Hey guys, welcome back to the blog. In today’s post, I want to talk about something that isn’t usually addressed in the “healthy eating” world on social media. If you’ve been on social media at all in the recent years, you’d have seen how healthy eating trends have taken over millions of people, having them smash avocados on toast and bake their oats. While there’s nothing wrong with the trends promoted by fitness and health influencers, I can’t help but point out how their food content is often catered to the few. Which is to be expected as influencers can only show us their way of life.
However, this has created a discourse around what healthy eating is that doesn’t cater to everyone. It gives the impression that there is only way of eating well, a rather Western way. The healthy eating world on social media does not address how different cuisines come into play. For example, the foods in my culture never fit into the category of “healthy eating” because they are mostly carb-heavy and do not look like the foods posted by health influencers. So, where does someone who eats African, Indian or Chinese cuisine fit into the niche of healthy eating. Often times, when I’m at family gatherings, not one thing on the table fits what social media deems healthy. I realised that exposure to “what I eat in a day” content has somewhat influenced my perception on what is healthy food in a way that excludes all of our local dishes.
But, that isn’t how healthy eating is supposed to be. Healthy eating does not mean a Western way of eating with; a yoghurt bowl for breakfast, a kale salad for lunch, and salmon and asparagus for dinner. It can mean rice porridge for breakfast with, veggie noodle soup for lunch, and the same thing for dinner. One thing I found odd is that social media promotes cooking one thing for lunch and cooking another meal for dinner when I grew up eating the same meal for lunch and dinner. Similarly, the “healthy eating” category promoted on social media doesn’t allow for the different ingredients available in different areas of the world. Where I’m from, spicy pickled fruits are often added to our meals, and people use different ingredients such as cassava, breadfruit, a variety of grains, and a ton of chilli.
To put it in a nutshell, don’t let the portrayal of “healthy eating” online restrict your way of eating or your local cuisine. Instead, you can find ways to make your local dishes balanced with whole foods and substitutions. For example, by substituting regular sunflower oil in any local recipes with olive or avocado oil. The point is that there isn’t only one way of eating healthy and you shouldn’t have to abandon foods from your culture to be healthy. So next time you think about eating healthy, step away from the exhausted dishes online and make it your own.
A note from the author
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