We are literally composed of the world around us, we take the world and masticate the fuck out it and swallow it and through the miracle of digestion we make ourselves out of the world around us. So we are actually what we eat. How rare we give much thought to this. We eat because we are hungry, but there is more to food than just hunger. Much of our socialising is done around food, many of our morning routines start off with food and we often finish our day with food. We eat for reasons of survival, cultural, ethical, medical, spiritual, for performance, for aesthetic, to celebrate, to morn, because we are bored, because we are depressed, because we are competing because, because, because... There are many reasons we eat… and not eat.
We need to eat to survive; it seems we need to consume food to live. On a very base level food, drink and air must be consumed if we are to go on, if we stop consuming any one of those three, problems will soon be knocking. In the extreme absence of these things (food, air, water) our energy and health begin to wane and illness soon ensues with death in the end. So we must eat to exist. What we eat depends on many things.
The geographic location and the culture we are in greatly influences the foods we eat. From the types of foods and the methods of preparing them our land and culture influence much of what we eat. Our cultures will all have wonderful foods that have been created out of the landscape they are found in.
Within our cultural consumption of “food” we begin to encounter medical reason for why and what we may or may not eat. In many cultures around the world our food has been our medicine from the immune boosting effects that have been noticed from fasting practices, to using various herbs and such to heal from disease and manage pain.
For example how a fungal mould like penicillin revolutionized our fight against bacterial infections, or how the keto-diet is used with people who suffer from poorly controlled epilepsy.
From the medical application of what we consume to a broader generalization of performance and health, whether we are training for a marathon or breaking a personal record on the clean and press our food will influence our performance on the field. If we are competing in a physique show such as bodybuilding, swimsuit, etc) or just want to look leaner for that beach bod.
Without fail food will play a significant part of that journey. We’ve all seen how a diet high in sugar may contribute to type2 diabetes and when we eat foods that are high in Low Density Lipids (LDL) can lead toward issues around heart disease and we may avoid certain foods due to allergic reactions. We can see that food has and will continue to play a part in our health.
Consider the ethics of our farming practices and the effects we have on the environment and the way our food is grown and processed and that we may curb our eating habits to be more mindful to include the long term effects on us and our environment and the conscious treatment of animals. From the quality of air we breath in our environments to the water we drink from our taps these all play a part in the quality our health and the longevity of ourselves as well as our environment.
We may have political angles to what we eat or not eat. This may be boycotting foods from a certain culture or country to hunger strikes where we avoid consuming food not for our physical health but as a political or public statement.
Perhaps lastly we may eat for spiritual reasons. This may be the avoidance of certain foods for spiritual beliefs, such as pork within certain practices or not eating meat altogether. While in others the consumption of certain foods like bread or wine creates a strong symbolic union between the individual and their god. Fasting is also seen in many spiritual practices and in Shamanism a particular dieta may be used to learn from particular plant teachers.
We are not saying one of these is more right, better or preferred but to show some of the many reasons why we eat, including reasons not to eat.
“Variety's the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavour" - William Cowper
"Live spicy my friends!”