Remember Pet Rocks? Hot pants? Sideburns?
Looking back, they sound like a bad idea. But at one time they were the rage. They were the latest fad.
The dictionary defines a fad as “a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group.” Fads change on fancies and whims. We follow fads to feel popular – somehow in the know. We fall for them because they help us feel “normal” or because we think they give us a certain prestige – hence all those IPads and GPS navigators. And some of the fads that catch fire the fastest? Food fads.
Liquid diet. Watermelon diet. Grapefruit diet. Cabbage soup diet. Fish pills. Diet pills. Low-fat diets. No-carb diets. Junk-food diets.
Now, we at Hippocrates Health Institute don’t run to embrace every popular notion about health or food, we’re welcoming one new fad: the raw living foods fad. We want the lifestyle to be popular, so popular that it tips into the mainstream and stays there. Why? Because this fad is grounded in hard science. This fad has the element of substance. It works.
With our 60-year-old track record for improving people’s health, we’re hoping to take this trend to the next level. It’s not an unreasonable goal. But it is one that has to include education, be sold with facts, independent of the fad.
Advertising has capitalized on popular fads for decades, selling them to mainstream America. In the 60s, advertisers rallied around the counter culture fad and turned it into an over-the-counter-culture that bought into “ a revolution in toilet paper,” guzzled “beer dedicated to the free spirit in you” and were lured by the call to “join the Pepsi Generation.”
Fads can have the bandwagon effect: the masses will do and believe anything just because their neighbors, friends and family do and believe it. And food fads are among the most common – though many are based on anything but fact. Chocolate is for lovers? Coffee is the “think drink?” Fish equals brain food? Heck, up until the ‘80s some were convinced smoking was an aid to digestion. Fads, like stereotypes, depend on sweeping generalities based on image rather than substance, and they might just be wrong. On reflection, fads make us look foolish, vain and downright adolescent. We follow the herd to be part of the herd.
Thankfully, sometimes fads focus on the real thing, and in their own shallow way, help promote something good. Healthy fads like jogging, exercise, yoga, psychotherapy (in LA & NYC, anyway), or environmentalism, sometimes popularize good information, and help fringe realities go mainstream. What changes a fad to mainstream thinking, or keeps it in vogue is simple: It must be grounded in filling an on-going need. Granola used to be considered tree-hugger hippie food. Mainstream mocked the stuff right alongside tofu whenever someone wanted to take aim at vegetarianism. Then along came Quaker Oats and a bunch of copy cats who saw a niche market, and the granola/breakfast bar phenomenon was born. The marketers replaced granola’s hippie image with a healthy, convenience food one and made it stick.
Raw living foods diets will go mainstream and stay there. The reasons are plentiful: they will appeal in a world where health care systems are failing and people are more aware of their environment and what is in their food. The fad will stick when people see that eating this way really helps and heals.
Who ever thought smoking would fall to the wayside the way it has? Who ever thought insurance companies would pay for preventive measures like the Dean Ornish reversing heart disease program? Who ever thought “vegan” would become a household word? The healthy trend continues. The momentum grows. People are hungry. Hippocrates is ready.
Andy Bernay-Roman is a Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Registered Nurse, and a Licensed Massage Therapist, who has practiced his unique form of body-oriented psychotherapy at Hippocrates Health Institute for the last 17 years.