What Are "Asynchronous Meals"? This New Intuitive Eating Is Poised To Take Over Mealtimes In 2018

If you've had it with everyone and their mother telling you what you should be eating, and when you should be eating it, then you going to love the asynchronous meals trend. Just what are asynchronous meals? This food trend that is predicted to dominate 2018 is all about throwing out the rule book and embracing what works for you. And, it's about damn time. The 2018 annual trend report released by sparks & honey noted the top 10 anticipated trends for 2018, and asynchronous meals came in second on the list just behind biodosing, which is extracting your own biological material — like gut bacteria — and putting it back into your body for medical or therapeutic purposes.

Most of the trends illustrate a cultural shift toward achieving a more aspirational lifestyle (you can read the 2018 full trend report on LinkedIn), which is what asynchronous meals are all about. Similar to ayurvedic eating — which separates people into three main types called doshas, and recommends foods based on each dosha's unique needs — asynchronous eating takes it one step further. This trend is all about doing what is best for your body.

"Asynchronous meals comes down to timing. Consumers are living in a constantly connected, 24-hour, on-demand world. Where and when they work is also more flexible," Merlin Ward, director of cultural systems at sparks & honey, tells Bustle. "So, naturally, when and where they eat is shifting with their lifestyle."

Asynchronous Meals Are All About You

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I don't know why it's taken us until 2018 to realize that all people are different, and foods and eating schedules that make one person feel like a superhero can make another person feel like a garbage pail. Personally, when I tried to become vegan my body violently rejected it. Eating all plant-based foods does a number on my stomach, and I always feel hungry. During my short tenure as a vegan, I literally never felt so sick and tired in my life, and after two months I decided to listen to my body and abandon my vegan diet.

In order to feel my best I absolutely have to eat breakfast, which, when I'm working is usually a smoothie from Daily Harvest. I also eat a lot of small snacks throughout the day, have lunch, have some more snacks, then eat dinner. If I am hungry, I get hangry, so my following someone else's eating schedule is really not good for anyone. Also, eating too much sugar makes me feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. But, sometimes I really want some candy, so I started eating Smart Sweets Gummy Bears because they only have two grams of sugar.

While this is what makes me feel my best, it might not work for someone else — which is why asynchronous meals are so great. While embracing asynchronous eating doesn't mean you should start eating only candy, it does mean that you can feel empowered to decide what to eat, and when to eat it, based on what's best for your body and mind.

"Meals are becoming less structured — goodbye breakfast, lunch, and dinner — and becoming mindful, planned occasions. It’s not mindless snacking anymore. People are eating more often and smaller amounts to fit food into their busy schedules," Ward explains. "Getting sustenance when it’s needed at key times of the day. This doesn’t mean their opting for meal replacements either. Everything can become a meal, and indulgence still has its place in asynchronous meals, too."

Decide What's Best For Your Body, & Do It

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Unfortunately, an all candy or junk food diet only seems to work for Lorelai Gilmore, who I have to reluctantly admit is not actually a real person. In her 2017 memoir, Gilmore Girls actor, and author of Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls To Gilmore Girls (And Everything In Between), Lauren Graham details the absurdity of all of the different and contradictory types of eating that have been recommended to her in Hollywood over the years, and admitted that even though it made her feel sluggish and cranky, she even tried to become vegan to impress Ellen Degeneres. Graham eventually realized that she needed to do what was best for her body — which is the main idea behind asynchronous meals.

"A famous proponent of this program is [actor, author, and athlete] Terry Crews, and he has been doing this for over five years," Stephen Zieminski, founder of Naked Nutrition, tells Bustle. "The basic philosophy behind the program is that when your body is not always focusing on digesting food, it goes to work repairing other cells in your body in a process called autophagy."

Guidelines for most everything in life are often set based on what's best for the largest amount of people with the idea in mind that, while the guidelines aren't good for everyone, more people will benefit than not. In my college sociology class we often discussed how what's good for the group is sometimes bad for the individual. Tuning into the unique needs of your body, and giving it what it wants and needs, is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

"With people becoming more in-tune with their nutritional needs and therefore more aware of the way they fuel their bodies, it makes sense that we're seeing a rise in how individuals are abandoning the traditional rules for meal consumption. Instead of being limited to choosing certain foods at specific times, we've found an increase in more intuitive, balanced eating — so eggs for dinner, because you're craving protein, or salad for breakfast, because you like to start your day with greens," Lisa Booth, registered dietitian and health coach at 8fit, tells Bustle. "The options become limitless once you stop thinking about specific foods as being reserved for particular meal categories. With the asynchronous meal trend, people are listening to their bodies instead of being limited by conventional choices."

And embracing asynchronous eating is a New Year's resolution that you can actually keep pretty easily, because it's all about you. Seriously, this is the one area of your life where being selfish is not only encouraged — it's actually a really good thing.