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11 foods we loved to hate (or just secretly loved!) from the past decade

Pumpkin spice invaded every corner of the food world and people couldn't stop taking pictures of brightly colored food.
fooddeco/Instagram/ starbucks/ shutterstock/ Pizza Hut
/ Source: TODAY

As a new decade approaches, it's hard not to get a little nostalgic about some of the amazing foods and drinks we became obsessed with over the past 10 years. The rise of Instagram led to a meteoric surge in shareable creations.

But, in hindsight, many of those foods were more cringeworthy than binge-worthy.

From avocado toast that costs more than a tank of gas to milkshake creations that meet all of your daily caloric needs — and then some — here are 11 foods we hate to admit we once loved (or just loved to hate) during the 2010s.

1. Kale everywhere

Courtesy Archie McPhee

Time declared 2012 as the year "a long neglected and even despised leafy green" somehow became "America's vegetable sweetheart." Since then, kale has infiltrated thousands of recipes and become a regular staple on restaurant menus across the country. Sure, it's nutritious and versatile — but so are plenty of other leafy greens! However, kale wasn't well received when McDonald's tried topping its burgers with a blend of baby kale in 2017. But even that reaction doesn't compare to the uproar earlier this year when kale-flavored candy canes hit store shelves.

2. Overpriced avocado toast ... and avocado everything

Avocado toast barNathan Congleton / TODAY

It's not uncommon to pay $13 for avocado toast. But $31? That's what you'll pay if you order the avocado toast and poached eggs at The Garden at the Four Seasons in New York City. While avocado toast has long been a thing in Australia (where it's been eaten for years), The Washington Post credits Gwyneth Paltrow with bringing it to the masses in the U.S. since she included an avocado toast recipe in her 2013 cookbook, "It's All Good."

Avocado consumption overall soared during the 2010s. In the 1990s, the average American ate about 1.5 pounds of the creamy green fruit, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By 2018, that figure has grew to almost 8 pounds, according to the Hass Avocado Board.

Avocados are so beloved that people even started using them to propose.

3. Insane milkshakes

Milkshakes are decadent enough on their own but thanks to restaurants like Black Tap, Sugar Factory and Bill's Bar & Burger, it's not uncommon to see milkshakes topped with an entire slice of cake, a Pop-Tart or a giant cloud of cotton candy. These Instagram-worthy desserts might be gorgeous but they're difficult to eat. At least many aren't that expensive. A Chocolate Peanut Butter Bomb Monster Shake at Bill's Bar & Burger is $10, while a Crazyshake at Black Tap's Disneyland location starts at $15.

Of course, you can also make your own over-the-top milkshake at home.

4. Over-the-top stuffed crust pizzas

Courtesy Pizza Hut

In 2015, Pizza Hut brought its hot dog-stuffed crust pizza to the U.S. The bizarre dish, which had been available in the U.K. for years, finally brought two beloved foods together in one giant, eye-catching pie. Unlike the pizzas that were previously available which were surrounded by one long continuous, sausage baked into the crust, the American version featured a crown of 28 individual hot dog bites. The pizza proved to be pretty controversial and launched a string of other fast-food mashups.

5. Juicing to cleanse

Mike Mendell / The Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing

In 2015, The L.A. Times reported that juicing — which really gained steam in the 1970s — was stronger than ever. Suddenly, celebrities like Salma Hayek, Blake Lively, Pharrell Williams and Colin Farrell were constantly being photographed with cold-pressed juices in hand. In addition to juice cleanses flooding the market and the "Ultimate Book of Modern Juicing" being published, this past decade even saw the birth of the juice crawl: it's like a pub crawl, but instead of drinking beer and doing shots of tequila, you sip beet juice and chase it with wheatgrass. Unfortunately for those truly looking to cleanse, consuming sugary juices is not the way to do it. Plus, at $10-$15 a pop, many juice blends are prohibitively expensive. Just eat the fruit!

6. Charcoal

In 2016, Grubstreet called activated charcoal the "latest hot ingredient." Suddenly, inky burger buns, ashy gray croissants and black soft serve ice cream were all the rage. Even chains like Burger King, TGI Fridays and, most recently, Starbucks, got on board. While everyone knows black will never go out of style when it comes to clothes, consuming too much activated charcoal isn't a good thing because it can make medication you're taking less effective. Plus, it turns your poop all kinds of weird colors.

7. Foods made for Instagram

Alessandra Bulow / TODAY

In 2016, The Washington Post dubbed the rainbow bagel "the most controversial bagel in Brooklyn." Also known as "the bagel that broke the internet," The Bagel Store's signature item undoubtedly spurred a wave of foods that weren't necessarily meant to be eaten — the restaurants and customers were all just doin' it for the 'gram. Today, our feeds are littered with brightly colored smoothie bowls (another trending food of the last decade), rolled ice cream and, perhaps the most unnecessary of all, selfieccinos.

8. Unicorn-colored everything

Starbucks Unicorn FrappuccinoStarbucks

Who on earth decided what a unicorn should taste like and why? Spurred by the polarizing Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks, the unicorn food trend was nearly impossible to escape as it gained steam in 2017. Foods that had no business being bright pink and blue were suddenly everywhere. From unicorn spring rolls and unicorn cereal, to unicorn ramen, the insanely bright color palette is still haunting our social media feeds.

9. Artisanal raw cookie dough

Dina Joanna Coloma / Dina Joanna Coloma

Ben & Jerry's made the world's first batch of cookie dough ice cream in 1984. Despite how popular it became, it wasn't until 2017 that we started eating mounds of cookie dough as ice cream. Thanks largely in part to Kristen Tomlan, who started serving cookie dough to Manhattan's masses at her wildly popular brick-and-mortar shop, Dō, and The Cookie Dough Cafe founders who appeared on "Shark Tank" with their assortment of cookie dough tubs, suddenly eating raw cookie dough wasn't so taboo.

While anyone who has ever made a batch of cookies from scratch has likely indulged in a few bites of dough (with raw eggs!) these egg-less, edible wonders were designed to be eaten by the spoonful. While the scoops of dough are beautiful and a cool idea in theory, some people soon found that eating a small mountain of sugary cookie dough was just a bit too indulgent and not worth the calories.

10. Hand salad

Some called it utilitarian, some called it unsettling. But pretty much everyone agreed that Bon Appétit certainly got our attention in 2017 when it started promoting a recipe for a dish the editors dubbed "hand salad." The idea of using a leaf of lettuce as a vehicle for dip or dressing isn't too far from the perfectly acceptable, and totally normal, concept of crudités. But the public really had a problem with the image of serving a salad consisting of hands.

11. Pumpkin spice everything

Kellogg's Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes have the potential for gggreatness.Courtesy of Kellogg's Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes

These days, pumpkin spice is known as the flavor of fall. Starbucks' best-selling drink debuted in 2003, but its popularity truly soared over the past 10 years, spawning an endless array of pumpkin-spiced goods. From Pumpkin Spice Spam (which came out earlier this year), to cereals, yogurt, truffles and more, if you're a fan of pumpkin spice, the last decade provided an endless array of items to enjoy.