Rhyming with the familiar

Most radical changes are not embraced, and most “disruptors” are not successful. Change happens on the margins – the boundary between the familiar and the unknown.

Changing one’s diet is hard. Our favourite cuisine is often fixed by the age of 20, and our diet rarely changes once we are 30. And yet, several dietary movements – veganism, keto, Atkins, gluten free, low carb, you-name-it – sweep through our culture.

Dig a little deeper, and you can see how they push at the margins. Keto dosa is made from flour from ground almond. Vegans use almond milk, soy milk, oat milk and cashew milk as substitutes for dairy products. Supermarkets now stock soy and plant based meats and fish of various varieties.

None of those substitutes are made of anything closely resembling the original ingredients. But how similar they are depends on whom you ask. Ask a meat lover, and she would tell you how plant based meat tastes nothing like the real deal. But ask a vegan and he would swear by his soy based burger. Cheese lovers would never tolerate cashew cheese on their pizzas. But someone with lactose intolerance will tell you how you can’t tell the difference.

We don’t embrace change itself, but the stories that accompany this change. When that change rhymes with the familiar, ironically as it may seem, people who embrace the change will point to whatever is familiar, while people who do not will point to the differences.

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