About 40% of the items sold in American and British supermarkets would not really be classified as food. Food is any nutritious substance that humans need in order to maintain life and growth, and nutritious means that it enables a good standard of living to be achieved. Using this terminology to describe a lot of the food we eat today would be far from telling the truth.

100 years ago, everyone was a locavore which meant that everyone ate locally sourced food. Each household had a cook, usually a mum, who would regularly buy and prepare fresh food. There was no such thing as a snack, or frozen food until Clarence Birdseye came along in the 1920s. Margarine hadn’t yet been invented, and even when it did come into existence, many states in America had passed laws declaring that it be dyed pink so that everyone would know it was a fake. There were no restaurants chains and eating ethnic food was unheard of, unless you were ethnic! Fats, carbs, proteins – no one cared about them, they weren’t good or bad, they were food.

However, from the 1930s, infrastructure became more developed so trucks replaced railways and fresh food started to travel. Eventually, California produced more food than they could ship fresh so it became critical to market canned and frozen food. This gave rise to convenience which facilitated feminist housewives who wanted to cut down on housework. But it cut down on the variety of food we ate as well. Cattle were already being raised unnaturally. Rather than spending their days eating grass, which their stomachs were designed to do, they were force fed soy and corn. Cows had trouble digesting these grains, but it wasn’t a problem for producers. Moreover, corn, wheat and soy became really easy to trade, ship and process so governments started to provide subsidies for mono-cropping which is where rows and rows of a single crop are cultivated and harvested mechanically in a huge field. Home cooking was still around, but its quality had diminished considerably. Breads, desserts and soups didn’t need to be cooked from scratch anymore, it was easier to buy them from the nearest shop. By the 70s, a few people began to realise the value of local ingredients, so having gardens and eating organic food became an interest, but only an interest. Despite the fact that the number of vegetarians was increasing, slightly, the majority of the population was more interested by industrial food production. Sadly, it was at this time that the home cooked family dinner saw its end.

People’s eating habits were in a such a bad state that the high fat and spice content of foods like McNuggets made this stuff more appealing that the more unflavoured but nutritious food being served at home. Simultaneously, masses of women were entering the workforce, and cooking wasn’t important enough for men to share the burden. Leading the way was meat, junk food and cheese – all of which aren’t very complimentary to our health. Have you ever thought about the fact that a McDonalds burger never rots? Well, it’s because they’re full of chemicals! This can’t be good for our bodies; we don’t need meat or junk food for good health. We’re not born craving Skittles or a BigMac. We have to take matters into our own hands, not just by advocating cleaner diets for others, which is the hard part, but by improving our own food intake, which happens to be quite easy. It’s a simple formula: eat food, eat real food. Not only will we cut down on the calories by doing so, but we will reduce our carbon footprint. We can make food more important, not less, and save ourselves at the same time. We must choose this path.



Note: My previous blog post was about poverty/homelessness and how we could go about solving this problem, if indeed you see it as a problem. I recently remembered a Kendrick Lamar song called ‘How Much a Dollar Cost’ from his album ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ and I think that it gives a unique perspective on poverty – basically, what I’m trying to say is that if you enjoyed my poverty blog post, I think that you should listen to this song.

As usual, there was a podcast episode from Freakonomics that inspired this post, it’s linked here.

In addition, if you are interested in changing your diet or learning more about the importance of food, check out the Netflix series called ‘Cooked’, you can find it here.

The book behind the Netflix series mentioned above is also called ‘Cooked‘ – my dad has read it (and I will be reading it shortly too) and he highly recommends it!

The visual at the top of the page was from Marta Montenegro.


70 thoughts on “We Must Change our Eating Habits

  1. Before I finished your post, I was already wondering, “Has Everday Economix read Michael Pollan?”

    I think I enjoyed his “In Defense of Food” even more than “Cooked,” though I like both, and I think the Netflix videos add to the conversation.

    His simple advice, boiled down, is genius:
    “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

    The audiobook edition was unabridged, and nicely read by the author. I found it at my local library and recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments – I think that it is always possible to eat organic food whether you buy it from a supermarket our grow it yourself. Could you please elaborate on your comment so that my response could be more specific to your issues.


      1. I have a garden of mine but its damn costly and tedious to grow own food and hardly anything great is yielded as its done on terrace ,everyone can’t have land in metro cities

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, you’re right – not everyone has the ability to grow their own food due to lack of money/resources.

        However, there must be fresh fruit and vegetables available for you to buy.

        If not, then your situation is unfortunate and I hope that your government/local council recognises it and works to correct it as everybody deserves to have access to basic, affordable, healthy, fresh food.

        If you personally feel as though it’s an issue that’s not being dealt with, I’d recommend writing a letter to your local governing body or trying to get into contact with them because I believe that it would be hugely beneficial to you and your community.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. But if the community care enough, can’t they work together to change this? The authorities can’t ignore the views of the majority – if they ignore the majority then the international media would make it seem as though the citizens are being oppressed; this certainly is not in the interest of the authorities, no matter how corrupt they are.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I guess you stay in USA or any other developed country ,country like India is more concerned about fighting over religion than focussing on all this


    2. Yes, I currently live in the UK but I’ve lived in India in the past. To be honest with you, my food consumption was so much better in India than in the UK – in India the subjhee walas are abundant! At least where I lived, I could buy fresh fruit and vegetables at every corner.

      However, in the UK there are always chocolates and fast food at every corner instead. My food problems started in the UK despite the fact that the quality of the fresh food is arguably better.

      Eating fresh food in India is almost a necessity for the poor since they can’t access anything else, also most Indian meals are cooked with fresh ingredients so I still don’t fully understand your issue if you do live in India.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here you get fresh but not organic ,you are confused ,actually quality of food in India is not supervised by any authority ,local subzi wala brings it from mandi ,which is one of the most filthy place to visit ,usage of artificial colours , contaminated water and lots more to deteriorate your health


    3. If it’s really as bad as you say it is, then why does everyone still buy fruits and vegetables from them? Even the wealthy people I knew bought food from them.


      1. I guess you’re right, but my parents and grandparents grew up in India, eating these vegetables on a daily basis. They haven’t experienced any serious health problems due to this. I’d even say that their health is better than that of an equivalent man/woman who grew up in the UK despite the fact that they ate ‘contaminated’ food during their childhood.


      2. Its not about healthy ,its about immunity ,Indians have developed immunity accordingly ,we drink contaminated water but we don’t get sick as our bodies have adapted accordingly ,you drink it once you will be hospitalised


      3. Then are you suggesting that it isn’t a problem? From your point it doesn’t seem like a problem because there are no health issues involved.


      4. I guess you are not aware of adaptation ,Indians are adapted to contamination and adulteration ,this doesn’t mean we are legitimate to have all this but unfortunately we don’t have choice


      5. But the contamination is caused by humans – they have the choice as to whether or whether not they choose to use chemicals on their crops.

        Besides, I think that developed countries are becoming too clean. The immune systems of people in the western world are hardly ever subject to germs and bacteria which means that we hardly stand a chance if there’s an outbreak of pandemic disease. Despite all of the resources we have, I wouldn’t say that the ‘survival of the fittest’ would apply to us for this reason.


      6. But you can’t eat garbage to be strongly immune , its not about choice its about corrupt system ,we have no laws to punish such people who add contamination


      7. I’m not suggesting that we eat garbage, (although that would be pretty funny). I’m suggesting that we stop adding preservatives and other chemicals to our food in order to make it ‘safer’ to eat. Why can’t we all just eat natural, local food – why does it have to travel thousands of miles? This is certainly easy to say but hard to live by in this day and age, but this is the reality of the world we live in.

        Everyone has so many demands and they expect all of these demands to be fulfilled straight away. People need to be taught patience, as well as gratitude and gratefulness for what they have. We don’t need more, more, more – we should just be happy as we are.

        Also, people are getting paranoid over germs! For example, do we really need hand sanitizers? or the hundreds of other unnecessary​ personal hygiene​ products that people are buying every day?

        With regards to corruption, I acknowledge​ that it is a huge problem (in India in particular). But what I don’t understand is why would the corrupt people sacrifice their own health for money? Forget about other people, this is about what they’re putting into their own bodies. Do they just not care about improving their health, or is money more important?


      8. Health needs wisdom and 0.000001% are wise rest are stupids ,so they do not even know what they are eating and why ,they eat for taste ,not for health , regarding preservatives ,its there from ages like salt ,sugar etc in pickles etc ,but now we have chemicals ,if in India I need blueberries ,I will get with preservative only ,we don’t grow it in India ,nothing wrong with sanitizers if one doesn’t has water and soap ,which is in scarcity in India

        Liked by 1 person

      9. To be honest with you, the intended audience for my articles was people living in the developed world. I think this is why many things I write in the post don’t resonate/seem practical to you in India.

        Yes, if you want blueberries you’ll need preservatives because they don’t grow in India – but what I’m trying to say is that you don’t need blueberries. The only reason you’re eating them is because they’re readily available to you with preservatives. I’m sure you’d appreciate them a lot more if you travelled to California or Michigan to eat them freshly. Anyway, this idea of travelling to eat exotic foods isn’t implementable in the modern world as people have grown to become more demanding and impatient.

        In India maybe sanitisers are more necessary than in the UK/USA but if sanitisers are available to poor Indians then why isn’t soap and water available? I’m sure soap and water is cheaper than sanitiser. And soap and water is much more of an effective cleaner than sanitiser.

        I feel like this conversation could go on forever, but I guess we’ll both have to agree to disagree! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post and continue the discussion – I think that we were both talking about different parts of the world (India and the UK/USA) which is why there were disagreements in a lot of the things being said. Anyway, thanks again and I’ve just read some of the poems on your website – I especially liked ‘Relationship’.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Its so true. I grew up in an organic farming environment, though we did not need the distinctions as everything used to be “organic”. Money does talk and if the world at large began demanding better quality food and refused to buy garbage, well, there would be more healthy food being produced. It has to start with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a very good read for me as well. As a child growing up in South Carolina/USA, although we ate meat at every meal, my father planted a huge garden with fresh vegetables. During the summer months, my parents canned vegetables and froze fresh vegetables so that we could have these fresh vegetables year round. I had my first McDonalds burger and French Fries when I was 20 years old (born in the early 50s). My parents never bought snacks for us to eat, such as potato chips. Candy was purchased rarely. I tried to provide these same types of meals for my children; however, it was challenging because more people had the opportunity to purchase fast foods, snacks, etc.

    Thank you for this posting, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your support! You’re absolutely right – we can’t turn a blind eye to an issue which is fundamental to our health. If we continue to turn a blind eye, as many of us are currently doing, our health will inevitably deteriorate and it could even lead to the decline of our species!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting indeed.
    As to the comment we cant grow organic…Wrong we can grow organic. we simply have made the choice not to.
    What the world need now are might be less tires and less engines. We need a greener earth.
    Besides nobody is getting out of here alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀​Thanks for sharing your thoughts; I completely agree that, at least in the western world, everyone has the choice to grow organic. Unfortunately, the negative effects of not growing organic don’t really directly affect anyone’s life in a way in which it could provoke a change in people’s behaviour. Therefore, it can seem difficult to make people grow organic food; thus, I decided to write this post to raise some sort of awareness, no matter how small my audience may be!


  5. The depth of your knowledge surprises me. Not many would know about the colour dye of margarine in the US, and your agricultural knowledge is something to applaud, as it too is more than I would expect, myself being someone from the Australian countryside in some years of my youth.

    Just something to be careful with in giving general advice to a populous. Everybody is different and the needs of the human body due to either environment or genes can vary wildly. Take diets with a grain of salt as they may not suit what your body desires and needs. People can become depressed (especially people who think the need to be on a weight-loss diet) when their body just simply cannot support a diet of a particular type. Although, yes the fresher food is generally better, but sometimes the frozen food may be the best for your circumstances especially taking into consideration the time to consumption from extraction (there are a good few studies on the benefits of having frozen fruits/vegetable/meats and comparisons between time and nutrients).

    Generally, just be careful of people who take a anti-tech view and don’t back it up with science.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your feedback Adrian; as you’ve pointed out, I still have a whole lot more to learn!

      To be honest, when I wrote this post, I wasn’t really trying to give advice as such, I simply wanted to inform. However, it happened to turn into quite a persuasive style of post.

      I agree that people in certain parts of the world, or people with certain dietary conditions would probably be better off sticking with their current diets. However, this post was supposed to be directed to the typical western person who eats junk food on a regular basis due to laziness or some other lame excuse!

      Nevertheless, I should have taken your points into consideration so I’m thankful for your initiative to give me some ‘constructive feedback’, if you want to call it that!


      1. Yeah I can give that, indulgence in ‘bad’ foods is not a bad thing, but over indulgence in them can be, kind of thing. I think it’s because you began your argument with the rise of frozen and canned foods foods, and in from what I read, you never really clarify that you’re targeting ‘bad’ foods, kind of lumping anything that isn’t fresh in with them. Maybe a small edit here and there or a clarifying paragraph at the end. Or maybe because I come home exhausted and tired, I’m missing these little things when I read this. But other than that your writing is good, just try to poke holes in your posts before you post them if you can.

        It’s not even dietary conditions (eg. lactose and glucose intolerant, etc I assume is what you mean), it’s just how your body breaks down chemicals and uses it for fuel for others in comparison to others. It’s how you get severe differences in body types, for example: your typical healthy but thin African body, compared to a healthy but bulky Germanic-type body, both eating a healthy, fairly similar diet. And that example is generally a difference in metabolism, but there is so, so much more.

        If you ever have the time to read up, in-depth on the human body, it is extraordinarily fascinating.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. D’accord. One thing I’ve noticed as well as that when you eat processed food which are insanely high in sodium and sugar (and/or artificial sweeteners), your taste buds are inured to anything subtle. When I get off refined sugar and salty things, I notice the real taste of things much more vividly. Red peppers (also called *sweet* peppers), carrots, sweet potatoes…these things really are *sweet* … but you’ll never notice it if you are drinking Arizona Iced Tea and its ilk with a huge amount of refined sugar in it. Not only do you notice the sweetness and saltiness of actual food, but the other flavors come out as well. It’s really like nature has provided a *rainbow* of flavors but when you douse everything with so much sugar and salt, it’s like shining a search light into your eyes — it blinds you to the rainbow before you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow; sadly I’ve never tried this before. The thought of being able to fully taste real food in all its glory is alluring and I’m 100% going to at least try to experience the sensations you speak of! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and wisdom! À bientôt!


  7. Great blog, I watched a programme about unusual marriages and one of the interesting things was a marriage between a young Masai man and an English woman. When he came to England to meet her parents he liked everything except the meat which he said was grey and uninteresting. It’s really interesting to imagine what our taste buds really need!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, should we survive the next couple of hundred years and start living on other worlds and asteroids, what will our food be like then? I feel like I’M at least getting back to making foods that are natural, but if my great granddaughter travels to an asteroid in the Kuiper Belt to mine ice, it will be a lot trickier…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t really considered what food would be like if we started to seriously colonise our solar system… my views are focused in the short term but that is interesting to think about. Do you have any ideas?


  9. I grew up in the UK, going with my mum to the local shops every Saturday to buy fresh veg at the greengrocers’, which when either into little paper bags or directly into the shopping bag she’d brought with her. Then off to the bakers’ etc. High rent for shops means that some areas don’t get things like local greengrocers’ these days. I recently rented a flat in a well-to-do area of a British city where we had no local baker or greengrocer, only a very expensive ‘organic’ shop I couldn’t afford. The supermarket, or a trip to another area, was our only other choice. Everything over-packaged, That’s my issue – why do many organic shops package things – so now they’re good for me, but awful for the planet? I’m simply not buying.

    I’ve spent time living in New Zealand (amazing rural fruit & veg shops, but cities challenged), and other parts of Europe. The rest of Europe totally respects food and its importance. In Italy, France and Spain you find lovely, affordable ‘normal’ fruit and veg shops everywhere, people cook properly, eat well and make the time for meals. It’s cultural. Food isn’t part of British culture any more, it’s what you shove in to keep you going. Lifestyles are often focussed around work, and getting drunk to get over the dull day at work. Most people don’t have the impetus to change. They are locked in their lifestyle of bad food and bad health. If you’ve never known anything else that’s your ‘normal’ and I’d imagine it’s hard to believe your life could ever be different. Let alone make a move to change.

    It runs deep. But I absolutely agree with you – local, real food is what we need. When I grew up we didn’t eat salad in the winter – now you expect to get fresh lettuce all year round!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences – I’ve had similar encounters! Whenever I go to France, Switzerland, Italy or anywhere in Europe except the UK, where I live, eating fresh food seems to be a highly protected tradition! Maybe you’re right, ‘food isn’t part of British culture’… it’s a sad idea to accept, but acceptance enables change to occur. However, altering the stubborn eating habits of the public is not an easy feat!


  10. good afternoon … just to let you know , any industrial dish contain : preservative , color , color stabilisator , palatable , odor , odor stabilisator , flavor enhancer
    that is the minimum
    generally you can find also cheaper replacement item as the normal product needed plus all the additive item to let you think the original product is inside
    generrally all products supposed to made with or from cheese never see any real cheese
    think also at the price of the product : if you will cook it yourself with fresh items , what will it cost
    think also when you buy the product you must pay packaging but not only of the product but also cartons , plastic bands , pallets and so on …
    but also the price include transport charges , manufacturing costs , publicity , profits , taxes and so on …
    which amout leave then for the product ?
    once this calculated you must ask yourself : what can you have for this amount ?
    generaly for canned food which you pay about 1 £ for a lb , where the biggest part is the price of the can and its printing , it leaves from 10 to 20 pence for the finish product …
    then think the time of shoping and cooking is not a waste but a pleasure , plus the pleasure of good meal , plus the pleasure of good health
    have a nice day

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting read. I looked up the data on McDonald’s burgers not rotting, because, as you say here is due to the chemicals. However, everything I have found seems not to mention chemicals, just the fact that it’s a dry product and would dry out before rotting. Also that they will rot depending on conditions and if moisture is in the air. So though I’m with you on the fact that they aren’t good for me, to say they aren’t rotting because of chemicals doesn’t seem true and knowing that a food doesn’t rot, it still wouldn’t sway be from eating it.

    I would love to grow my own and buy locally, but expense does come into it and also the means. Not everyone has a garden, not everyone has the capacity to tend a garden. Supermarkets and food companies are winning because they sell cheaply. In the end the poor have their diet and health suffer because of affordability. However, skills have been lost down the ages and I would love to see a charity that focuses on food workshops, cooking skills for the family. Getting the whole family involved and teaching nutrition, budgeting and cookery for life. I feel strongly that this is something that needs to be directed towards children more so, so that they can grow up with the skills if the parents aren’t teaching them at home.

    The UK is a nightmare for junk and sweets and chocolate, but I think supermarkets are dealing with that more now. I’ve noticed the change near their checkouts, particularly Tesco who have healthy alternative there now and do not line the till with chocolate.

    Liked by 1 person

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