I’ll admit, I’m a food tv junkie. It’s partially because of what I do – live, breathe, eat, repeat food all day long in my career, cooking, collaborating and creating. I’ve been especially immersed in what has played out to be an almost sure death sentence for anyone bringing ‘healthy food’ to the Food Network Star challenge. If you haven’t been watching, I’m sure you’ve been enjoying the shade under that rock, but the edible crown just went to Justin Warner, a quirky Alton Brown mini me with especially red, rosy lips from perhaps eating many beets and strawberries. I like Justin. He’s interesting and hopefully will bring a refreshing angle to what is feeling like a never ending marathon of Chopped, Triple D and Restaurant Impossible.
The interesting thing is when you look at who got axed from the show first – in order, all 3 who brought a healthy POV to the table. Cristie, Judson and Kara – you didn’t have a chance.
Just call it a 4-letter word because the mere mention of the ‘H’ word seemed to send the mentors and FN network heads smashing right into their dinner plates. Even svelte Bobby Flay asked ‘What’s going to make people pick your food over a milkshake?” Since when does ‘healthy’ equate to ‘good for you’ anyway. Just browse the grocery aisles and you’ll see lots of processed, pre-packaged, sodium saturated food that’s masquerading as healthy. However, ee do have a nationwide obesity problem with diabetes and heart disease at an all time high, so as a marketer, I’m thinking it may be it’s time to rebrand this played-out Healthy campaign.
If healthy equates to deprivation, a void of wayward alfalfa sprouts left to ferment in the corner of a natural foods store, READ ON.
Are you ready for this? I’ve coined the term. FIT Food. Foods that make you feel like a superhero. Give you energy. Are easy to digest. Carry dense nutritional value. Like Popeye used to do. They’re like poetry, coming from indigenous cultures where people live long, healthy lives. Wakame, kombu, couscous, chermoula, romesco, quinoa, tabouli, molikhaya…they even make you sound smarter.
Fit Food is about exalting the essence of the ingredient rather than covering it up will illicit creams and sauces. TASTE is number one! No one should ever feel like they’re sacrificing when they eat with a fit mentality. Take fruit and vegetables. I’m not talking about post cold war, in a can or lifeless, cooked the hell out of ‘em varieties. I’m talking about the colorful, symphonic kind that wave to you from the farmer’s market and inspire you to be a better person. You’re an artist, and they’re your medium. Give me a bunch of fresh beets and root veggies and I’ll turn them into a masterpiece of braised, caramelized goodness, puree them into a cupcake or sliver them into matchsticks for a crisp salad. Throw me a bowl of arugula and I’ll process it into a tangy pesto, a fresh topping for pizza or a stuffing for a phyllo pie. They’re colorful, crunchy, and intensely tasty and give me a super human buzz, like I can punch, run, lift and dance…like, everyday. I also love lamb (any cut), grilled flank steak, a great oven roasted, chicken and just about everything that swims in the ocean – but I like them in small doses. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan. I’m a Fit Foody.
If we became a nation of Fit Foodies, we might find the answer to our issues. Perhaps if we replaced the word ‘Healthy’ with ‘Fit’ it would conjure up a whole new image – think toned, athletic, lean (not skinny) and vibrant instead of deprived, emaciated, skinny and sickly. Just a thought. Let me know what YOU think FN’ers.
- Mareya Ibrahim, The Fit Foody