Can a foodie stick to a diet?

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FOODIE is a word coined in the early 1980s by New York Magazine ‘s restaurant critic Gael Greene. But what does it mean?

Is it a word meaning, as journalists Ann Barr and Paul Levy, the authors of The Official Foodie Handbook (1984) describes it, “a person who is very, very interested in food”? Or, does foodie describe someone who has the disposable time, money and vested interest to eat, not for health or even basic pleasure, but as an indulgence, actively seeking and partaking in many varied types of food and drink as a hobby? Or, can the word foodie be used to describe someone who indulges in anything their cravings, marketing or companions direct them to, while waving the banner of foodie to disculpate their indulgence?

Perhaps a foodie is all of the above.


Rising popularity of the foodie culture

The word foodie wasn’t a popular term until the publication of Barr and Levy’s book, but as you can imagine it was adopted by popular culture as it empowers persistent food hobby-ism.

The term foodie has exploded significantly on the Internet since 2006, and continues to rise, after all, thanks to today’s social media there are many more self-appointed food promoters, photographers and critics than ever before.

Foodie, as a popular term, was not initially loved by chefs, in general, as it opened them up to increased criticism by food “writers”. Naturally, it is also a driving force for marketing to every man, who doesn’t enjoy eating.

Once upon a time the only words related to people for the sake of fun or profession were:

• Gourmet: Someone with a more discriminating and elite palate;

• Gastronome: Enjoying food for pleasure;

• Epicure: Also enjoying food for pleasure;

• Bon viveur: One who enjoys good company with expensive foods and beverages;

• Glutton: One who significantly overeats for the sake of overeating;

• Gannet: One who perpetually eats and is always hungry;

• Gourmand: One who overeats;

• Food addict: One who consistently uses food or specific foods (solid or liquid) to excess, experiencing a physical or psychological reliance and is unable to change this pattern regardless of the awareness or experiences of negative consequences.

But now there is foodie, a word for the masses which would be an embarrassment to true connoisseurs or food insiders everywhere. A word which effectively distances the “foodies” from the true, actual gourmets. They imagine themselves to be, effectively, the junk food cousin of dining culture.


Is being a foodie inherently unhealthy?

The term foodie is here, and very likely here to stay. But how will it impact on people’s health and wellness?

Research has already shown that people who more regularly prepare their own meals are leaner and healthier than people who regularly purchase meals from food establishments.

In a culture of excess and overly enriched foods on a mass scale, the typical foodie lifestyle is guaranteed to have an increasingly negative impact of the health of nations, especially among the great number of middle- to upper middle-income foodies, who are more likely eating at establishments serving affordable and plenty foods, using ingredients and methods which will save them money.


Can a foodie also be health conscious?

There is no good weight management system which will instruct you to eliminate groups of foods, especially natural foods. There will be portion restrictions and guidelines for a time, but eventually you will reach a healthy weight range and maintenance.

Healthy weight maintenance is never about deprivation, it is about balance and clean, mostly natural eating. It is a wellness-promoting way of life. You do not have to miss out on the joys of eating to be healthy.

The goal is to be mindful and knowledgeable of what a human body is and what habits are healthy. Sadly, most people — slim, fat, or in-between — live an unconscious, uninformed, foolishly misinformed, and non-responsible nutritional life, and it has consequences.

Nothing healthy and natural/unrefined in reasonable portions is out of bounds. Portion size does matter and natural foods are key. No one needs large portions, flour, unplanned eating, sugar or sugar drinks to be a foodie. If someone calls themselves a foodie and large, over-enhanced portions is a must for them, then perhaps they should redefine what kind of foodie they are. Perhaps consider themselves a glutton foodie, or a gourmand foodie, or an addict foodie.


How to mix your foodie nature and healthy lifestyle

If you are someone who cannot release the word foodie from your self-identification, perhaps you can refine it. Put your wellness first and call yourself a gourmet foodie, by:

• Heightening your quality of food. This is doable. Asian cuisine without all the white rice is an easy example.

• Refine portions. Be modest and selective. Add discretion to your lifestyle, think European fine dining.

• Everyone knows what starch tastes like, don’t overdo it. If you are not a victim of famine, stuffing yourself and filling up with flour, white rice and sugars is gauche and puts your health at risk.

• Control frequency, don’t overdo it and commonise your dining-out experience.

• Refine your methods. Research the restaurant beforehand and choose your meals mindfully before you go. Understand that your control does not end at choosing where you are going to eat.

• Ask for your dressings to be served separately. Share your desert with a dining companion. Control your experience.

• If you are on a weight management plan, choose foods which match your plan.

Learn to be what I call a salubrious (healthy) gourmet, or in this case, a salubrious foodie. Always select healthy, nutrient-filled options, getting the maximum taste experience with refined portions and superior nutrients.

Salubrious eating requires knowledge, discretion, skill, and awareness. If you must be a foodie, raise your game.


Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863-5923, or visit their website at

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