Is That Taco Ancestral? (AKA How to Sound Smug and Eat Trendy)

The Knock Knock office resides off Venice’s prestigious Abbot Kinney Boulevard (if you haven’t heard, it’s apparently “America’s coolest street”). Our nearby grocer is an organic foods market exclusive to Los Angeles that’s fit with a tonic and juice bar, $55 jars of honey, and a seriously comprehensive selection of organic bone broths. So, we naturally try to keep up with the new foodie phrases heard randomly in our neighborhood and broke down a handful below so you can, too.

Remember these nutritional-ish terms the next time you fill out your What to Eat Pad or find yourself on a mountain with a naturopathic doctor and need a conversation-starter.


1. Ancestral eating
noun | an·ces·tral eat·ing | \ an-‘ses-trəl – e-ting\

Definition: A diet consisting of eating what your ancestors ate. Ancestral eaters eat natural, organic, unrefined, unprocessed, and non-GMO whole foods solely dependent on one’s genetic and cultural history.

Used in a sentence: “I don’t care that it’s your birthday dinner—I’m on a strict ancestral eating regime this week and will only eat buffalo from my backyard.”

2. Nutrient-dense
adjective | nu·tri·ent | \ ˈnü-tre-ənt-ˈden(t)s \

Definition: An adjective to describe food high in nutrients but relatively low in calories. Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Used in a sentence: “Stashed with vitamins B12, B6, folate, copper, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, I’m excited to dig into my nutrient dense multi-liver sauté—yum!”

3. Ketogenic (diet)
adjective | ke·to·gen·ic | \ ke-to-ˈje-nik \

Definition: A high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet that involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake so the body starts breaking down its own fat stores for energy—a process called ketosis. The ketogenic diet is primarily used to treat epilepsy in children.

Used in a sentence: “You’ll have to excuse me again—I just downed two jugs of whole-fat milk per my ketogenic diet and have to measure my ketone bodies every fifteen minutes. (My friends also now nicknamed me ‘Milky.’)”

4. Bulletproof (coffee)
adjective | bul·let·proof | \ ˈbu̇-lət-ˌprüf  \

Definition: Brewed coffee blended with unsalted, grass-fed butter, and medium-chain triglyceride oil. Bulletproof coffee can supplement breakfast as part of a ketogenic diet.

Used in a sentence: “I replaced my breakfast with Bulletproof coffee and my loneliness with cats.”

5. Biodynamic (agriculture)
adjective | bio·dy·nam·ic | \ ˈbi-o-di-ˈna-mik \

Definition: An organic farming method dependent on holistic and self-sustainable principles. Biodynamic agriculture is non-GMO, prohibits chemical pesticides, is self-contained, and minimally dependent on imported materials. Biodynamic farming focuses on biodiversity and its calendars depend on the position of the stars and the moon.

Used in a sentence: “When you take a whiff of my biodynamic chicken fingers, you can almost smell the live worms the biodynamic farmers fed them from their own compost!”

6. Certified Transitional
adjective | cer·ti·fied tran·si·tion·al | \ sər-tə-fīd-ˈtran(t)-ˈsish-nəl \

Definition: Describes a program in which a third-party certification company will monitor and approve farms transitioning from conventional to organic—a process typically lasting three years. “Certified Transitional” farms cannot sell product as organic. Kellogg-owned brand Kashi helped develop the protocol for “Certified Transitional.”

Used in a sentence: “Okay, so this flax granola isn’t organic, per se, but it’s getting there. It’s ‘Certified Transitional.’”

7. Prebiotic
noun | pre·bi·ot·ic | \ pre-bi-ˈä-tik \

Definition: A non-digestible food ingredient that supports healthy probiotic bacteria in the body, mainly in the intestines.

Used in a sentence: “Thank you for always supporting me, like prebiotic chicory roots to my gut flora.”

8. Probiotic:
noun |  pro·bi·ot·ic | \ pro-bi-ˈä-tik \

Definition: A bacteria in food or supplements that when consumed improves beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract and overall digestive health.

Used in a sentence: “Thank you for always supporting me, like probiotic yogurt to my digestive tract.”

9. Alkaline (water)
noun | al·ka·line | \ ˈal-kə-lən \

Definition: Water with a higher pH level than regular drinking water (which has a pH of 7). Alkaline water is believed to help neutralize acid in the body, boost metabolism, and help absorb nutrients. (According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no scientific evidence fully verifying these claims.)

Used in a sentence: “So, you’re saying alkaline water compares to tap water as Nobel Prizes compare to the Teen Choice Awards?”

10. Phytonutrients:
noun | phy·to·nu·tri·ent | \ fi-to-ˈnü-tre-ənt \

Definition: Natural chemicals in plants associated with positive health effects.

Used in a sentence: “Go ahead and make fun of my garlic breath. While I’m benefiting from garlic’s phytonutrients, you’ll be swimming in heart disease.”


What food phrases make you scratch your head? Tell us in a comment.




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