Evolution of Eating Project

Evolution of Eating Project
Part 1: Day to day food diary
Time Food taken Ingredients Place obtained Quantity Setting
6:30 am passion juice Passion fruit juice, food color and food additives
House fridge 1 glass full Dining table with my younger brother
white bread Wheat flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable fat House fridge 2
slices Dining table with my younger brother
10.00 am Cookies Wheat flour, food additives, sugar, vegetable oil and
food preservative School canteen 6 medium sized cookies Under a tree
Drinking water Pure water School food outlet 250ml While walking
4.00 pm burger Vegetable lettuce, wheat flour, sugar Down town
restaurant 1 small burger 200gms Seated watching television
8:30 pm White rice Rice, salt, vegetable oil House dining table 1 plate
full Seated with family at dinner table
Beef Red meat, onions, tomatoes, salt. House dining table A few slices
Seated with family at dinner table
Vegetable salad Sliced vegetables, carrots. House dining table 1 salad
plate full Seated with family at dinner table
7:30am Cereal Milk, wheat and sugar House dining table 1 small bowl
Standing by the dinner table
12:00 noon Chicken wings and chicken soup Fried chicken, food spices
vegetable oil. Cafeteria Quarter chicken Seated at eating hall
4:00 pm Boiled Eggs Chicken egg, salt. Cafeteria 2 eggs Seated at
Mango juice Fruit juice, food additives, sugar. Cafeteria 1 glass
full. Seated at cafeteria
8:30 pm Fish stew Irish stew spices, salt, fish, onions, tomatoes. Home
dining table Half fish and a little soup. Seated at dinner table with
the whole family
Mashed potatoes Chopped Irish potatoes, salt and milk Home dining table
One plate full of mashed potatoes Seated at dinner table with the whole
cake Sugar, margarine, milk, wheat flour, lemon. Home kitchen A small
200gm piece Seated at dinner table with the whole family
7:30 am Eggs Cooking fat, salt Neighborhood shop 2 fried eggs Seated at
breakfast table
Coffee Coffee, sugar, milk Home kitchen 2 mugs Seated at breakfast
Bread sandwich Beef brawn, tomatoes, wheat, sugar sat and vegetable
fat Home kitchen 1 sandwich Seated at breakfast table
12:00pm Chapatti Wheat flour, cooking fat, salt, water. School canteen
2 pieces Seated at cafeteria
Mango juice Fruit juice, food additives, sugar. Cafeteria 1 glass
full. Seated at cafeteria
Rice Rice, salt, vegetable oil Cafeteria 1 plate full Seated at
4:00 pm Mango juice Fruit juice, food additives, sugar. Cafeteria 1
glass full. Seated at cafeteria
Bun Wheat flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable fat Cafeteria 1 piece Seated
at cafeteria
8:00 pm Mashed potatoes Chopped Irish potatoes, salt and milk Home
dining table One plate full of mashed potatoes Seated at dinner table
with the whole family
Milk Milk, sugar Home dining table 1 glass full Seated at dinner
table with the whole family
6:30 am Pancakes Sugar, wheat flour, 2 eggs, milk. Home dining table
4pieces Standing by dinner table
11:30 am Burger Vegetable lettuce, wheat flour, sugar School food
outlet 1 small burger 200gms Seated with a friend at the food outlet
Soda Fruit juice, preservative, carbohydrates School food outlet 300
ml Seated with a friend at the food outlet
5:00pm Milk Milk, sugar Fridge at home 1 glass full Standing in the
10:00 am Porridge Porridge flour, sugar, milk, lemon Made it in the
kitchen 1 bowl Seated at breakfast table
Beef Sausages Sausage Made it in the kitchen 6 pieces Seated at
breakfast table
Banana Banana Home fridge 4 bananas Seated at breakfast table
2:00 pm Soda Fruit juice, preservative, carbohydrates Street
restaurant 300 ml Seated with a friend at the restaurant
Pizza Beef, wheat flour, onions, tomatoes, Street restaurant 1 large
Seated with a friend at the restaurant
9:00 pm Mashed potatoes Chopped Irish potatoes, salt and milk Home
dining table One plate full of mashed potatoes Seated at dinner table
with the whole family
Liver Salt, liver, tomato, onions, food spices. Home dining table
200gms Seated at dinner table with the whole family
Mango Mango Home dining table 1 mango. Seated at dinner table with
the whole family
Part 2
Humans have had a constant transition from using stone tools in Homo
erectus, to Neanderthals, archaic Homo sapiens to the use of
contemporary technology in Homo sapiens. The transition, which is dated
between 125, 000 to 400, 000 Ya, changed the individual behaviors,
physiology and anatomical features. One of the notable changes is human
diet. The ancient diet was different in terms of diversity,
accessibility and methods of preparation. The Paleolithic diet has
largely influenced what we eat today. One of the primary evidences is in
the fossils of the ancient humans. The fossils give an insight into
their ways of life, with hunting and gathering foodstuffs, being
considered their norms. A robust skeleton, smaller blow ridges and a
higher forehead characterized the humans living during this period.
There was no universal nutritional guide or reference during that
period. High latitude, arid lands, equatorial, coastal, mainly affected
the dietary patterns and the regions occupied like traditional East
Asian, Mediterranean, typical American and the surrounding plantations.
According to Eaton, (2006), pre-agricultural humans, for example, the
hominine, ate wild animal meat, fish, uncultivated plant foods that grew
naturally and hunted for honey. Grains were for emergencies or extreme
cases since the communities’ main occupation was hunting and gathering
crops. In some of the fossils collected from the species, Homo
Heidelbergensis, stones tools, among them spears were found. These tools
demonstrated the communities’ involvement in butchering and killing
big game for food. Most food products of today, e.g. dairy products,
oils, salt, processed foods were not available. According to Eaton and
Eaton (2000), the Paleolithic diet had more animal protein consumed than
what is consumed by the westerners today. If well calculated, the total
fat consumption had a variation that was due to difference in latitude,
but intake of cholesterol with serum-raising fat was nearly always less
than for Americans and Europeans while there was more dietary long-chain
(C20 and above) polyunsaturated fatty acid.
One of the surprising contents in the Paleolithic diet was calcium.
Despite the scarcity of dairy products, for example, milk, cheese and
yoghourt, the diets had more calcium than the current diets (Cordain, et
al., 2002). As demonstrated in their molar eruptions, the ancient
communities had full dental eruptions at an early age and even matured
faster than the modern humans do. Looking at the Neanderthal’s
fossils, dental and bone maturity was surprisingly at a tender age
compared to the modern humans. The Kung Sung, for example share
contemporary and ancient ways of life. The community, which is found in
the Kalahari Desert in Africa, follows ancient ways of life including
hunting and gathering foods. The ancient communities were therefore
highly adapted to the harsh and dangerous environments, considering they
resided in caves, unlike the modern houses. Wild plants usually contain
a good amount of calcium compared to modern milk. Latitude also affected
the amount of calcium in food. In the northern latitudes plant foods
sometimes contributed to only up to 5% of food energy intake hence, they
had a condition of low bone mineral density among majority of the
population in the region.
Professional or dietary institutions usually recommend the diets
consumed today. For example, there is increasing evidence from research
that indicates that the diet recommended by the UDSA food pyramid is not
coordinated with the diet that has been consumed for the evolution
process. These foods lack most of the essential dietary requirements
(O`Keefe Jr & Cordain, 2004). The recommendations also do not have
specifications on what amount and which types of fats should be
consumed. The recommended diet contains many saturated fats and there is
an imbalance in the type of polyunsaturated fats recommended for eating.
We consume a lot of omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3 fats. The USDA
recommendations put the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 at about 12:1
(Simopoulos, 2004). In addition to reduction in essential nutrients in
the modern diets, the Paleolithic era necessitated physical activities
and involuntary exercises during the hunting and gathering events,
leading to improved physical health and reduction of calories.
Recommendations by the USDA have been criticized though. One of the
recommendations criticized is the one to consume 6-11 servings of meals
at the base of its pyramid which are breads, cereals rice and pasta. The
critics say that this fails to distinguish between refined and complex
carbohydrates. In the Paleolithic period, the hunters and gatherers
rarely ate cereal grains or diets high in carbohydrates. This is because
the human GIT cannot digest cereal grains without prior grinding or
mastication and cooking. Appearance of grinding stones in fossil records
indicates the inclusion of grains in their diet. According to O`Keefe Jr
and Cordain (2004), the current human nutritional requirements are
almost identical to the requirements to the Stone Age man living in
pre-agricultural period.
In the archaeological research, the early farmer has a body
characteristic of reduced stature, increased infant mortality rate,
reduced family span, low health resistance to diseases and bone mineral
disorders. Early agriculture did not have a positive impact on health
i.e. it did not improve the health of the Stone Age man. The transition
between Paleolithic diets to domesticated grains brought numerous
complications including anemia and susceptibility to infections. As
evidenced by the gradual extinction of the Neanderthals, agriculture and
advancement in technology affected their ways of life and reduced their
life spans. One of the primary challenges was in cultivating and
domesticating grains. Despite the gradual evolution of Paleolithic
tools, domestication of the grains proved to be a primary challenge,
leading to deterioration in health, an increase in mortality rates and
numerous indigestion complaints. The Paleolithic communities were not
used to grains and their digestive system had to adapt to the new diets.
In addition to challenges in domestication and cultivation, the
agricultural transition did not benefit the communities, but rather
affected their health, physical features and reaction to specific foods.
One of the negative effects of agricultural transition was specializing
on foods that lacked essential amino acids, among them tryptophan and
lysine. In addition, the foods narrowed the dietary choices since they
eliminated and reduced consumption of animals for proteins. Larsen
(2003) states that during the agricultural transition, the communities
“had an increased exposure to phytate in diet and poor calcium and
iron status and they lived in circumstances that promoted the spread of
infectious disease”. In addition, cooking softened the foods and
generated significant consequence to the dental health of the
communities. Sedentism, or the process of settling down, affected the
rate of indulgence in physical activities, leading to health
complications and weakening of bones. Compromised nutrition and
development of processing plants and rise in technology brought adverse
health consequences and lowered the immunity of the contemporary
society. The food consumed in our diet today is more concentrated on the
health of the individual. Some are even medicated and are required to
have all components of a balanced diet. Overconsumption of some of these
foods may be harmful to one’s health. The meals also have to be
accompanied by supplementary feeds to bring out the expected outcome.
Five day Dining practices.
On a normal day, dining should be done in a relaxed mode and in no
hurry. One is required to be seated and have a balanced diet for all
meals. The amount of food consumed is determined by one’s energy
requirements brought about by their health, gender, occupation, body
size, age and other daily factors that include appetite. However,
everyone has a minimum of the amount of food they are to consume to
ensure they stay healthy and alive. A minimum of 8 glasses of water is
also important.
On the first day of the diet diary, Tuesday, the morning meal was
breakfast taken at 6:30am. The meal was taken seated and in a relaxed
mode as it should. The diet was balanced since it included all
components of a decent meal. The mid morning meal was taken under
relaxed mode since it was a lesson break. The water was taken for
refreshing purposes and rehydration. Though it did not include all the
required components of a balanced diet, its main purpose was to provide
energy for the rest of the day. In addition, the water was meant to
hydrate the body and help in perspiration. Dinner was the third meal of
the day. It included a dessert in the form of vegetable salad. Being the
last meal of the day, it was important to have any dietary component not
consumed the while day.
Wednesday and Thursday had almost similar meals. These two days were
equally hectic since they demanded I engage in serious schoolwork. The
involvement in school activities, for example, classes, clubs and other
co-curricular activities led to the consumption of calories and required
regular feeding to replace the lost energy. Some of the areas I
frequented included gym and singing classes. Friday starts early and is
equally busy compared to the other days. To prepare myself for the day,
I had to take a heavy breakfast. The midday meal was also heavy since it
was to be followed by an hour of gym lesson. The final meal of the day
was at 5:00pm. After this, there was no other meal because the rest of
the day was dedicated to an overnight fellowship at the local church.
Saturday usually starts slow. The incoherent nature of the timetables
and routines led to irregular meal intervals. Since the day involved a
lot of resting, the meals were not very heavy compared to the other
days. I consumed a fruit after several hours to replenish some lost
vitamins. One of the lessons learnt was the importance of consuming
balanced diets to improve personal health. The food should also be free
of excess sugars and excess calories to avoid diseases of the heart and
cancers. The food taken should be well made and cooked to precision.
This is to ensure that the health of the consumer is not at risk of
contracting diseases like cholera and amoeba.
One of my family’s tradition is having communal meals. The whole
family congregates and shares the meal together. The food is therefore
prepared for the single family and is meant to be consumed once everyone
assembles at the dining table. Snacks were not part of the foods eaten.
However, cultural diversification and increase in daily activities,
responsibilities, routines and commitments, have led to changes in
traditions. The only unchanged tradition is monitoring the diets of
children below the age of 12 years. They are banned from eating meals
not prepared in the house or recommended by the family. This therefore
means that the family tradition of checking what one eats is still of
great concern and highly adhered.
Tracing back to our family’s history, our ancestors were not
vegetarians. However, part of the family has converted to vegetarians.
This has been influenced by over-reliance on farm products from the
family’s extensive piece of land. With the family having enough farm
produce, processed foods and other produce from neighboring farms and
local markets were rarely used. The cooking was normally done in a
traditional way that was approved by the mother of the family. These
cooking methods were taught to the children and mostly the girls. The
girls mastered the art and as time went by and culture changed, the art
of cooking was slowly altered. However, some meals were not cooked in an
acquired way but the family cooking tradition preserved up to today.
The traditional meals consumed by our ancestors were not only cheap and
readily available, but also nutritious, healthy and sustainable. In
addition, the preparation methods were safe, healthy and efficient.
Contrary to the contemporary cooking methods that focus mainly on
frying, traditional cooking methods entailed boiling and steaming. These
preparation methods, coupled by use of farm produce, reduced risks of
cardiac complications and improved the health of the communities.
Currently, my diet includes high-calorie foods, cholesterol-rich and
unbalanced ratios of omega-3 and 6. This means that, largely, the food
is dangerous to our health, more so due to influence of external bodies
to dietary recommendations. The choice we make on what food to consume
is limited. For example, the food taken in the school cafeteria is of a
limited choice since some foods are not offered in the menu. This is
because the government recommends the school diet and is approved by the
health ministry. In the same way, some foods are not allowed in the
school. At our homes, we might be allowed to take some foods and not
others. My family has banned foods with excess sugars and calories
because of the health concern. The local government has also come up
with a way of advising the public on what food to consume and the
amounts required. This means that there are foods prohibited to be sold
in the food stores. Other foods and their quantities in stores are also
limited. Some are guarded by age, status in society and quantity sold.
This means that regulating the feeds is a way of ensuring that there is
a balanced nature of food consumption.
Diet has a major influence on physiological and economic wellbeing of an
individual. Some of the consequences associated with specific dietary
intakes include overall health and susceptibility to diet-related
complications. As one becomes older, they stop consuming some food
substances, reduce quantities taken in others, increase others and
acquire new foods to consume. This is due to the diet requirements one
acquires. In the future, I would wish to change the food I consume due
to these same reasons. Obesity is also a factor to consider when buying
and making food. Therefore, a food and diet adviser will be important in
my plans of choosing a diet.
In conclusion, the food we consume contributes significantly to an
important aspect of our lives. It determines what our health will be
like and influences the activities we undertake in our everyday life.
This means that we have to always check the food we eat. A balanced diet
is also important. This, therefore, means that we should ensure that the
food we consume has all the components of a balanced diet. A fruit and
dessert at the end a meal is important in the daily meals. The world
today has experts on the food and foods people need to consume.
Therefore, it is important to have their opinion in what we choose to ea
and not eat and the conditions in which we are.
Cordain, L., Eaton, S. B., Brand Miller, J., Mann, N., & Hill, K.
(2002). Original Communications-The paradoxical nature of
hunter-gatherer diets: Meat-based, yet non-atherogenic. European journal
of clinical nutrition, 56(1), S42.
Eaton, S. B. (2006). The ancestral human diet: what was it and should it
be a paradigm for contemporary nutrition?. Proceedings of the Nutrition
Society, 65(01), 1-6.
Eaton, S. B., & Eaton Iii, S. B. (2000). Paleolithic vs. modern
diets–slected pathophysiological implications. European Journal of
Nutrition, 39(2), 67-70.
Larsen, C. S. (2003). Animal Source Foods and Human Health during
Evolution. The Journal of Nutrition, 133 (11), 3893S-3897S.
O`Keefe Jr, J. H., & Cordain, L. (2004). Cardiovascular disease
resulting from a diet and lifestyle at odds with our Paleolithic genome:
how to become a 21st-century hunter-gatherer. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings
79(1), 101-108, Elsevier.
Simopoulos, A. P. (2004). Importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3
essential fatty acids: evolutionary aspects (Vol. 92, pp. 1-22). Karger

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