Lo­cal food:

One man’s ‘su­per­food’ is an­other man’s tripe. Here Matt Pre­ston counts the ways he has failed to jump on the lat­est fad­dish band­wag­ons.

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FOR­GIVE me, dear food-lov­ing reader, for I have sinned. It has come to my at­ten­tion that in the course of my daily life – driv­ing the kids to sport­ing fix­tures, earn­ing a crust, pack­ing the dish­washer and try­ing not to say any­thing stupid – I might have failed to fol­low, slav­ishly at least, the trends that all the coolest culi­nary hep­cats are talk­ing about.

So here are the sins I’d like to con­fess to – trans­gres­sions that I know mark me down as not be­ing new-su­per­food cool.

I HAVEN’T GOT ANY SUS­TAIN­ABLE AL­GAE OIL IN MY PANTRY

I don’t know why I don’t be­cause al­gae grown in a fer­menter, fed on sugar and pressed to re­lease an oil that, once re­fined, is light, neu­tral and slightly nutty sounds sooo de­li­cious. Still, the en­thu­si­asts claim it’s higher in (good) mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats than olive oil and has only four per cent (bad) sat­u­rated fat com­pared with co­conut oil, which has any­where from 82 to 92 per cent, de­pend­ing on what you read.And I once ate a rather tasty plank­ton risotto (think of the flavour of sea­weed and mus­sel juice com­bined), which was the sig­na­ture dish of Aponiente in Cádiz. It was made with their own home-grown plank­ton, so that’s not all that dif­fer­ent, re­ally, is it?

I HAVEN’T SE­CURED A RE­LI­ABLE SUP­PLIER OF MANKAI

I’d love to be all about this Asian wa­ter­meal. It’s a strain of ed­i­ble duck­weed (Wolf­fia glo­bosa) grown in ponds and slow-mov­ing wa­ter­ways in North­ern Thai­land, Laos and Myan­mar. It’s eaten as chips, breads and in soups or stir-fries. Ap­par­ently pham, as it is called there, con­tains all the nine es­sen­tial and six con­di­tional amino acids – but it looks like I’ll have to move to an Isaan vil­lage to se­cure my own sup­ply.

I DON’T USE NU­TRI­TIONAL YEAST ON MY SPAG BOL

A num­ber of things stand in the way of me be­com­ing a ve­gan – my love of cheese (along with ba­con) is among the big­gest ob­sta­cles and it’s parme­san all the way when it comes to pasta. And be­cause I eat that sort of bor­ing old bal­anced Aussie diet of lots of veg­eta­bles, some fruit, nuts and seeds, and a mix of dif­fer­ent pro­teins, I’m lucky enough not to have to start the day with a cock­tail of ex­pen­sive pills and sup­ple­ments. Still, if I was a ve­gan, I’m sure I would em­brace this salty and slightly cheesy-tast­ing dead yeast as my ‘ve­gan sup­port for­mula’. Af­ter all, it’s grown on mo­lasses and that’s what they make rum out of.

I DON’T WOR­SHIP PRO­TEIN

Pro­tein is very trendy in some quar­ters, yet it’s also drift­ing back into be­ing seen as a bad guy, not least be­cause of the wor­ri­some en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and eth­i­cal con­cerns of some of its pro­duc­tion and har­vest­ing, and do­cos such as Forks Over Knives, which ad­vo­cates re­ject­ing an­i­mal-based pro­teins for health rea­sons. I’ll leave you to do your due dili­gence on this one, but re­mem­ber that a large num­ber of the neg­a­tives as­so­ci­ated with a high-pro­tein diet are more about what you leave out of your diet (namely veg­eta­bles and whole grains) in favour of that ex­tra pro­tein. And let’s not even start on the $8 bil­lion global mar­ket for pro­tein sup­ple­ments.

I’M NOT SURE I HAVE ENOUGH ADAPTOGENS IN MY DIET

This whole panic started when some­one asked me if I was get­ting enough of the plants or herbs that some al­ter­na­tive health prac­ti­tion­ers claim can help the body adapt to stress pos­si­bly by ‘recharg­ing’ the adrenal glands. I was im­me­di­ately gripped with a true hypochon­driac male’s fear that an over­sight in adopt­ing adaptogens might be ru­in­ing my health and dra­mat­i­cally cut­ting short my life. I sus­pected I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be feel­ing so stressed if I was en­joy­ing my daily in­take of ash­wa­gandha, as­tra­galus and gin­seng.While fungi such as reishi, cordy­ceps and maitake were also lim­ited to, err, zero per cent of my diet. Thank heav­ens, then, for the good news that the liquorice-root tea I drink be­fore bed and the shi­itake I grind into my mush­room risotto are all, prob­a­bly, adap­to­gen-heavy. So, cri­sis averted. What­ever your idea of ‘su­per­food’, you’ll find plenty of in­spi­ra­tion on de­li­cious.com.au.

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