A diet of change over time

Anna Ludvigsen ’20, Staff Writer

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Infographic by Anna Ludvigsen ’20.

Dieting has been a huge part of society for a long time, and has drastically changed over the past decade, but no one is really sure what the best diet is and if we are going in the right direction today.
According to Health teacher Westfall, it was popular to cut out an entire food group a decade ago, like eating no carbs as part of the Atkins diet or following the food pyramid.
“Everyone was trying to avoid carbohydrates and do zero-carb diets, but then there was a big push in getting off the food pyramid, so they came up with my plate,” Westfall said.
Maddie Hurley ’20 said that it’s really important she gets all her vitamins and nutrients in what she eats, and she does this by eating superfoods.
“I love açai bowls with Goji berries and homemade oats with almond butter,” Hurley said. “I also really like to have juices with my meals that I make with celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger. I try to put quinoa and kale in my salads, incorporating all these superfoods into all my meals.”
Hurley believes it’s important to nourish your body by choosing the healthiest options and staying away from anything that is going to have a bad effect on your body overall.
“I try to eat nutritious and I’m really against most processed food and foods made from animals,” Hurley said. “I think is important that more people nowadays start going back to naturally grown foods and step away from the stuff that’s made in factories and labs.”
According to Westfall, fat used to have a bad rep. Everything was fat free or low fat, like cheese, with the fat removed and extra sugar added to took its place in adding flavor.
“They had these chips called Olean, but everything was fat-free,” Westfall said. “These chips had oil in them and your body never absorbed the fat product and it would just pass through your system, but it would give everyone diarrhea.”
Hurley thinks that around a decade ago, people directed their eating habits towards wanting to simply lose weight and not nourish their body.
“People didn’t really eat that much in general or weren’t very knowledgeable at all really about food and what is really good for you,” Hurley said. “I feel like now instead of just not eating as much food, people are more focused on trying to eat things that are good for them.”
According to Westfall, our modern food consists of organic, nutritious, healthy, GMO-free things.
“We have huge trends now, like kale. Kale was never even served years ago and was usually used as a garnish,” Westfall said. “Avocados were never really desired back then either, but now a lot of people want the good fat. Vitamins sections are now two or three times bigger than back then, since everything has a big push on being healthy.”
Hurley said she doesn’t think there’s necessarily one ideal diet because it depends on the person, but she feels that her diet is the best way to go.
“I just really focus on trying to get a little bit of each food group and I think it’s bad when you cut out entire food types,” Hurley said. “I think it’s important to get a little bit of everything in your system as long as it’s super healthy, like whole foods, naturally grown, with lots of vitamins and nutrients, and not processed in factories or from animals.”
According to Westfall, we are going in a positive direction, but people definitely have an obsession with food, where some people will grocery shop and obsess over everything that is put into their products.
“People aren’t always enjoying food sometimes because of this obsession,” Westfall said. “Everyone is fearful of gaining weight and is obsessed with wanting to be healthy.”
Lizzy Bellovich ’21 works at JHouse Juice, a vegetarian juice and smoothie bar, and she has experience with many superfoods and diets from working there.
“I think that there’s a big emphasis on getting the maximum amount of protein, vitamins and nutrients that the body needs these days,” Bellovich said. “I have to know about a lot of different kinds of diets when working because the customers who come in usually have a specific diet that they follow. Today, there are many more dietary restrictions that people have than they had ten years ago.”
According to Westfall, the best way to eat is healthily and exercising. Everyone should be doing aerobics three to four times a week, like swimming, walking and running.
“Many people are really into weight lifting when they should also be doing aerobics,” Westfall said. “Protein supplements are a big thing, but they have a lot of sugar. You think you’re eating a protein bar, but you’re not really getting the veggies and fruits and nutrients you need, just the protein and sugar.”
Bellovich said that she doesn’t have any serious dietary restrictions and generally eats what she wants to eat, but participates in team sports to stay in shape.
“I often try to watch what I eat and eat healthy most of the time, but I don’t really obsess over what I eat all the time,” Bellovich said. “I think that as long as I’m eating well most of the time and I’m supplying my body with a food source to sustain my energy, I don’t really need to overthink every little thing I eat.”
Westfall opposes certain diets that take being healthy to an extreme, like juice cleanses, which are mainly practiced in order to lose weight in a small period of time.
“You can’t get all your proportions on MyPlate from juice,” Westfall said. “You don’t get proteins or carbohydrates, which your body needs. These extreme diets for weight loss may help you lose a few pounds temporarily, but don’t teach you how to eat healthy normally in your everyday life.”