A short history on eating
Around 300,000 years ago, homo sapiens were named as the first human species, though distinct from what we would refer to as humans today or according to Charles Darwin (treaties on evolution), 200,000 years ago. Although different, both had something in common. They hunted and gathered and as hunting and gathering was limited to time and space and therefore the resources time and space provided, so did both depend on relocation.
The benefit of changing locations where that different nutrients were obtained and digested. Most nutrients were fresh and they supported the variety of minerals and vitamines needed -(ideally of course) and not limited to what “tasted good” today. They moved, they rationed and they likely were concious of what they had. They were very likely aware of what it meant to be hungry or not.
What do we eat today?
Today food is constantly available in variances per single food category (think about how many types of apples exist), the different types of pasta, other grains and all sorts of cheeses up to cereals, marmelades and other diary products. They come in different flavours, from different origins, they are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, sugar free. They are pre-cooked and not. They come with sauces (how does the actual food taste if not for preservates? Would I even like it?). They come without, sometimes with toppings, sometimes with chemical flavours and or they may be called food but aren’t (using flavored wood-chips to replace strawberries). They may be organic, they may be not or they may be a mix of it. That is what we eat.
Why do we buy food?
Unlike the homo sapiens, we do not have to hunt and gather for food. Food is available, because it is. Hereby I am talking particular about any place/country/region, where there is a surplus of food. It means more food is available then is or can be consumed or is needed. The more choices, the more difficult to decide what to consume. The more choices the higher the discrepancy may be between why we eat and what we want to eat. Do we buy because we are hungry? Do we buy because we want to eat? Do we buy because it looks nice to eat? Does our desire want to buy or do we really want to buy? Is what we have or want not enough because what is available is more, could be better than what we want and have? And in return how does this affect the availability or production of more food (choices)?
What role does design play to promote more sustainable consumption? Are fridges too large? Do fridges need to be full of food or is less food full enough? Do we feel we have too less because the fridge is not full enough? How much full is full enough?
When do we eat?
It feels as if we are eating almost all the time, snacks, small meals, large meals. There are small meals at work, small snacks on the way home. Individual snacks for rewards, snack rewards on a trip to the play ground, meals on a hike, snacks on a hike. Snacks infront of Netflix, snacks in the movies, snacks for the day of, large meals for festivities, buffets, more snacks for holidays, meals because the “clock” says so, meals because its a tradition, all-you-can eat restaurants, too much food as a sign for wealth, certain types of meals because its always been eaten a certain way, in a certain style, in a certain fashion, a certain type of food. When are we hungry?
When a movie in itself is already stimulation, do we need more stimulation i.e. food? Although, the stimulation of food tends to be limited to the time eaten.
When are we hungry?
This morning, when I woke up, I was not hungry. Yesterday, after one hour kick-boxing I was not hungry. Playing one hour on a play-ground with a child, I was not hungry, neither was the child as we just ate a meal; But it “wanted something to eat.” I was hungry 2 hours after. Then I got really hungry, but I knew I was hungry. I felt it because my stomach said so, I could not focus well and I felt it was time. I ate. I am not hungry, when I procrastinate and therefore eat. I am not hungry, when I am not happy with writing but eat to get a reward or to avoid. I am not hungry, when I look for an external stimulu, when the stimulu has to be found internal. And where there is no stimulu, I have to find out why. What feeling am I trying to compensate with food?
What happens when we are hungry?
We work, hours, days, weeks and months. Some work more, some work less hours. Some volunteer, some are full-time parent, some are not. Some have more time, some have less time to cook – when they are about to get hungry and when they are hungry. Cooking hungry is no fun. Cooking something healthy (in terms of meals that require longer preperation), something fresh when being hungry could be annoying, frustrating, time-consuming, senseless, sad, whatever, especially if the work-hours are long, children and ourselves have to be taken care of. It makes a pre-cooked meal, a wood-chip joghurt, an package of chocolate, a bag of chips, whatever goes fast appealing. At the same time it can make eating so fast, we may not even recognize that we have eaten or what. Yet we are full. We are not hungry anymore. So how can we get more time?
Sometimes we talk about packaging waste. It’s about why this sort of waste occurs also. Can we work less and invest more time in ourselves [cooking, friends, hobbies, families?). Does this reduce waste and stress, fast-related eating?
We eat, what we eat and that is okay. Sometimes not drinking too much coka cola or eating too much candy, our body will tell [in extreme; diabetes, overweight, cardiovescular diseases], or simply addiction to food. Eating to much processed food such as meat our body will tell [i.e. immunity towards antibiotics]. Eating to much diary our concious may feel bad [overfishing, deforestation, workers right in production]. Therefore, we substitute. We leave out food, we twist it, we diet. Does it solve what we feel bad for? Does replacing real fish with a substitute solve why overfishing occurs, or is it the fact that too much is eaten, that too much is available? Does drinking coke without sugar solve us not being addicted to sweets or is it the fact we look for satisfaction in externalities when satisfaction has to be found internal?
What are we eating? Is tofu more sustainable than the food it is replacing? How is tofu produced? What other ingredients have been used for production? Does what we eat really substitute what we long for? Is it healthy for us?
What is a sustainable food systems?
It is merely about substituting one thing with another, growing better, circulating food (of course this is imporant). It is also about why we eat, how we eat and when in relation to oursevles and in relation to our environment(al influences). How can that be changed to stimulate more sustainable consumption and production systems for food and how does that relate to business models? Can we really condem food for not being beautiful enough to be eaten or to appear on the shelves?
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