The great undo: food

Aspiring to A Natural Lifestyle Part 3: The changing nature of food

From                                                                           To                                                                     
Processed food. Additives. Preservatives.           One ingredient. Real food.
Variety of meal solutions                                        Seasonal fruit & veg, herbs & spices 
Low fat                                                                       Good fats and oils
High sugar                                                                 No sugar (sugar as the enemy)
Soft drinks                                                                  Tap water
Fast food and the forgotten family dinner            Shop local, Farmers markets, Fresh, Organic
                                                                                     Slow cook, Grill, Bake & Stir Fry, Raw food
                                                                                     Eat together
‘Diets’ e.g. South Beach, Atkins                               Ways of living e.g. Primal, Paleo
Antibiotics                                                                   Food as medicine
‘est’ ingredients                                                          Food as personal care 
Cosmeceutical                                                           Recognisable ingredients. Safe cosmetics 

With the desire to save time, food has become functional but not in a good way – quick and convenient, temporary tummy fillers, with fabricated tastes. Even cook-from-scratch mums have given in to the perception that being a domestic goddess all the time isn’t possible without the helping hand of a few short-cuts, recipe solutions that spice up the weekly menu and the odd purchased ‘home cooked’ meal – all of which are less real and more manufactured, and many of which are more complicated than they need to be. Drinks that play into our desire to get more out of life (whether that’s fun or energy or optimism) by exploring a variety of tastes and trying something new – full of sugar or sugar substitutes that keep us coming back for more. Low fat and diet options that contain more sugar and nasties than outweigh the perceived benefits. And family dinners substituted for TV and gaming consoles in ‘laissez faire’ homes, and for homework, sport and extracurricular activities in ‘high performance’ homes.

Time seems to be the main culprit – which is ironic considering all this consumption reduces time or at least quality time on this earth. Money. And desire for variety. With the end goal being aspirational self – good mum, beautiful, energetic, fun-loving…

Businesses, brands and people who are driving Aspiring to A Natural Lifestyle are demonstrating that it is possible to have these aspirations through living naturally and resolve the tensions of time, money and variety. How? By reconnecting with heritage (‘the way grandma used to make it’) or primal values of simplicity, authenticity and community.

Single ingredients of recognisable name. Fats and oils from fruits (avocado, olive, coconut) and nuts (macadamia, almond) and omega 3s from fish and flaxseed. Fresh fruit as the source of sugar. Shop local and farmers markets, fresh and organic, from slow cooking to grilling, baking and stir-frying to raw. Variety through seasonal fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices.

Easy to understand and visualise ways of living (not diets!) such as Paleo and Primal, are being applied to our eating behaviours – protein, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds that were hunted and gathered; communal meals and snacking in between.

In Aspiring to A Natural Lifestyle, food is no longer just for filling. Food as thy medicine and Food as thy personal care.

In reference to both preventative daily intake and cure of internal and external illnesses and ailments, food is being used as medicine. ‘Big Pharma’ is being seen as the enemy, vitamin and supplement brands battling for first place because our food sources no longer have the vitamins they should, and good quality food is recognised for its benefits – salmon for Omega 3, herbs for digestion, citrus for alkaline, spinach for immunity.

In terms of personal care, why would you put something on your body’s largest organ, your skin, that you wouldn’t digest? I guess seeing what we’ve been digesting, that seems logical! But ultimately it’s about single ingredients delivering simple benefits of clean, fresh, glowing, smooth skin versus the next best scientific manufactured ingredients delivering incredible promises of turning back time and years of bad habits.

There are many extremist views and a seeming desire to take down the whole manufacturing sector. We see manufacturers trying to turn unhealthy to healthy in their mainstay business, put money back into the community where damage has been caused and protect their businesses and the many people that work within them. Businesses such as Coca Cola and McDonald’s sit at the extreme end with cynicism at their new healthier offerings, corporate purpose to continue making their offer healthier and putting money back into obesity research and local community activities to get people moving. Businesses such as Unilever and Cereal Partners Worldwide who have always had a healthy core purpose, healthier offerings and promoted health through their brands are being congratulated for their ongoing commitment to make their products healthier for individuals, families and the communities at large.

And in the eye of opportunity, we have experienced the emergence of many entrepreneurial brands from home kitchen and farmers markets origination. Brands such as Loving Earth, Sun Warrior and Vital offering natural, organic, raw food sources with names and packaging that reflect Aspiring to a Natural Lifestyle with simplicity and authenticity.

The vitamins brands are a category in their own right. Part food, part medicine, now even part personal care, the four large brands – Blackmores, Suisse, Nature’s Own and Natures Way – have burst into our lives promoting A Natural Lifestyle. They provide us with natural alternatives to cure illness versus medicine, to prop up the limitations of food and prevent illness by boosting our systems where we feel depleted. Suisse’s recent extension into personal care makes logical sense and has been beautifully executed– single ingredients that promote authentic health benefits, simple packaging and honest, transparent on-pack communications. With their differentiated positionings, these brands have highlighted the different roads people can take with Aspiring to A Natural Lifestyle – full-on primal Bear Grylls style from Nature’s Own, little steps in the right direction everyday #littlelesslittlemore from Blackmores, applied fitness with Nature’s Way and two key areas from Suisse – making your inner natural beauty shine and all natural high performance.

Aspiring to a Natural Lifestyle has driven big shifts in food, the type of food, how its shopped and cooked, when, how and why its eaten and used – food as nutrition, food as medicine and food as personal care. It doesn’t have to be extreme – keep it real and simple and you’re over half way there. 

Written by Rachel Bevans in consultation with Brett Henderson PT. 

Rachel is a healthy brand champion and owner of The Healthy Brand Company (ref:

Brett is a trained and practicing Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, with a Degree in Physical Education and Management experience. Working from an holistic health & fitness platform, Brett inspires individuals’ goals to gain visible results by combining resistance training and cardiovascular exercise with nutrition and a positive mindset – considering all areas of individuals’ lives. 

Feel free to share with acknowledgements to The Healthy Brand Company, Brett Henderson PT and supporting references.

© The Healthy Brand Company, 2013


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