Media Trends: January 2016



The start of a new year is possibly a book publisher’s favourite time to promote their new books on good health and better living.

The Paleo diet has gained serious momentum over recent years, even after the Association of UK Dietitians listed it as one of the top five worst celebrity diets to avoid in 2015. The latest famous person to jump on that bandwagon is Art Green, star of New Zealand’s reality show, The Bachelor, with his book, Eat Clean, Live Lean (Allen & Unwin).

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Another health trend is the mindfulness movement, akin to having a heightened sense of self-awareness in the present moment. Mind Your Body (HarperCollins) by Joel Harper, personal trainer to television’s Dr Mehmet Oz, promises to give you a positive new outlook (and drop a dress size) all for a mere 15 minutes a day for four weeks, using, as he says, “mindful techniques and effective workouts.”

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Whether it is a diet mimicking our cavemen “ancestors” or an exercise routine that “harnesses your brainpower to make lasting changes,” health and diet trends tend to reflect what society is most concerned with at the time. The Paleo diet has gained its many followers perhaps for the same reason why anything vintage now comes with an expensive price tag: we are tired of our current pace of life and long to return to a time when everything was “simpler” and “better.” Our attempts to be still, to be mindful of what we are doing, are also likely in response to a time-poor, attention-deficient world: we are no longer able to focus on anything for an extended period of time, thanks to all the information that assaults our senses from the moment we wake.

And yet, there are no shortcuts on the road to good health. As Darren Morton says in Live More Active (Signs Publishing Company), now in its second edition, an optimal active lifestyle with the best possible health outcomes relies on long-term changes. It is old-fashioned—or more accurately, timeless—advice.

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Reality television exploded in popularity almost 20 years ago and doesn’t appear to be waning. The subgenres seem to come in waves: an incomplete list includes “game shows” such as Big Brother and The Amazing Race; singing competitions such as the Idol franchise and The X Factor; cooking shows such as Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules; and renovation shows such as The Block and House Rules.

As we tire of alliances, singing, cooking and renovating, television channels are now telling us to sit back, relax and watch as the love lives of others unfold through The Bachelor and Married at First Sight. At the time of writing, a new series called Kiss Bang Love, where contestants—strangers—“kiss their way to love,” is scheduled for release this year. In a world where many are becoming increasingly frustrated in their futile search for someone to spend the rest of their lives with, the popularity of reality shows such as these may be because they subconsciously give hope—that perhaps finding true love may not need to be as complicated as it seems. Or perhaps, it’s a reflection of an environment where love comes fast and relationships end even faster; where “till death do us part” is no longer necessary and spouses or partners are as disposable as the television shows we watch.

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