The health food scene is ever-changing and often unforgiving when it comes to new trends. It’s a constant battle for survival, and only the healthiest and tastiest can stay—that is until the next best thing comes along.
We’ve seen the reign of kale, the rise of poke bowls, and the riches of coconut oil, but not all healthy food trends have an appetizing appeal. For all the uproar created by foods like cockroach milk, algae, and placenta, are these trends really here to stay? Are these “superfoods” enticing, nauseating, or just plain offensive? You decide.
Algae have actually been cruising on the down-low for a couple years now, and it’s probably the most “entry-level” gross food you can find. Its health benefits have been raved about and are well-known in many Asian countries. Coastal human beings have actually been consuming algae since prehistoric times. They’re actually not exactly the nasty algae growth you scrub out of your fish tank; they’re really just species of edible seaweed. Seaweed is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, and heart-health benefits—a definite superfood that’s been around for millennia and evidently here to stay.
Ever thought about eating placenta raw like sashimi after giving birth? Sauté it with some garlic and mushrooms? Or just take it as pills? As weird as it sounds, you won’t be the first to do try this gross food trend. Placentophagy has been observed throughout human history amongst many different cultures… and some A-list celebrities. People who have consumed placenta claim that it boosts energy levels, increases breast milk quantity, and regulates hormones. It’s true that placenta is loaded with nutrients, but it’s nothing that you couldn’t get from food or supplements. I personally wouldn’t eat anything that comes out of my body, but you do you.
3. Poop Cafes
Okay, not actual poop or superfood, but it’s definitely a growing trend, and also gross enough to write about. You eat poop-shaped food on toilet-shaped dishes, sitting on toilet seats. For the most of us, the thought of feces at the dinner table kills our cravings and makes us gag, so how would poop-shaped food served in a toilet-shaped dish attract business? Apparently, it somehow does. The first known poop-themed restaurant started in Taiwan in 2004, and has since inspired other entrepreneurs to open similar restaurants in the Philippines, Korea, Russia, Indonesia, China, Japan, and Canada!
4. Insect Cocktails
Entomophagy, or more commonly known as the practice of eating insects, is hardly new to human beings, but one unique way of adding bugs to the diet that has been adopted by the Western world is to add it to your drink with infused bitters and vodka. Yep, bug cocktails. So the next time you’re off jetsetting to a trendy city, remember to ask for the buggy version. Entomophagy actually helps reduce greenhouse gases and provide the highest quality protein of all foods. What’s a better way to justify ordering your third straight up, bone-dry, silkworm-infused vodka martini with a dash of cricket bitters? You’re so much better than James Bond.
5. Cockroach Milk
Ever imagined that you’d one day be drinking the creamy liquids collected from the gut of a cockroach? Rejoice because that day is almost here. Forget almond, cashew, or coconut milk. Cockroach milk is the superfood of the future and the biggest gross food trend. It’s four times more nutritious than cow’s milk and three times richer in calories than buffalo milk, the previous contender for the healthiest milk. But don’t go catching cockroaches just yet. It takes one very specific species native to Hawaii—Diploptera punctate, one that gives birth to live young—to produce this ‘milk’. Theoretically, these cockroaches can be ‘milked’ by replacing the brood sac with a human-made pouch, but it’s unclear whether or not it’s actually safe for human consumption. Hopefully, science pans out for the cockroach milk. Or not.
As unappealing as some of these gross food trends are to me, I’m definitely interested to see how these ‘superfoods’ actually fair in a ruthlessly competitive health-food market. Are you intrigued or disturbed by any of these trends? Willing to try some of these? Let us know your thoughts!