Healthier food: should we go back to the future?

There are many discussions ongoing about how the current trend of fast food and unhealthy diets in Western society, and their regularly negative effects on consumer health and quality of life, could be bucked. Increasingly, scientific evidence supports the idea that going "back to the future" might form part of the answer.

Studying how our early ancestors collected, produced, prepared and consumed food could teach us important lessons about the ways in which we could improve our own attitudes and behaviours towards food and diet. Collecting food in the wild, growing our own food and cooking dishes using raw ingredients can all help individuals not only to better "connect with" (read: understand) the food they consume, but also to improve their diet, and thus potentially their health and wellbeing.

Well-known movements such as "Slow food" have already recognised and embraced this idea up to a certain point but there are others that try to reach back much further into history to improve current food production methods and diets. "Deep food" for instance is a term used to describe the rediscovery of ancestral foods and food behaviours in indiginous people. A more Western equivalent is the concept of "Paleofood" or the "Caveman Diet", which tries to reconstruct the diet of distant paleolithic ancestors based on scientific evidence of its postive effects on health.

Movements towards traditional and ancestral foods and food systems are very often linked to ideas of "food autonomy", "food sovereignity", "food freedom" and/or "food justice", reflecting the idea that people should have a choice over what food they eat and how it is produced. This off course requires not only opportunities and facilities to create, maintain and develop alternative food suppply systems, but also a deep understanding by consumers of the food they eat and its effect on their health and wellbeing. 

Links:

Slow Food. Indigenous Voice

Food is the Solution, Deep Food is Our Weapon by Devon Peña 

Deep Food Autonomy by Kerin Gould

InnovatieNetwerk: Concept PastFood

Evolutionary medicine. You are what you eat, but you should be what you ate by Frits Muskiet

The ancestral human diet: what was it and should it be a paradigm for contemporary nutrition? by S. Boyd Eaton

 

 

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