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How cultures use food Essay

1. Outline the way different cultures use the value food?

Out of the many different cultures present throughout the world, all value food in most similar ways. Most similarities can be struck between the availability of foods within their regions, specifically enviromental and seasonal ripening in the spring period. Food has become plentiful in Western civilisations over the past few decades, , due to the advances in agriculture allowing maximum growth and larger yields in the shortest amount of time (Chemgeneration 2011). This has also introduced interest into controversial genetically modified foods and the use of hybrid varieties of plants that have more desirable qualities. An example of this is Maize and certain potatoes that secrete a pesticide from the plant to ward of pests and insects, thus removing the need to use pesticides and chemicals (Chemgeneration 2011). Dr Rosalie McCauley (Development Office Department of Agriculture and Food WA, p1), obtained results that genetically modified foods haves been more increasingly used as the use of farmland increases exponentially at over 6% per year, seeing some 170.3 million hectares of GM foods being grown. In western society, there are a significant percentage of people either being overweight or obese, even Australia that has a population of approx 22 million (Australian Bureau of Statistics p1), with over 60% is considered over weight (ABS 2012, Australian Bureau of Statistics).

Most overweight or obese individuals have and unhealthy relationship with food and it was theorised by Dr Carole Hungerford (Good Health in 21st Century) it can be considered ‘an addiction’. There is speculation as to why western society has such an addiction foods such as bread and milk, as we are the only species that drinks milk after weaning, especially that of another animal. Clinical studies and Medical Publications released by Dr J.L. Fortuna (PUBMED, 2010, p1) found clinical similarities for binge eating to that of drug dependences seeing a similar release of serotonin as with other drug dependencies. Though obesity is a prevalent condition around the world, numerous countries do not have the same obesity rates as western culture, some of this is likely to result in the way food is perceived by other cultures. Comparatively, in some cultures around the world, it is part of their culture to abstain from food for a short period of time. A more popularly known fasting is the Islamic undertaking of Ramadan where they fast during day light hours (Huda, 2009).

Though in western cultures, people have a dislike to feel hungry, and can feel like they have fasted if they miss morning tea during a busy day at work. Numerous cultures throughout history have also used food as offering to their gods or deities to pray for health, or future harvests rain. Egyptian Pharaohs would be entombed with vast pots of food and spices to be used on their journey to the heavens. Some traditional practices continue even today such as the Korean Charye used to honour families ancestors, where special foods are prepared to during the Chuesoerk Ceremonies. The Chuesoerk (Korea.net, 2010) is a three day holiday to celebrate the good harvest received during the spring of that year. These cultural and religious uses for food are worldwide, and often not too distant from Christian practices of thanksgiving celebrated during the Christmas period. In conclusion, all cultures, no matter how distant or unique, have significant celebrations, events or relationships with a large role involving the use or lack of foods. The use of food to bring together communities and families is not dissimilar in almost all countries and demographics on earth; however the individuals use or overuse is not always healthy.

References:

1. The Chemical Generation 2001, Viewed 14 January 2014

2. The Chemical Generation 2001, Viewed 14 January 2014

3. Dr Rosalie McCauley, Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, viewed 10 January 2014

4. ABS (2012) Australian health survey: First results, 2011–12. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Viewed 14 January 2014

5. Aust Government, National Health and Medical Research Council. Viewed 10 January 2014

6. Hungerford, Dr Carole, 2008, Good health in the 21st century, Revised Edition, Scribe, Victoria.

7. Fortuna, J. Department of Health Science, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, viewed 10 January 2014

8. Huda, About.com, 2009. Viewed 15 January 2014

9. Korea.net, 2010, viewed 11 January 2014

2. What general concepts guide the present western diet?

The current concepts of the western diet are based in the influence of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins and minerals (Whitney and Rolfes, 2013). Although we have come a long way with the introduction of multiculturalism some decades ago, for many western diet is still based around the proteins consisting of meats, predominantly red meat and chicken, carbohydrates with starchy root vegetables. This is often referred to as the ‘meat and three veg’ diet and the previous generations would have grown up with this as their diet staples as they where the majority of foods available for purchase or even grown themselves. With exception to the last 200 years, mankind has been involved in the seasonal use of foods and their diets where restricted by what was available at those times. Today there are vast changes in the way foods are produced to permit year round availability and the creation of food products that have previously been unavailable.

Researchers at Bates Collage (Lewiston, ME, USA, 2013) believe that in the last 150 years since the invention of stones mills, the refining process of grain to create white flour, is now a consistent staple within the western diet. It was noted that this is a considerable source of carbohydrates and the cultures that had not encountered this food type previously began to show Heart Disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. These are all ailments that had been previously unseen in those areas. Additionally, the belief of receiving good value for money has become one of the most influential concepts and reasoning behind the purchase of processed food in recent times. The perception to receive the best meal, to be filling, quickly and well priced has seen the fast food chain market turn into a billion dollar industry (B.A. Swinburne, 2004).

Anna Hodgekiss (U.S. daily Mail editor) explains that the over indulgence of these highly fatty foods have been linked to short life spans and arrays of health problems. Even with the warnings and proven heath problems that arise, some families can become dependent on foods that are considered “value for money”. In conclusion, the general concepts to achieve the main food groups are relevant and understood but poorly enacted. The ease and availability of cheap fast food and highly refined products, that arrive ready to eat, are becoming preferential over the more time consuming cooking of foods from the local supermarket.

References:

1. Whitney, E and Rolfes, S. Understanding Nutrition 13th Edition, 2013, Wadsworth USA

2. BATES Collage 2014, 2 Andrews Road Lewiston, ME 04240. Viewed 14 January 2014

3. Online book extract
B.A. Swinburne, Public Health Nutrition, Chap 7, pp132 (p10). Viewed 14 January 2014

4. Hodgekiss, Anna, U.S. Daily Mail, viewed 14 January 2014

3. Discuss the comparative issues between man and nature?

Nature is the world surrounding us, and it is the term we use to describe anything that happens which is out of our control. Such as natural disasters like cyclones, floods and drought. So considering this nature can not only be seen as a friend, but also as an enemy. Man desires to control nature by synthetic, mechanic and industrial plans. Synthetic and Natural medicines desire the same outcomes, of long life and good heath, but the methods to achieve it could not be any more different. Whether it is derived by numerous chemical processes or used in the original form it is found, nature made and manmade are vastly different especially when it comes to health and healing. Some cultures rely almost completely on nature to provide their basic needs such as water, food, shelter and even medicine.

Though considered bland and not in line with the “perfect diet” (Health Schools Australia notes), the health benefits and improved health conditions are achieved without the use of synthetic medicine, where as Western Diet, requires supplement by manmade medicines. This reliance on the local flora and fauna to provide all essentials and life improving aspects is not a new belief and is understood worldwide, but has been partially replaced by Western perception of that health can only be achieved by Pharmaceutical (Crigger NJ). The perception that health and food are separate and not interrelated because ‘man’ has created medicines that are better than those extracted from the ‘nature’ like Tibetans and non western cultures. In contrast, Western society has adopted that the scientific basis behind the synthetic production of therapeutic medicines is the only medical way to treat disease and illness.

Today, it appears the practice of non synthetic medicinal applications is mostly centric to non western cultures. The “Perfect Diet’’ is deemed as a one shoe fits all remedy for the correct eating and dietary requirements for modern people. Where if we look at the diets of other cultures, such as the Hunza diet or Mediterranean Diet, where the majority of the population has a life expectancy significantly higher than that of the Western counterparts may have something to do with the foods that differ to that of the “Perfect Western Diet”(Diet Choices, 2014 and Trichopoula, A). One key reason is believed to be the Hunza population in the Himalayas consume more than 200% (Dainca Collins, 2011) of the B17 (also known as Amygdalan) than their western counter parts. This is likely due to the Hunza eating the seeds of all fruits, which is something that is often discarded within western society. Christina Larner (Body and Soul) has identified that Apricot seeds contain the largest concentrations of B17, and has been used a cancer treatment in modern times.

However the same seeds are alleged to have caused Cyanidic acid when consumed to excessive quantities, but cases of cyanide toxicity are rare (Christina Larner). In conclusion, man created medicines for health and longevity are proven to be available in the natural world around us. Public perception provides the strongest reasons why man made pharmaceuticals are the main stream choice for western society, where as the isolated communities use the world around them to treat their ailments.

1.Whitney, E and Rolfes, S. Understanding Nutrition 13th Edition, 2013, Wadsworth USA 2.Crigger, N.J. 2009, PUBMED, US National Library of Medicine, viewed 14 January 2014

3.Diet Choices, 2014, Diet Choices, Las Vegas NV, USA, viewed 15 January 2014 < http://dietchoices.com/diet-plans/hunza-diet/>
4.Trichopoula, A. 2000, PUBMED, US National Library of Medicine, viewed 14 January 2014
5.Dainca Collins, 2011, UNDERGROUND HEALTH REPORTER, viewed 15 January 2014

6.Larner, Christina, Body and Soul, viewed 15 January 2014

4) Diversity of foods has been a benefit to the human race?

Australia’s culinary heritage has expanded greatly over the last 100 years with numerous population demographics immigrating to Australia. We have observed cultural and culinary delights flood our markets, restaurants and kitchens with sights, smells and aromas from around the world. Many years ago these would have been deemed exotic and bizarre, but are now considered almost staple additions to the average household pantry. Fifty years ago, within our Grandmothers pantry, our available food selections were significantly limited in spices and rare/exotic foods that are now considered normal place. Meat and three veg meals of starchy root vegetables and heavy protein meats where the staple of the diet during those times. It is argued (Potatoes SA) that these staples popularity on Australian kitchen tables where due to the European based settlers focusing on farming practices for this produce over the last 100 years.

Pliner and Hoden (cit. Evaluation of food choice behaviours, p 20) stated it was more to do with the neophobic attitude towards foreign foods due to the “unfamiliarity of foods” that limited the adventurous mindset to the evolving culinary scene. In either case, only since World War 2 did the appearance of multicultural foods and diets start to intermix. One of the most popular entries into our diets is the highly regarded Mediterranean diet consisting of uncooked fresh whole vegetables, whole grains and some fish and seafood but minimal meat. That compared to the past diets of root based vegetables that where often boiled or baked, and argued to lose most of its natural vitamins and minerals during the cooking process, especially seen with water soluble vitamins (Better Health Channel).

The high use of tomatoes within the Mediterranean diet, which contain large amounts of the antioxidant lycopene and that is believed to have anti-tumour properties to relieve cancers particularly in the prostate and multiple-myeloma (Tonia Reinhard, p44-45). Additionally, the vibrant coloured vegetables that contain high amounts of VIT A and C such as Capsicums, Spinach, green leafy vegetables. VIT A is required for vision, the immune system and as an antioxidant. Dr Carole Hungerford (Good health in 21st century, p160) identifies that night blindness is a symptom of VIT A deficiency. Even the fats used are considered healthier with the Olives and olive oil as the principle source of fat. Tonia Reinhard states that Olive oil contains the richest source of mono unsaturated fatty acids, being 77% mono-unsaturated and 14% saturated, this is attributed as to why it helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. In conclusion, the diversity of foods that have spread across the world is bringing the many health benefits to many. As the world continues to expand and new ideas and foods are embraced, soon the healing and healthy properties of those unique diets will improve the health and well being across the globe.

1.Potatoes South Australia, 2013, Elder House, Adelaide, SA, viewed 15 January 2014

2.Online Thesis – Roininen, Katariina, 2001, Evaluation of food choice behaviour: Development and Validation of health and taste attitude scales, visited 15 January 2014

3.Better Health Channel, July 2013, Victorian Government, viewed 15 January 2014

4.Hungerford, Dr Carole, 2008, Good health in the 21st century, Revised Edition, Scribe, Victoria. 5.Reinhard, Tonia, (2010), SUPERFOODS The Healthiest Foods on the Planet, Cove Press, NSW

5) The future of nutrition

In the past and even in some places still today, nutrition has not play a conscious role in conventional medicine, as the focus has and always seems to be about treating disease not the cause. Nutrition based medicine has been labelled with a stigma as ‘alternative’ or new age and not given the same attention as the newest drug on the market. Recently have we begun to see some changes within the health care system which offers clients a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals. This has began a movement known as Integrative Medicine (OSHER, 2012), where the approach is about taking the best from conventional and alternative medicine and combining them. This combination of practices is reinforcing the tenants of prevention rather than cure, which follows the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. We are already seeing this revolutionary ideal take off with the emergence of integrative clinics now established in some major cities, and where patients even seek further information from their GP on what additional alternative treatments are available for their ailments (Mike Adams, 2005).

This wider social consciousness towards natural alternatives is perhaps due to the increased marketing of nutritional supplements within media (Mike Adams, 2005). These messages are making people more curious about their health and what they can do to improve it. In addition, we are seeing nutritional products such as ‘Inner Health Plus’ a pro-biotic supplement, is sometimes prescribed to patients following a course of antibiotics. This behaviour by GP’s is demonstrating a small but important step to the medical and health organisations towards the evolution of nutritional medicine. The popularity of supplements and their advertised health benefits has propelled the sale of many nutritional products, especially Omega 3 supplements derived from fish oil or krill oil (Lisa Schofield, 2013). Omega 3 that is naturally occurring within deep ocean fish species has been proven to be beneficial for arthritis suffers, for heart health, and general wellbeing (Whitney, 2013, pg 161.).

Dr Hungerford (Hungerford, 2008) tells us that until recent times, animals who do not manufacture their own omega 3 would have had to eat plants which contain omega 3’s for protection against the cold and other health benefits. However, as we domesticated animals, kept them warm in barns, and fed them the food we grew; the animals did not require as much omega 3 in order to survive. This man made change is a potential reason is why fish still remains one of the best sources of omega 3, as the majority of fish that we consume are wild. (Hungerford, 2008 pg. 6-7).

In summary, the stigma of nutritional based medicine is slowly being lifted as media, mainstream medicine and health care practitioners inculcate these practices into their professions. Today, more than ever, people have access to the information and products that can be utilised to improve their health, wellbeing and diets. As the message becomes clearer and better understood, it is likely that the stigma will be removed completely and nutritionists will be given the same renowned as the doctors and medical professionals that share the same vision for long and healthy life for all. 1.Osher Centre for Integrative Medicine, University of California, 2012, CA, USA, viewed 17 Jan 2014

2.Adams, Mike, 24 July 2005, Natural News, viewed 17 Jan 2014

3.Hungerford, Dr Carole, 2008, Good health in the 21st century, Revised Edition, Scribe, Victoria

4.Schofield, Lisa, 09 Sep 2013, Nutraceuticals World, viewed 17 January 2014

5.Whitney, E and Rolfes, S. Understanding Nutrition 13th Edition, 2013, Wadsworth USA

Bibliography

ABS (2012) Australian health survey: First results, 2011–12. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Viewed 14 January 2014

Adams, Mike, 24 July 2005, Natural News, viewed 17 Jan 2014

Aust Government, National Health and Medical Research Council. Viewed 10 January 2014

B.A. Swinburne, Public Health Nutrition, Chap 7, pp132 (p10). Viewed 14 January 2014

BATES Collage 2014, 2 Andrews Road Lewiston, ME 04240. Viewed 14 January 2014
Better Health Channel, July 2013, Victorian Government, viewed 15 January 2014

Collins, Dainca, 2011, UNDERGROUND HEALTH REPORTER, viewed 15 January 2014

Crigger, N.J. 2009, PUBMED, US National Library of Medicine, viewed 14 January 2014 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19671650

Diet Choices, 2014, Diet Choices, Las Vegas NV, USA, viewed 15 January 2014 < http://dietchoices.com/diet-plans/hunza-diet/>

Dr Rosalie McCauley, Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, viewed 10 January 2014

Fortuna, J. Department of Health Science, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, viewed 10 January 2014

Hodgekiss, Anna, U.S. Daily Mail, viewed 14 January 2014

Huda, About.com, 2009. Viewed 15 January 2014

Hungerford, Dr Carole, 2008, Good health in the 21st century, Revised Edition, Scribe, Victoria

Korea.net, 2010, viewed 11 January 2014
http://www.korea.net/Government/Current-Affairs/Others?affairId=168

Larner, Christina, Body and Soul, viewed 15 January 2014

Osher Centre for Integrative Medicine, University of California, 2012, CA, USA, viewed 17 Jan 2014

Potatoes South Australia, 2013, Elder House, Adelaide, SA, viewed 15 January 2014

Reinhard, Tonia, (2010), SUPERFOODS The Healthiest Foods on the Planet, Cove Press, NSW

Roininen, Katariina, 2001, Evaluation of food choice behaviour: Development and Validation of health and taste attitude scales, visited 15 January 2014

Schofield, Lisa, 09 Sep 2013, Nutraceuticals World, viewed 17 January 2014

The Chemical Generation 2001, Viewed 14 January 2014

The Chemical Generation 2001, Viewed 14 January 2014

Trichopoula, A. 2000, PUBMED, US National Library of Medicine, viewed 14 January 2014

Whitney, E and Rolfes, S. Understanding Nutrition 13th Edition, 2013, Wadsworth USA


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