About 40% of the items sold in American and British supermarkets would not really be classified as food. Food is any nutritious substance that humans need in order to maintain life and growth, and nutritious means that it enables a good standard of living to be achieved. Using this terminology to describe a lot of the food we eat today would be far from telling the truth.

100 years ago, everyone was a locavore which meant that everyone ate locally sourced food. Each household had a cook, usually a mum, who would regularly buy and prepare fresh food. There was no such thing as a snack, or frozen food until Clarence Birdseye came along in the 1920s. Margarine hadn’t yet been invented, and even when it did come into existence, many states in America had passed laws declaring that it be dyed pink so that everyone would know it was a fake. There were no restaurants chains and eating ethnic food was unheard of, unless you were ethnic! Fats, carbs, proteins – no one cared about them, they weren’t good or bad, they were food.

However, from the 1930s, infrastructure became more developed so trucks replaced railways and fresh food started to travel. Eventually, California produced more food than they could ship fresh so it became critical to market canned and frozen food. This gave rise to convenience which facilitated feminist housewives who wanted to cut down on housework. But it cut down on the variety of food we ate as well. Cattle were already being raised unnaturally. Rather than spending their days eating grass, which their stomachs were designed to do, they were force fed soy and corn. Cows had trouble digesting these grains, but it wasn’t a problem for producers. Moreover, corn, wheat and soy became really easy to trade, ship and process so governments started to provide subsidies for mono-cropping which is where rows and rows of a single crop are cultivated and harvested mechanically in a huge field. Home cooking was still around, but its quality had diminished considerably. Breads, desserts and soups didn’t need to be cooked from scratch anymore, it was easier to buy them from the nearest shop. By the 70s, a few people began to realise the value of local ingredients, so having gardens and eating organic food became an interest, but only an interest. Despite the fact that the number of vegetarians was increasing, slightly, the majority of the population was more interested by industrial food production. Sadly, it was at this time that the home cooked family dinner saw its end.

People’s eating habits were in a such a bad state that the high fat and spice content of foods like McNuggets made this stuff more appealing that the more unflavoured but nutritious food being served at home. Simultaneously, masses of women were entering the workforce, and cooking wasn’t important enough for men to share the burden. Leading the way was meat, junk food and cheese – all of which aren’t very complimentary to our health. Have you ever thought about the fact that a McDonalds burger never rots? Well, it’s because they’re full of chemicals! This can’t be good for our bodies; we don’t need meat or junk food for good health. We’re not born craving Skittles or a BigMac. We have to take matters into our own hands, not just by advocating cleaner diets for others, which is the hard part, but by improving our own food intake, which happens to be quite easy. It’s a simple formula: eat food, eat real food. Not only will we cut down on the calories by doing so, but we will reduce our carbon footprint. We can make food more important, not less, and save ourselves at the same time. We must choose this path.

 

 

Note: My previous blog post was about poverty/homelessness and how we could go about solving this problem, if indeed you see it as a problem. I recently remembered a Kendrick Lamar song called ‘How Much a Dollar Cost’ from his album ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ and I think that it gives a unique perspective on poverty – basically, what I’m trying to say is that if you enjoyed my poverty blog post, I think that you should listen to this song.

As usual, there was a podcast episode from Freakonomics that inspired this post, it’s linked here.

In addition, if you are interested in changing your diet or learning more about the importance of food, check out the Netflix series called ‘Cooked’, you can find it here.

The book behind the Netflix series mentioned above is also called ‘Cooked‘ – my dad has read it (and I will be reading it shortly too) and he highly recommends it!

The visual at the top of the page was from Marta Montenegro.

28 thoughts on “We Must Change our Eating Habits

  1. Before I finished your post, I was already wondering, “Has Everday Economix read Michael Pollan?”

    I think I enjoyed his “In Defense of Food” even more than “Cooked,” though I like both, and I think the Netflix videos add to the conversation.

    His simple advice, boiled down, is genius:
    “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

    The audiobook edition was unabridged, and nicely read by the author. I found it at my local library and recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments – I think that it is always possible to eat organic food whether you buy it from a supermarket our grow it yourself. Could you please elaborate on your comment so that my response could be more specific to your issues.

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      1. I have a garden of mine but its damn costly and tedious to grow own food and hardly anything great is yielded as its done on terrace ,everyone can’t have land in metro cities

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, you’re right – not everyone has the ability to grow their own food due to lack of money/resources.

        However, there must be fresh fruit and vegetables available for you to buy.

        If not, then your situation is unfortunate and I hope that your government/local council recognises it and works to correct it as everybody deserves to have access to basic, affordable, healthy, fresh food.

        If you personally feel as though it’s an issue that’s not being dealt with, I’d recommend writing a letter to your local governing body or trying to get into contact with them because I believe that it would be hugely beneficial to you and your community.

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      3. But if the community care enough, can’t they work together to change this? The authorities can’t ignore the views of the majority – if they ignore the majority then the international media would make it seem as though the citizens are being oppressed; this certainly is not in the interest of the authorities, no matter how corrupt they are.

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      4. I guess you stay in USA or any other developed country ,country like India is more concerned about fighting over religion than focussing on all this

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    2. Yes, I currently live in the UK but I’ve lived in India in the past. To be honest with you, my food consumption was so much better in India than in the UK – in India the subjhee walas are abundant! At least where I lived, I could buy fresh fruit and vegetables at every corner.

      However, in the UK there are always chocolates and fast food at every corner instead. My food problems started in the UK despite the fact that the quality of the fresh food is arguably better.

      Eating fresh food in India is almost a necessity for the poor since they can’t access anything else, also most Indian meals are cooked with fresh ingredients so I still don’t fully understand your issue if you do live in India.

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      1. Here you get fresh but not organic ,you are confused ,actually quality of food in India is not supervised by any authority ,local subzi wala brings it from mandi ,which is one of the most filthy place to visit ,usage of artificial colours , contaminated water and lots more to deteriorate your health

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      1. I guess you’re right, but my parents and grandparents grew up in India, eating these vegetables on a daily basis. They haven’t experienced any serious health problems due to this. I’d even say that their health is better than that of an equivalent man/woman who grew up in the UK despite the fact that they ate ‘contaminated’ food during their childhood.

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      2. Its not about healthy ,its about immunity ,Indians have developed immunity accordingly ,we drink contaminated water but we don’t get sick as our bodies have adapted accordingly ,you drink it once you will be hospitalised

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      3. I guess you are not aware of adaptation ,Indians are adapted to contamination and adulteration ,this doesn’t mean we are legitimate to have all this but unfortunately we don’t have choice

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      4. But the contamination is caused by humans – they have the choice as to whether or whether not they choose to use chemicals on their crops.

        Besides, I think that developed countries are becoming too clean. The immune systems of people in the western world are hardly ever subject to germs and bacteria which means that we hardly stand a chance if there’s an outbreak of pandemic disease. Despite all of the resources we have, I wouldn’t say that the ‘survival of the fittest’ would apply to us for this reason.

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      5. But you can’t eat garbage to be strongly immune , its not about choice its about corrupt system ,we have no laws to punish such people who add contamination

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      6. I’m not suggesting that we eat garbage, (although that would be pretty funny). I’m suggesting that we stop adding preservatives and other chemicals to our food in order to make it ‘safer’ to eat. Why can’t we all just eat natural, local food – why does it have to travel thousands of miles? This is certainly easy to say but hard to live by in this day and age, but this is the reality of the world we live in.

        Everyone has so many demands and they expect all of these demands to be fulfilled straight away. People need to be taught patience, as well as gratitude and gratefulness for what they have. We don’t need more, more, more – we should just be happy as we are.

        Also, people are getting paranoid over germs! For example, do we really need hand sanitizers? or the hundreds of other unnecessary​ personal hygiene​ products that people are buying every day?

        With regards to corruption, I acknowledge​ that it is a huge problem (in India in particular). But what I don’t understand is why would the corrupt people sacrifice their own health for money? Forget about other people, this is about what they’re putting into their own bodies. Do they just not care about improving their health, or is money more important?

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      7. Health needs wisdom and 0.000001% are wise rest are stupids ,so they do not even know what they are eating and why ,they eat for taste ,not for health , regarding preservatives ,its there from ages like salt ,sugar etc in pickles etc ,but now we have chemicals ,if in India I need blueberries ,I will get with preservative only ,we don’t grow it in India ,nothing wrong with sanitizers if one doesn’t has water and soap ,which is in scarcity in India

        Liked by 1 person

      8. To be honest with you, the intended audience for my articles was people living in the developed world. I think this is why many things I write in the post don’t resonate/seem practical to you in India.

        Yes, if you want blueberries you’ll need preservatives because they don’t grow in India – but what I’m trying to say is that you don’t need blueberries. The only reason you’re eating them is because they’re readily available to you with preservatives. I’m sure you’d appreciate them a lot more if you travelled to California or Michigan to eat them freshly. Anyway, this idea of travelling to eat exotic foods isn’t implementable in the modern world as people have grown to become more demanding and impatient.

        In India maybe sanitisers are more necessary than in the UK/USA but if sanitisers are available to poor Indians then why isn’t soap and water available? I’m sure soap and water is cheaper than sanitiser. And soap and water is much more of an effective cleaner than sanitiser.

        I feel like this conversation could go on forever, but I guess we’ll both have to agree to disagree! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post and continue the discussion – I think that we were both talking about different parts of the world (India and the UK/USA) which is why there were disagreements in a lot of the things being said. Anyway, thanks again and I’ve just read some of the poems on your website – I especially liked ‘Relationship’.

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