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Food History: The Epidemic of Chronic Illness

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

Food is something that has grown to be near and dear to us. Every activity we do tends to revolve around food. We have even developed to have an emotional attachment to food. However, our addiction and obsession are causing severe health issues within the population and severe devastation to the environment.

The Evolution of Food

An enormous shift with food production and distribution began during the Industrial Revolution (the 1850s- in the U.S). This was made possible due to the efficiency of the new technological developments. These new technologies revolutionized farming, food processing, packaged foods, refrigeration and more.

The modern food system came about when farming operations began processing high volumes of fresh food and turned them into packaged foods. Then, grocery stores became the new norm and the population grew flooded with new dietary staples.

The intention of creating caloric dense packaged food that was shelf stable was an intent to feed hungry Americans at a low cost. However, this intent to save many poor starving families was the beginning of the epidemic of chronic illness.

To meet the growing demand for packaged foods, conglomerates invested in wheat, a crop that is easy to grow and has a high yield. Nonetheless, as the population increased, and the demand got bigger, corporations began experimenting with chemicals that were discovered during the creation first nuclear bomb in efforts to expand crop yield. Unfortunately, these chemicals were successful in altering wheat to yield more in less amount of time.

Along with the advancements of food processing, conglomerates began to discover how to influence the masses to invoke a consumer culture. Corporations started to use labels to promote “nutritional benefits” in packaged foods such as: “high protein,” “high fiber,” “good source of essential nutrients,” and so on.

Before Industrial Times

Before this epidemic was born, people’s primary source of food was plant-based. Farming was done on a small scale and was about maintaining the health and fertility of the land. Meat and dairy were expensive and rare during Europe’s pre-industrial ages. Meat was consumed mostly during autumn because grazing was unnecessary due to the brutal winters. During the winter time, people’s diet was plant-based. After discovering how to manipulate plants genes, scientists began to find new ways to alter crops, so they grow all year round and at much faster rates than ever before.

Our Current Food Values

Because of the fast evolution of food processing, people began adopting the same principals in their cultural values. Today, people value fast, cheap, and easy and have entirely disconnected themselves from the process that goes into the production of products.

We are living in a society that values and cherishes living in excess. Unfortunately, we are being played by corporations. We are being lead to believe that we “need” certain things to be happy. In reality, the more we drown ourselves in food, money, products, and technology, the deeper hole we dig into disease and depression

Today’s society runs on fast food and highly processed packaged foods. The average American consumes more than double the amount of protein they need, fat is beyond the recommended daily intake, and fiber is below the nutritional guidelines.

The Plant-Based Approach

This approach is a philosophy that has been lived on through the greatest thought leaders in history. A plant-based diet was regarded as a poor way of living to most but was the symbol of health, compassion, and unity to the most exceptional minds.

Today, plant-based eating is being adopted by the masses. More and more people are beginning to see the connection between modern food culture and our enslavement to chasing happiness through instant gratification & wellness retreat.

Consuming a diet that consists primarily of packaged foods is still promoting a consumerist culture we should be steering clear of. The key is to think global, shop local.

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