2022 will be the year of coming home, according to Pinterest’s 2022 trends predictions. Coming home to the natural methods of food production, to digging out the long-forgotten recipes of our ancestors, and to eating around the table with the whole family. Coming home to our ancestral eats.

This year, we will be bringing the wisdom of our ancestors to the forefront, and the Gen X-ers and baby boomers will be leading the movement. Food contains not only vital nutrients but also biologically important information and can profoundly alter the expression of our DNA. Our predecessors understood this, and it was evident in the way they honoured their foods.

Today, we are rethinking the sacredness of our food once again. Here is how this shift will be documented in trending recipes and authentic food experiences in 2022.

Food as a commodity

What does food mean for the modern consumer? Is it a life force that invigorates both your body and soul or is it a quick bite to get you through the day? Do we pay attention to how our diet makes us feel or has calorie counting become the main concern?

Today, consuming food has turned into a commodity but there are ways to return to honouring our food as life force. Food labels, for example, provide us with information about the ingredients and the nutritional value of products. Instead of reading them and focusing on calorie-counting we could be appreciating all the vital nutrients we’re gifting our bodies with and consciously choose cleaner, organic products.

Eating out has also been commodified. But we could also choose to support ethical restaurants that have our health at heart and are giving back to the community and the environment. There are a lot of places that source the food kindly and prepare it with love, emphasising on food as a life force. We need more of those experiences.

Food as a sacred life force

But things used to be different. Historically, people viewed food as sacred and the whole process from production to consumption was imbued with love and appreciation for the land.

Judy Cariño from Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) explores the relationship of the Cordillera indigenous people with food. She says, “For the rest of the days outside community feasts, the food served depends on what is available in the fields, backyard, forest, and waters. The traditional diet then is as diverse as the biodiversity in the homeland”. It primarily consisted of rice, greens, and occasionally meat.

The Cordillera indigenous people, along with other ancestral cultures, perceived food as a gift from the land. That belief fostered a culture of solidarity and belongingness as they saw that food needs to be shared between the members and visitors.

That’s where the sacredness of food lies, and it is in this that the foundations of the ancestral diet are based.

The ancestral diet: a key to better health

Ancestral diets differed around the globe. While some cultures were primarily vegetarian, others sustained themselves with large quantities of meat. Nevertheless, none of them even resembled our standard diets today, which are packed full of refined foods.

Instead, ancestral diets consist of locally grown foods that are in resonance with the geographical location, the food availability, and the production methods and technology used. It’s about eating simple foods that are locally, organically, and sustainably grown and have been around for thousands of years. The recipes are simple, don’t involve many complex ingredients, and are seasonal.

There are many health benefits to the ancestral diet, and the reduction of diseases amongst cultures that have preserved their ancestral diets up to this date is evidence of that. The Maasai in Kenya, for example, have shown no evidence of developing cardiovascular disease, despite a diet rich in red meats and milk. With the abundance of cacao bean fields in the area, it’s expected that they indulged in organic chocolate, yet that didn’t lead to a cardiovascular disease either. In fact, it was used in healing cacao ceremonies.

This defies our theory that saturated fats and cholesterol cause cardiovascular disease. Obesity, autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases that are common for modern-day humans were unknown to our ancestors, according to archaeological evidence.

The 2022 trending ancestral foods

Recently, people have shown a keen interest in resurrecting the ancestral diet and remaking the recipes of their forefathers from all over the world. Whether it’s the health benefits, a desire to reconnect with the land, or a nostalgia for the past, one thing is for sure – 2022 will be the year of ancestral foods.

Gen X (born 1966-1976) and baby boomers (born 1946-1965) are the main trendsetters, according to Pinterest’s 2022 trend predictions. A recent survey conducted by Mustard, that aims to uncover the generation food and drink trends, found that for both Gen X and baby boomers in the UK the most important factor when buying foods and meals is the freshness of the products. Ranked as the second most important factor is that they contain ingredients they like, followed by being visually appealing.

Gen X and baby boomers’ food preferences resonate with their interest in ancestral foods. According to Pinterest’s report, search interest for “Norwegian recipes traditional” has increased by 120%, “South African recipes traditional” by 150%, and searches for “Arabic food traditional” has doubled. These recipes provide a doorway to the old ways of food-making that deeply value the land, the production methods, and the sharing of food with others.

Food is much more than we think. It’s our life force, our healer, and bearer of ancient wisdom. Our ancestors understood the deep connection we have with the land and considered food as sacred. Let’s all reinstate our relationship with food and enjoy thriving health and better communal values while cooking up indulgent recipes.