Quinoa and chia and kale, oh my!
According to Mintel, there was a 202 percent increase globally in superfood product development between 2011 and 2015. According to its records, that number is going up as a result of strong consumer demand for highly nutritious products.
The beginning of the superfoods trend is not entirely clear. Some suggest it began when Beyoncè wore a sweatshirt sporting the word “kale” in her 7/11 music video. But it is clear where it has ended up. Snapchat has even released stickers of words such as “superfood” and “cleanse.”
With the popularity of superfood, comes a rise in restaurants that serve it. In the last year, Lubbock has been introduced to multiple new health food restaurants of varying success including Vitality Bowls, Freshii and Mojo Bowl, which has since shut down.
Steve Kast, director of operations for Freshii in Lubbock, said a college town was the ideal location to open a franchise.
“There is nothing that is healthy here to eat,” Kast said. “Period.”
Kast said the American population has been eating too much processed food over the last 40 years, which is why Americans have such a big problems with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Kast said he weighed 432 pounds on August 28. He began eating Freshii everyday and now he weighs 340 pounds, and that was with no exercise.
“What you put in your body is what you’re going to get out,” Kast said. “If you put junk in, you’re going to get junk out.”
Kast said a large part of the reason people do not eat well is because of accessibility. He said Freshii is a quick-serve health food restaurant where you come in and custom design your own meal.
“Being a quick-serve restaurant, from the time you place your order to the time you receive your order is four minutes,” Kast said. “And we make it all in front of you, it’s not hidden behind a wall.”
Freshii serves salads, wraps, bowls, soups, juices and smoothies. All of the sauces are based with oil and vinegar or yogurt, and most of the items are vegetarian.
Macy Stearns, a senior nutrition, health and wellness major, said she remembers the first time she went out to eat in Lubbock. She ordered a salad and was offered a choice of ranch, blue cheese, thousand island or Caesar dressing.
“I thought, what have I gotten myself into?” Stearns said.
Stearns said she would not consider Lubbock the most health-conscious city. She is from Austin, where she says it is a lot easier to find healthy restaurants.
Stearns said she does not often eat at the new health food restaurants in Lubbock as they tend to be expensive, but it would be nice to have a few more options.
Stearns said it is a lot easier for her to make food at home so she knows exactly what she is eating. She said she has been doing this for almost six years now.
“In high school I kept getting sick and having to go to the doctor,” Stearns said. “They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.”
It was then, Stearns said, that she began to look at her diet as a potential source to her problems. She began by cutting out gluten.
“That’s what kind of kick-started it,” Stearns said. “I started to eliminate gluten from my diet and I realized I had a lot more energy and I wasn’t as achy.”
One of Stearns’ favorite ways to eat superfoods is by putting chia or flax seeds into her smoothies or using it to make pudding.
“I don’t believe in putting processed food into your body,” Stearns said. “I don’t understand how people can literally eat chemicals.”
Stearns said she likes to say look for things that have less than six or seven ingredients.
She would agree that eating clean has gained popularity over the last couple of years. She said she would attribute a lot of this to social media.
“Our generation is easily influenced,” Stearns said. “When you hear about how much better people feel when they eat clean it makes you want to try it for yourself.”
Stearns added: “Six years ago, before I started eating this way, I would’ve done anything to make myself feel better. Through clean eating, I’ve noticed a huge change in my own body.”