Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Are Traditional Diets Important?

Traditional diets connect people to their cultural history, but more significantly than that, peoples have co-evolved with food. The co-evolution of peoples with their place-specific diets has allowed the consumers to efficiently assimilate into themselves the necessary nutrients from regionally available foodstuffs. Changes in diet have consistently occurred over time, though on a gradual basis, in tune with the migration of people. New food items are introduced into diets by traders and travelers and if accepted have been cultivated when possible. Subsequent generations of the introduced crop become adapted to the region as well as to the people who inhabit it.

For those groups whose diets evolved more rapidly than the consumers, re-establishing a connection to the diet that they evolved with would contribute to the reduction in diet-related disease. Additionally a reconnection could act as a vector through which an increased connection to ones cultural history could be achieved. America has become so proficient at exporting its diet to the world, it has become desired globally. Now the foodstuffs alone do not suffice, the ideology is desired and has begun to permeate the belief systems of other regions as well. The efficiency of globalism in making the foodstuffs themselves and the ideology behind their production widely available has allowed for their adoption more rapidly than the novel consumers can evolve to efficiently utilize thus leading to disease in the forms of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

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