The Evolution of Nutrition – Part 2

On our journey we continue to explore the rest of the historic pantry’s of humanity. How did we evolve and what role did human food culture play? You are reading it right now and here. 

The Modern Age

From the 16th to the 18th century, there were continuous famine cries again and again. Food was scarce and the cost of living relatively high. One tried, especially with the cultivation of robust grain varieties, to get the population fed.

With better hygiene and the 1st industrialization, the population increased. But at the same time, Wars, starvation crises or the French Revolution, created insecurity, fear and cost many lives.

In the 19th century humanity reached the peak of colonialism. New technological possibilities also influenced the provision of food. Additionally, the foods have been preserved for longer, packaged airtight or frozen.

As a result of industrialization, large loads of steam engines could be used to transported food, even over huge distances. As a result, it became available to more people, and hunger slowly faded away, at least for the majority.

At this time, agricultural markets have become increasingly intertwined and some of them are still the basis of todays global food system.

Latest History 20th and 21st Century

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The first half of the 20th century was marked above all by two world wars, an economic crisis and again famine. This time, people had nothing to eat, because the wars destroyed a lot and food had to be strictly rationed.

With National Socialism and World War II, people either had to hide, which also often lead to a lacked access to food, and in concentration camps there was a forced malnutrition.

the post war period

White flags were hoisted, and destroyed cities, as well as prosperity rebuilt. After a long starvation, food became more varied, more calorie-rich and a time under the motto: Take what is there and nothing is wasted, began.

As my grandma still does it today, food was grown on private properties, it was inserted, dried and stored in cellars. With those methods, there was always enough food for everyone, and enjoyment without remorse.

Meat was heavily rationed during the war, which is why meat became a must have and people ate more animal products. The culmination of meat consumption was said to have been in the early 1980s.

In the post-war period, the system of factory farming developed and more people were able to buy meat, because it was cheaper. Nowadays it is not about getting full from meat, but to produce as much as possible and earn tons of money from it.

In the 1990s, globalization spread and also influenced nutrition.

Since 1990, poverty in Europe has diminished, compared to earlier ages. Through international trade and treaties from different countries, goods have been transported all over the planet. This strengthens the economy, but always influences the planet.

Today … in 2018

Modern nutrition is hardly comparable to what humans ate 100 years ago in Europe. A variety of products invites us to taste the whole world in our own living room.

Eating in abundance and less exercise

As we already know, our ancestors were often on their feet all day long, while they had far less food available. Today, the majority of people is sitting for hours, he drives instead of walking and food is available all the time. Most of us do not even know what it feels like to be really hungry.

In Europe, almost every country has reached a level of prosperity where most of the population does not have to go to bed hungry. Instead, overweight became a mass phenomenon and conscious eating became the exception to the rule.

The nearest supermarket is not far. If you don’t want to cook, order a pizza or buy one of the fast food solutions to satisfy and release you from hunger quickly. From the mentality of saving resources, today is not much left.

Nutrition trends and today’s starvation

Low-Carb, Paleo, High-fat and other nutritional trends keep coming up. While some feast on what they can do, others fight to lose weight. Whether people have thought 100 years ago, to weigh too much?

The relationship with animals

… has declined sharply in the course of factory farming. Hard to believe, but often we humans do not even know what we eat, where food comes from and what had to happen to bring it on the plate.

The consumption of meat is said to be as high as in the 80s, the time it reached the peak. The difference is: today we waste a lot more, because we do not eat everything and just the best enters the stomach.

On the other hand, awareness of the animals‘ ability to suffer again increases. There is a variety of alternatives to animal products, so more and more people eat vegetarian or vegan.

The relationship to environment

…suffered too in the struggle for prosperity. Above all, the countries in the „rich west“ have caused so much damage in the last century, as one would hardly imagine. In order not to have too little, the individual also longs for more and more.

Whether we are talking about meat or another type of food, how much we care about how food is produced says a lot about the importance of the planet earth to us humans.

Water and soil are poisoned with pesticides, genetic manipulation in nature, CO2 carpets over our heads through transport, methane clouds because of the animals we breed to eat. How long can we go on like this?

People and their diets have been constantly facing new challenges, until today. There is always injustice between illness and poverty. Climate change already existed back then, but today the effects are far more dangerous and we humans contributed to it, in order to gain prosperity.

Man has survived by adapting himself over and over again. We see,  Humanity is full of potential, but without our environment we are nothing. Because she was, is and will be the basis for all life.


http://www.sge-ssn.ch/media/Tabula-3-15-D-Report.pdf

https://www.welt.de/wissenschaft/article1477191/Ernaehrung-im-Mittelalter-viel-besser-als-heute.html

https://www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de/Lexikon/Ern%C3%A4hrung_(Sp%C3%A4tmittelalter/Fr%C3%BChe_Neuzeit)

https://www.spektrum.de/lexikon/biologie/massentierhaltung/41311

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