Health food or fashion food. Tough question these days.
I am not a health freak and I never will be. I like eating relatively healthily but I do eat a fair bit of crisps, chocolate and salty liquorice. I love my dinner wine and crispy lager on sunny days. I don’t like fast food, cakes, biscuits or those extra snacks that many people eat at their work desks during the day. I usually munch nuts or fruit if I crave for a snack in the middle of the day. (I have, however, cut my nut consumption basically to zero due to my daughter’s severe nut allergy.)
Here in Australia the biggest boom diets at the moment are Paleo, Raw Food and Gluten Free diets. Two first ones are the most difficult diets if you are a nut allergic. I am continuously thinking how can a nut allergic person buy lattes or flat whites anymore as the coffee shops steam almond and hazelnut milk with the same steamer part as the dairy or soy milk. I also do not believe that the coffee shops that sell raw food cakes and all kind of super food salads are always carefully cleaning the surfaces or using different equipment when preparing nut free meals. The Gluten free diet is also the most ridiculous thing I have heard. I understand if you have been diagnosed with a celiac disease you should be 100% off from gluten but as a trendy diet I just don’t get it. I have heard so many stories here in Australia that people go and buy food that is claimed to be gluten free and then it has been actually made on the same surface as the gluten products (example being pizzas!). This is so bad for people with celiac disease as even a hint of gluten can make them feel ill. It seems that as these trendy diets became more popular the understanding of the concept of gluten or nut free has decreased drastically. I love how they advertise lattes in the coffee shops as gluten free or dairy cans in the supermarket as gluten free here these days! Maybe this means that the cow never ate gluten products who knows. In general I feel these new trendy diets are really a threat to people with real allergies and intolerances.
In Australia you cannot buy soy cream, oat cream or rice cream in regular super markets. For me as a Finn this is a shocker! In Finnish supermarkets you get a large range of lactose free products, soy cream products, soy ice creams, OATLY oat cooking cream, OATLY oat crème fraiche, OATLY oat custard, OATLY oat yoghurt, OATLY oat ice cream, rice cooking cream, rice ice cream, the list goes forever. For allergic or intolerant people Finland is like a heaven on earth. You can live normal life easily.
Here in Australia you need to hunt the alternative products as regular super markets stock hardly anything. This is unbelievable as Australia is at the moment the most allergic nation in the world. Why do these people make their life so hard? The alternative products are extremely difficult to find as the health food stores are the only ones that potentially stock them, but they stock them only if they want to. You need to go through every store to find the one that actually stocks what you need. Online shopping is not an option as you pay 18-20 dollars for a delivery! (Australia does not have the online market yet!).I have really struggled to find any proper soy cooking cream here. Oat cream products they don’t even have in the country. Last week I went to one of these health food stores and asked for soy cream. The answer was, ”we don’t stock it, it is out of fashion, it was popular 5 years ago”. I totally lost it. OUT OF FASHION? DID THE SALES ASSISTANT REALLY THINK I WOULD MAKE MY LIFE SO HARD JUST TO BE FASHIONABLE. NO. I WOULD PAY ANYTHING TO USE NORMAL PRODUCTS!
Anyway, I learned it. Health food stores here are fashion stores. They truly are. The breakthrough of offering good alternatives for various diets in the supermarket has not arrived here yet. Here being alternative is being fashionable, not being alternative as there is no other option. I can again be so proud of my home country that is truly thinking of dietary requirements over fashion. Isn’t that what it is all about.