for social media.

Which leads me to my next question, has social media influenced our cooking and eating habits?

Yes.

Has social media influenced MY cooking and eating habits?

Yes and I am happy for it.

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that social media has greatly impacted the spread of conscious eating habits – paleo, vegetarian, vegan, organic. But one person’s ‘clean eating’ is not the same as the next person’s.

Therein appears an issue – an element of ‘competition’, propagated by social media.

#foodporn is a fascinating phrase, which to me, speaks of a present taboo around food and eating. In reality, what the person next to me eats has no impact on my life or being (unless I have an allergy[!]); yet I feel swamped by pictures of food and the phrase ‘clean eating’ .

Broadly, “clean” is a subjective phrase.
Clean isn’t unhygienic, but it’s not the same as medical grade sterilisation, y’know?
There is no agreed idea of ‘clean eating’.

Call me old fashioned, I really prefer the term ‘healthy eating’.

Effect of Masterchef

I cannot stand cooking shows. They make me excessively hungry and I feel disappointed when I don’t have a Croquembouche or Beetroot risotto magically sitting in my fridge. SIGH.

Masterchef as a show (and its relentless PR machine) can certainly be credited for encouraging Australians in taking a more active interest in food sourcing, preparation and cooking . Tick.

Are all the recipes calorie friendly, and completely suited to ‘clean’/healthy eating? Sometimes.
Lots of oil, butter and sugar – which in certain quantities are okay, and okay as a ‘treat’, and the theatre of the cooking and presentation is epic.
I certainly don’t cry or sweat over my cooking, but you should have seen my attempt at roast vegetables last week – think 200° oven, an improperly greased pan and mushrooms cooked for an hour.
The Sweet Potato, onion and capsicum fared okay, but not the mushrooms. Ha(!)
There was swearing.
You learn.

The impact of ‘Paleo Pete’

Pete Evans. Good on him for being healthy, but I cannot stand some (self-professed) ‘gurus’ who promote a way of eating by evoking shame in people for their current eating habits. There is no such thing as perfect eating habits, perfect eating habits would ensure someone lives forever, but we don’t.

Bone Broth instead of breast milk, Pete?!
From a cook book not approved by Doctors or qualified Nutritionists?!
I might not love a heap of cream in my food, but I know when some things are a bit rich.

#FoodPorn ‘s Insta-Impact

#FoodPorn = Food Pornography.

I can understand the novelty of this phrase – a sense of voyeurism and appreciation, a sense of guilty pleasure and indulgence.  A sense of taboo, a sense of sin.
#FoodPorn is not just a novelty associated with photos, there are now thousands of food bloggers in the deep realm of the internet.
Food isn’t just food anymore – we don’t just eat to live anymore, we live to eat at that place or to have that dish.

The impact of this is a sense of shame and envy, perpetuated by social media. Seeing people’s photos of food while they’re out, or what they have whipped up in the kitchen.

Food is food, it is physical nourishment for our bodies – don’t let it evoke shame or envy if you don’t follow a niche eating plan / diet if you already eat healthily.

Being Healthy shouldn’t be so hard (on the mind)

But what the heck is healthy anyway? It’s hard to know. We read articles where fats are bad, but according to another ‘study’ they’re good. Look for the source; if the article says “A study has found…” without naming the source then you can probably be a sceptical.

Or perhaps healthy is not that complicated?

healthy
ˈhɛlθi/
adjective
 
  1. in a good physical or mental condition; in good health.
    “I feel fit and healthy”
    synonyms: in good physical condition, in good health, well, all right, fine, fit,physically fit, in good trim, in good shape, in fine fettle, in good kilter, in top form, aerobicized, in tip-top condition; More

     

“In good physical or mental condition”

I think being healthy is a choice, more than a predisposition. Eating, sleeping enough, drinking water, social interaction and the pursuit of interests. I think what it means to be healthy has become inappropriately intertwined with ‘clean eating’.

I am victim of the thoughts that I should eat better, exercise better and be …’better’ – I get envious and feel shame from social media. I confess. But I’m not looking for absolution, nor am I looking for truffle oil to add to my scrambled eggs because I saw it on tv or ate it at a café.

I enjoy the innovation and awareness that social media has provided the cooking world (gosh knows avocado sales have sky-rocketed since the ‘Avo Smash’!) and I like that I was aware that tomato, eggs and avocado with a bit of pepper tasted good.

Because I otherwise I would have been hangry.
Cooking is a skill that prevents me ‘hulking out’, and I can be healthy about it.
Whether you’re vegan, paleo, vegetarian, on an eating plan or anything else – that is good news.

…or even a fruitarian(!)

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.

A x

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