I don't know if you do this, but I am hoping you do ... not because I want you to suffer, I just hope I'm not the only who often feels they're the social equivalent of a newly born panda - slightly pathetic, and slightly sticky, in most complex social situations.

So, does anyone else go into a cafe and panic buy? You'll be in one of those places, where everything is white and glowing, and suddenly a hipster waiter (sorry, electronic music recording artist/spoken word poet) will appear.

"Hey, howyougoingcanIgetyouanything?" You'll look down at the menu, which you didn't realise was a menu because it was written on a broccoli stem, and you don't understand anything. So you just order the first thing you see. Then you spend half an hour chewing something that is partially cooked and totally tasteless.

I know I'm not the only person who does this (I only take my Dad out to restaurants because he gets even more confused than I do). Menus have definitely got trickier. Now, more than ever, no one knows what the hell they're ordering.

Advertisement

This is because of the steady rise of the nutrition phenomenon.

I'm not talking about basic concern over making children drink milk and putting folic acid in bread. There's always been a base level concern over making sure people eat the right things. What I'm talking about is the recent rise in concern over eating grains at the right times, spiking everything with kale, drinking green smoothies, snacking on low-GI foods and making sure everything comes with chia seeds.

The nutrition movement has galvanised the middle classes in a way that hasn't been seen since the birth of Tupperware.

Are you eating enough cacao nibs? Are you drinking your coconut water? Are you using your Nutribullet for every possible dining scenario? (When in doubt, blend it.) As such, in an effort to keep up with our nutritional fixation, cafe menus have become laced with health foods - quinoa, chia and other things you know nothing about. (Except that they all end in "a" and come in the same colour.) Even ordering in a cafe itself is difficult. Are you ordering toast? Heretic! Burn her!

So why are we suddenly so obsessed with this?

I think we're seeing nutrition become a new indicator of social status. Knowing your health foods and your sugar patterns is a sign of education. It's a display of your expertise in looking after your body. Not only that, but taking the time to look after yourself is proof that you have spare time. You are a person who can afford to care about these things. Of course, none of these super foods are cheap, nor is eating with such pernickety rigour, so it's also proof you've got money to burn. Plus, it's a topic widely taken up by middle class media, who have always been telling you to watch those sugar levels, you naughty thing!

All of these things have combined to make understanding nutrition a way to show you are a sophisticated, educated, superior sort of person who looks after their body. You're responsible, damn it.

You see a similar thing in the rise of wearing activewear. It's people wanting to show that they look after themselves. It's cool to do because it shows the world that you are one of those people who can afford to channel time and effort into their wobbly bits.

Somehow appearing disciplined, healthy and disgustingly self-righteous became posh.

Having a Ferrari won't cut it these days. You need to have a Ferrari and take selfies in it while simultaneously eating quinoa cake and posting the whole thing on Instagram with a "#blessed" to show you are humbly aware of your immense aweseomeness.

Where does that leave us normal people? Scrambling to keep up. Don't eat a panini! Don't eat polenta! And dear God, don't eat salted caramel - what is this, 2013? Keep up, keep at it, and one day, if you're very good, we may give you a kale smoothie.