Monday, November 07, 2011

How do I Choose my Food

Food is an essential part of life, it sustains our existence. Food is more then functional, it has become part of our culture and plays a big part in our social lives. Here I would like to examine the effect of food on our thinking or how our thinking effects our diet.

  • What motivates people to eat?

  • It must be more then hunger, because so many people are over weight.

  • Why does the brain/body trick people into over eating?

Why do I Eat the Wrong Food?
Recently I was in a popular food chain. While waiting in line, reading the menu I tried to decide what to eat; none of the food seemed appealing. I glanced at a picture on the wall of a meal that looked delicious, and looked back at the menu to see how much it cost. My eyes had activated some part of my senses and made me feel hungry.

I ordered the meal in the picture, and waited a minute or two for it to be prepared. It wasn’t long before I was sitting down ready to eat. The food in front of me didn’t look anything like the picture on the menu. I wasn’t surprised, I had eaten here enough times to know it wouldn’t.

So how did it taste? Did it taste the same as the food in the picture? One moment, is it possible for food to taste the same as it looks in a picture? I had chosen a meal on how it looked. My appetite was stimulated with my eyes. If that is true, then all the advertising with pictures of food might be triggering my hunger.

This moment triggered an exploration into what decides the food people eat. Why was I buying junk food? What is junk food? Looking at the queue of people lining up to buy a quick meal, others had made the same choice.

Food Selection
I am aware that queuing for food didn’t happen in nature. Lining up to choose a meal is a man made creation. Why hadn’t I chosen to eat healthy? How do people choose the food to eat? How should I choose my food?

Animals are born in the wild and know what to eat, it’s in their DNA. A lion doesn’t wonder the savannah grazing on vegetation, it is in their nature to hunt animals. Hunting for food is hard work, and dangerous. A lion isn’t going chase down food if it doesn’t need to. For many people, this natural process of selection isn’t what guides food selection. It is all to easy to consume the wrong foods and too much. A persons natural ability to follow their food instincts has been lost. That is why for this article I’ve not consulted other books. It’s an experiment to discover my own thoughts about food, to look inside myself and explore my relationship with food.

Food and Environment
The environment people live in plays a big part in food selection. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • In a thriving community their is plenty of food and a trip to the supermarket or local restaurant is where most peoples food comes from.

  • In a war torn community, food will probably be scarce and people will eat what ever is available.

Think about it. If you were starving, their would be no need to consult a book to see if food was healthy. Any food would be better then none. Food selection is more of a problem when their is too much choice.

  • In an isolated community, people will eat what is available locally.

The Business of Food
A city provides food in unnatural ways. The ingredients need to come from far away, no one can source their food from the street as a hunter gatherer would have in the past.

Walking into a supermarket is designed to stimulate peoples appetite beyond their needs. As my mum would say “Peoples eyes are bigger then their stomach.” Modern food shopping is a low calorie method of gathering food, and makes it easy to over consume. People would eat less if it was more work to purchase foodstuffs.

A lot of the time we are eating food designed to meet a business model and not peoples health. Food chains design their menu around what people will buy, not people’s dietary needs. The food is compromised by business decisions. Business will say they are serving the customer. This is true, but somewhere along the way food stopped being about survival, and became a pass-time. There are many different reasons people choose the food they eat. I noticed watching ‘Little Big Chef’ many people choose their food out of habit. Health and nutrition are low on their priorities.

How do we Choose our Food?
How people select their food depends on their social group, and who they identify themselves with.

  • Italian food

  • French food

  • Asian food

  • Health food

  • Vegetarian

  • Family

  • Tv dinner

This is probably where the saying ‘You are what you eat!’ originates from. Peoples lifestyle has a strong influence on their diet. Economic circumstances also play a part, but less so in economically developed nations.

People aren’t willing to pay the price for what it costs to be nutritious. So the consumer isn’t choosing what is healthy, they are choosing what they can afford or what they have time for.

What is guiding your choice of food?

  • It was on special at the supermarket.

  • My best friend said it’s delicious.

  • The food is a delicacy in some far off place.

Don't take your food for granted it could be ruining your life