Sunday 23 October 2016

The foodie tribes: Which diet group are you in?

Claire O'mahony

Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30

Weekend Warrior: illustration by Declan Considine
The Fadster: illustration by Declan Considine
The Foodstagrammer: illustration by Declan Considine
The clean eater: illustration by Declan Considine
The flexitarian: illustration by Declan Considine
The sugar shunner: illustration by Declan Considine.

From Paleo menus to Instagram addicts, these days we really are what we eat. So, which dietary grouping do you belong to?

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The Weekend Warrior


Of all her friends, the WW thinks she has the healthiest attitude to eating. Her mantra is, "You can't be good the whole time", so she embraces the 80pc good, 20pc bad rule. Weekday food consumption is made up of antioxidant-heavy super salads and chicken stir-fries; weekends are boozy brunches with eggs Benedict and home fries, plus extra Hollandaise. It is, she believes, a more balanced way of eating. She considers restrictive diets to be joyless and ultimately unhealthy. But she's growing increasingly nervous that the daily green juice consumption is not offsetting off her wine/pizza/curry chips free-for-all weekends. And her pencil skirts have gotten a little snug.

Dream dinner: Weekdays: salmon fillet and quinoa salad. Weekends: take-away with ALL of the sides.

Most likely to say: "I deserve a treat."

Least likely to say: "I'm going to have a dry weekend."

Fantasy dinner datE: Gizzi Erskine. The TV chef and author of Gizzi's Healthy Appetite who champions wellbeing but doesn't think courgette spirals and avocado pesto constitute a proper dinner.

The Fadster


It's been a long road to wellville for the Fadster who was already into the Paleo diet while others were still trying to get to grips with Atkins. If it's a new eating trend, she's on it. The Mediterranean Diet, the Dukan Diet, the South Beach Diet, the 5/2 diet? She's done them all - but never under the auspices of trying to lose weight. Rather, it's all about the pursuit of wellbeing (read: killer abs, radiant skin and bouncy hair). Recent years have seen a steady dint in her bank account thanks to chia seeds, matcha tea and kañiwa - it's the new quinoa - addictions.

Dream dinner: Anything involving cauliflower. It's having a moment right now.

Most likely to say: "Souping is the new juicing."

Least likely to say: "What's a super food?"

Fantasy dinner date: Dave Asprey. He pioneered last year's hottest food trend: bulletproof coffee. He advocates adding some butter to your hot drink as an appetite-suppressing energy booster.

The Foodstagrammer


If you don't document your meal on social media, did it ever exist? It's not just her beautiful and nutritious dinners that the Foodstagrammer likes to share, but also her inspirational post-work-out selfies. Some of her most liked photos include her raw cacao and chocolate beetroot Paleo brownies, as well as her fruit salad plate where the apples were cut into love hearts. Sometimes she spends so much time working on the composition of the shot that she doesn't get to eat the food, but you've got to suffer for your art, right?

Dream dinner: Anything that boosts her Instagram following.

Most likely to say: "These are healthies, not selfies."

Least likely to say: "#fastfoodblowout #neveragain"

Fantasy dinner date: Ella Woodward, the healthy blogger turned culinary superstar. That's living the dream.

The Sugar Shunner


She can't help herself but the sugar shunner is a bit obsessive about the evils of sugar - so much so she's boring her friends, just a smidge. Sugar is so ageing, she tells them, because it damages collagen, as well as being responsible for most of the diseases currently ailing humankind, as well as being terribly fattening. It's not just bread, cakes, chocolate, potatoes and the usual high-carb suspects that are out of bounds. She's been known to throw a strop if she even suspects a shop-bought salad dressing is being used, because as everyone knows, sugar is added to everything. And forget about sweet fruits like grapes… Heaven help you if you wave a Rice Krispie cake in front of her child!

Dream dinner: Lean protein, green vegetables and cheese to finish.

Most likely to say: "I don't need to read food labels because I don't buy any processed food."

Least likely to say: "Mine's a full-fat soda."

Fantasy dinner date: Anyone who knows their fructose from their glucose.

The Flexitarian


Meat-free Mondays proved no problem. But a life without pulled pork, prawn cocktails and beef enchiladas turned out to be boring. And so, the embracement of flexitarianism - categorised by mainly eating veggie meals with the odd meat fest thrown in - proved the way forward. Yes, the Flexitarian is trying to have her beefcake and eat it too but every meat-less meal is helping the planet a little. Plus, she's saving so much money by not buying steaks and Parma ham and chicken breasts that she can squirrel enough away to buy the Stella McCartney Falabella faux brushed-leather backpack (€835) in no time.

DREAM DINNER: Surf and turf on one night, followed by a goats' cheese casserole, lentil dahl and veggie chilli for the next three days.

Most likely to say: "One size doesn't fit all."

Least likely to say: "It's vegetarianism with cheating."

Fantasy dinner datE: The McCartney family. The Flexitarian is not quite there yet in terms of vegetarianism but she is prepared to be guided.

The Clean Eater


Her birthday saw the Clean Eater hitting the present jackpot after she was gifted a NutriBullet and a spiralizer by her husband. The last six months have been a whirl of kale-laden juices (liquids only until lunch is the rule) and sweet potato noodles. It's a far remove from her previously ready-meal-only existence but there's such a buzz about clean eating right now - so wholesome, so anti-refined foods - that she feels she's part of a new food movement and she loves it. It hasn't been without its challenges. She can't get on board with Brussels sprouts even if they're shredded and anointed in fino sherry vinegar and she sometimes craves a dirty burger. But in the main she feels fabulous and glowing and trim… if a little light-headed at times.

Dream dinner: Salsa verde stuffed chicken wrapped in corn rusks.

Most likely to say: "It's not about the kcals or the carbs, it's how food gets to the plate."

Least likely to say: "I'd murder a spice bag. Can we get chicken balls with that?"

Fantasy dinner date: A toss-up between Irish clean eating queens Rosanna Davison and Roz Purcell.

Illustrations by Declan Considine

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