Saturday, January 6, 2018

Trendy diets: 1978 meets 2018

I'm sure at least a few people are still trying to stick to their new year's diets, but if they're feeling smug that today's diet ideas are so much more advanced than the ones from the 1970s, they might want to think again. Some of today's trends have a longer history than people might suspect, but those trends were all buried in now-musty-smelling books rather than going viral at the time.

You know how everyone has been replacing carbs like potatoes or rice with cauliflower? Home ec teachers were preaching that gospel in 1978 (Dieting to Stay Fit, Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers):

Of course, the '70s Mock Potato salad mashed the cauliflower so it was a substitute for both the potatoes and the now-permitted mayonnaise, but it had the same general idea.

And you know the trick of using zucchini instead of noodles?

Yep. Those '70s home ec teachers thought of it too. (In fact, they thought about it a lot. This is the more deluxe version of a similar recipe from the same book that I used for a zucchini post a few years ago.)

You know the popular delusion idea that we should avoid sugar, but that sugar somehow doesn't count as sugar if it's "natural," such as agave or brown rice syrup?

That idea was around in the '70s too, though you were more likely to see recipes calling for apple juice concentrate or honey than agave. 

But you're still right if you think at least some diet cuisine has improved in the last 40 years.

Not too many people now would consider a quasi-crepe made of eggs and pureed bread soaked in a tomato juice/ squash puree to be an enchilada. Mexican-inspired diet entrees might be marginally better now. Progress!

P.S.: Check it out!


  1. Wow, your 15 minutes of fame. Who knew a lemon pig could do that?

    I'm quite entertained by the food industry's attempts to hide sugar these days. I think the use of the term "evaporated cane juice" is just about the dumbest (yet very brilliant) terms I've ever seen. The first time I saw it, I'm thinking that is what all sugar from sugar cane is. I'm still waiting for "evaporated beet juice" to show up on packages, but I don't think it would have the same consumer appeal. Most people don't immediately think sugar beet when they see "beet" on the ingredient list.

    1. Beets are getting trendy, though, so it might have more appeal than you think! People are even getting used to red beets in dessert (like red velvet cake).

    2. Dwight Schrute would feel vindicated

    3. I doubt he would ever be popular himself, though!

  2. Everything old is new again! My parents are in their 70s and are paleo. I almost died when she bought a spiralizer

    1. Ha! At least the equipment for making veggie noodles is new.