We’re witnessing a revolution in the diet world, and the fact is that it’s no longer just about eating but about adapting to the person, their lifestyle, their preferences and their beliefs. Vegetarian or vegan diets are familiar worldwide and have millions of followers. They are so deeply embedded that they are even reflected by the restaurant sector and it is common to find haute cuisine vegetarian and vegan restaurants in every city.
But there are more and more people with alternative lifestyles who are adapting their diets to their beliefs, coming up with new eating plans. An example of this is flexitarianism or the flexitarian diet, which is governed by vegetarian principles – fruits and vegetables – but very occasionally allows the inclusion of some form of meat, though never as the main ingredient. Flexitarianism is the perfect option for people who want to live a healthy life without relinquishing the occasional new dish in a restaurant or at home.
Another trend that has experienced a real boom is the Paleo lifestyle. Addicts of this diet maintain that it is the healthiest way of eating because it is the only one that takes a nutritional approach to our genetic make-up. Its practitioners point out that modern diets, full of refined foods, trans-fatty acids and sugar, are the cause of many degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, infertility and even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and that by adapting our diets to that of Palaeolithic man we will obtain all the nutrients necessary to keep strong, healthy and full of energy. The Paleo diet thus focuses on eating fruits and vegetables – rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which have been proven to reduce the likelihood of suffering degenerative diseases – along with healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oils and free-range meat; products rich in monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 which significantly reduce the incidence of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive impairment.
These alternative diets are winning over more and more people, so it is increasingly common to find restaurants dedicated to people who engage in these lifestyles, such as flexitarian eatery Flax&Kale, Neichel, the Polo Restaurant and the Garlana, all of which have Paleo options on the menu. Having said that, we should also champion the virtues of our rich and varied Mediterranean diet which forms the basis for Spanish cuisine and this week has been very evident at Alimentaria.