Two Philly Fitness Pros Are Redefining What a Healthy Diet Means

As part of a new panel series, Adriana Adelé and Alanna Gardner will ask nutrition experts to explore the buzzy phrase "diet culture."

diet culture

Adriana Adelé and Alanna Gardner’s first panel in their Aalign to Redefine series will delve into diet culture. / Photograph courtesy Alanna Gardner

If you feel like diets are more popular than ever these days, you’re right: More than a third of Americans follow a specific eating pattern — up from 14 percent in 2017 — and our Instagram feeds are flush with folks swearing that paleo or Whole30 or keto was the regimen that finally changed their bodies for good. Has there ever been a mid-scroll moment, though, when you’ve wondered whether these programs are actually healthy? Or why so many of us are resorting to them?

These are the types of provocative questions Adriana Adelé and Alanna Gardner will ask on January 28 at Shot Tower Coffee during “Redefining: Diet and Nutrition,” the first event in the fitness pros’ new panel series, Aalign to Redefine. In this case, five local experts — ranging from registered dietitian Dalina Soto to food policy expert Jiana Murdic — will dig into buzzwords such as “diet culture” and explain why restricting food might not actually be the best strategy for a healthy lifestyle. “With a fitness culture like Philly’s that’s so abundant, it only makes sense that diet culture makes its way in,” says Adelé, a popular local yoga teacher and one of our fitness trainers to watch in 2019. “This is a shift in the conversation that’s really needed.”

Adelé and Gardner, who have served on or moderated panels in the past, plan to pull on many threads in the diet culture conversation. Like the idea that mainstream diet trends are frequently aimed toward a white, thin, fit audience without much room for other demographics. Or how outside factors — capitalism, class, where we live — influence our decisions when it comes to food. Sometimes, for instance, Philadelphians may shop at a nearby bodega because they don’t have a car to get to a store with healthier options (and who wants to schlep several bags of groceries on the Market-Frankford Line). “Our mission is to make the conversation around health and wellness more inclusive and accessible,” says Gardner, an SLT and Flywheel Sports instructor and marriage and family therapist. “And that means being very honest about the limitations put on people when it comes to what they put into their bodies.”

The discussion will come with juice from Sip-N-Glo Juicery, Lil Pop Shop‘s popsicles, and snacks à la Reap Wellness (founded by former Be Well Philly editor Adjua Fisher). Tickets are $15, and you can buy them here.

The pair are still in brainstorm mode with the rest of the Aalign to Redefine series, which they plan to hold quarterly, but hope to touch on big topics such as mental health and diversity. Heavy stuff, we know — but that’s exactly why we need to be talking about it.

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