Superfoods are the new superheroes – instead of comic books stalking grocery store aisles, we’re left with kale, flaxseed, and of course – avocado. For the ever hopeful self-improver, this produce renaissance has been accompanied by an explosion of access to strange vegetables, trendy fruits, and Andean grains – all of which promise clear skin, a better figure, and access to unlocking some secret better version of yourself who has been hidden away behind kettle chip bags until this point.
The problem with avocados isn’t that they’re a stupidly mushy, bland, and never actually ripe berry. The problem is that they are the poster child of a brand of cure-alls that we have been blindly accepted en masse as being the keys to healthful living, no strings attached. If the benefits that superfoods apparently give us were advertised on almost any other product, the claims would be given a hearty dose of skepticism. But they’re vegetables! Fruits! They really are packed with enticing omega 3’s, vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fats, and antioxidants. This dose of truth to the superfood craze is exactly what makes it so pernicious – it’s impossible to debunk the contents of a superfood so how can the whole movement be wrong?
Avocado cannot fix all your problems – no quantity of green smoothie will convince you to go the gym more often, get more sleep, stay hydrated, meditate, or even just eat better overall. It will not negate other dietary choices, and you are not even likely to outwardly notice the slight bump in Vitamin E you’re getting with breakfast. However, you don’t have to trust all your problems to mushy avocados, bitter kale, or bland quinoa. Spinach alone can compete with all three of the aforementioned foods and it’s infinitely yummier.
Instead of asking how we can inject more foods that “do it all” into our diet, we should remember that health relies on a myriad of factors that all work in concert. If you really want to change your life, start small and be consistent. Learn to cook by just getting in the habit of boiling water every day. Go to the gym no matter what, even if all you do is loiter and leave. Stick to your bedtime. Drink just a little more water.
None of these changes will result in something you can immediately show off as your new lifestyle, but you’re more likely to stick to things that are just a little change in your behavior. Plus, when you eventually get bored of walking around the track at the gym and instead try out a new machine or up your intensity to keep things interesting, your change was your decision. And you might even like it!
Superfoods represent the opposite of this approach – you don’t have to change any other part of your life in order to reap the benefits of one healthy meal. Their uses vary enough that this isn’t everyone’s understanding of what they can be used for, but it’s a prevalent enough view that it’s worth taking a step back to reevaluate why you need this specific food. Do you want it because it’s actually your decision? Or is it enticing because everyone else says their life hasn’t changed for the better from something since they replaced their skincare regime with micellar water?
At the end of the day, the fruits you consume in the privacy of your own home are up to you. Each of us is the only person who gets to be responsible for our health, our budgets, and the goals we set for ourselves. I choose to not spend my money on foods I know I’ll leave to rot on the countertop; instead, I am happy knowing that the foods I cook for myself are ones I actually like. And I’d threaten to share my thoughts on your damn avocado toast Instagram pic, but mock is extra.