Help heal the planet through their food choices

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Abstract

Food has a significant impact on almost all aspects of our lives. Food choice, therefore, shapes our health, economy, environment, and politic. Increased consumption of fast food in America has led to major negative impacts on the aspects. The growth of the fast food industry has reached a surprising figure. Food packaging takes up a significant percent of landfill space. It has become easy to find oneself in the pattern of eating convenient, fast, prepared food particularly because of the current frenetic life. However, this has a significant impact on the planet as a whole. The Standard diet lacks nutrients and is heavily dependent on processed foods that include additives, sweeteners, chemically-altered fats, artificial color, and flavorings. Since everyone needs food every day, how it is produced and controlled is important. Additionally, how it is marketed and processed can have a big effect on economics and health. This paper discusses how individuals can help heal the planet through such food choices.

Introduction

Today, the world suffers from high rates of chronic diseases than ever before. One of the most common chronic diseases includes obesity and diabetes. There is a high prevalence of diseases despite the world being bombarded with information on healthy eating. Evidently, there is a medical, economic and medical price we pay for our food choices. In the previous past, many researchers and academicians have highlighted the link between food choices, factory farm system with crises and disease and ecology. Most foods tend to undergo a lot of processing destroying most nutrients. Other highly refined products such as white rice, white sugar, and white flour have had a large amount of their nutritional content stripped away. The role of food choices in healing the planet cannot be overemphasized.  Food is a form of expression of a particular culture, community and relationship to the natural world. It is, therefore, important to focus on the diet on whole including foods that come from sustainable, healthy, local sources. In the recent past, the fast food industry has seen a lot of attention as a result of increased obesity in America.  This has had a positive effect as many restaurants are now offering healthy alternatives to high-calorie foods in efforts to promote a healthier diet for Americans. However, the available alternatives come with an extra cost.

Background

Given that processing can as well remove much of the color and taste from food, the global food industry often compensates by adding artificial colorings and flavorings. Some chemicals used are simply cheap compared to real flavorings.  Other additions such as chemical preservatives are added to extend shelf life global foods require.Locally grown foods often do not contain chemical additives as they are less likely to undergo processing. However, there is the prevalence of small and diversified organic farms in local food systems.  Such foods are less likely to contain residues of herbicides, pesticides and other toxicagrochemicals.Although such chemicals regularly turn up in the food, they affect the human evolutionary history. Further, human defense are unprepared to protect them from such harm. They cause birth defects, cancer, neurological damage, immune system breakdown and can affect normal childhood development. Some chemicals have been categorized as endocrine disrupters. Endocrine disrupters have been linked to early onset of puberty now common in the industrial world.

Different research studies have also linked various conditions and exposure to pesticides. Fertilizers and chemical used in industrial agriculture also impact on health.  Nitrates in water, for example, have been associated with cancer, birth defects and blue-baby syndrome in infants. It is easy to fall into the pattern of eating convenient, fast, prepared food particularly because of the current frenetic life. However, this has a significant impact on the planet as a whole. The Standard diet lacks nutrients and is heavily dependent on processed foods that include additives, sweeteners, chemically-altered fats, artificial color, and flavorings. Fast foods remove individuals from the pleasures of preparing and savoring healthy meals. People now tend to eat for speed and convenience rather than pleasure and health. So there are numerous reasons why it is important to pay attention to food. Food is also an important part of medicine. It is important to pay attention to food as a source of health benefits that arises from its medicinal value (Dietz, & Gortmaker, 2001).

Supermarkets and fast food stores are filled with conveniently packaged foods that appeal to every taste buds but compromise nutrition.  With contradictory research studies, complicated nutritional advice and endless health diets, there is more opportunity for food businesses to sell more products. As a result, the diet consumed by human beings contributes to our health. A healthy diet has been viewed as an alternative to deliberately improve health and tackle chronic diseases.  The approach is based on a Functional Medicine perspective. The perspective considers how a range of nutrients impact the systems of the human body (Pitchford, 2002).

If food has such a significant impact on economy and health, it is only natural that it also has a similar effect on the environment. Evidently, the wide consumption of fast food in America, and now spreading all over the world, can lead to major negative impacts on our environment. The increase of the fast food industry has reached a surprising figure. Most of these products are packaged. Food packaging takes up a significant percent of landfill space. The amount of waste resulting from fast food packaging is a contentious issue. However, there is a large amount of trash that arises from fast food consumption. Pollution is a persistent problem in the society and the pollution resulting from such things as fast food packaging comes at a cost to the environment. Further, the pollution leads to bioaccumulation; which is arises when chemicals from food packaging get penetrate into the ground. Bioaccumulation is essential for the accumulation of minerals and vitamins and can be devastating when it occurs with harmful chemicals. Elements that touch the ground ultimately end up in rivers, drinking water and plates as food. Plants also take up toxic chemicals from soil contamination. Animals may also take up these toxins leading to bioaccumulation (Robbins, 2012).

Since everyone needs food every day, how it is produced and controlled is important. Additionally, how it is marketed and processed can have a big effect on economics and health. While some parts of the world face food shortages and lack of access to food, industrialized nations have cited unhealthy food as the second killer after smoking. Healthy food is good medicine. It is an important factor for changing the body both psychologically and chemically. A healthy diet influences consciousness. A well-nourished system ensures that transmitters and receivers have high amounts of energy. A healthy body also creates a new balance in a body. Food has impacts on mood, weight, the outlook of life, the look of the body and the entire world around. Eating right is, therefore, the initial step to health and balance of the universe.

The results of numerous studies are clear and undeniable. Food can indeed heal or prevent serious diseases. Eating healthy diets prevent many illnesses from developing further and some health problems from happening. The idea is utilizing food to alter body chemistry. The planet can be different if human diet can be different. For example, the formation of children is dependent on the nutrients available. Not only are people what they eat, Children as well prior and after birth. The inherited health of children and pattern of the immune system is laid down by their parents (Hay, 2009).

Besides physical benefits, there are numerous positive effects of having healthy food choices. Food choices also affect the mental health of consumers. When the body is functioning at its best, one feels more awake and becomes more focused. Focus enables a person to perform a number of activities. The more focused an individual is, the more they can get more done. Eating healthfully also lower your stress levels and boost mood. An individual’s mental health is much more stimulated when the body is running smoothly and fulfilled. Essentially, food largely impacts the way the body functions. Eating well or poorly can make a significant difference on both the mental and physical aspects of the body. Eating a healthy diet impacts the body in a positive way. Eventually, one functions better and feels better. A healthy diet can balance out the body and allows it to perform at its most efficient state (Henrikson, 1989).

Following a healthy eating plan that emphasizes many vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and low levels of trans fats, saturated and low sugar, cholesterol, and sugar contribute to weight maintenance. Eating moderately sized meals and staying within the recommended daily calorie intake also helps a person maintain a healthy weight during their life. Appropriate weight is associated with a reduced risk of various debilitating, chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes as well as improved mental state and self-esteem. Maintaining appropriate weight is also linked to lower occurrences of depression. Thus, food choices determine a person’s quality of life.

Food choice also determines the sustenance elevated mood.  A healthy lifestyle including balancing lean protein consumption with whole-grain carbohydrates, healthy breakfast, getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids and folate and cutting back on simple sugars and alcohol.  These help alleviate depression and are linked to an improved mood. Eating the healthy diet also boost energy levels, enabling an individual to face each day. Common diseases like arthritis recommend steering clear of fattening, fried foods which provide a quick burst of energy but leave an individual feeling depleted soon after that.  Stocking up on healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, low-fat cheese and yogurt for an energy boost is also recommended.

Eating healthy foods also directly impacts others around. It can help inspire those around as well. Behavioral scientists recognize that weight loss and healthy eating is contagious. By eating healthy, it is possible to inspire people to take care of themselves and attain greater longevity. While eating healthy and maintaining appropriate weight can make one feel confident, it also improves the lives of others in a positive manner. When people around are positive and happy, it contributes to a better quality of life.Throughout history and the spectrum of time and history, food choices have been essential in every culture across the world. Individuals wishing to integrate themselves into a group must eat with it. Food choice is a surer way of determining people who are in and those who are out. Food encodes that can be viewed in the pattern of social relations being expressed. This message entails degrees of hierarchy, exclusion, inclusion and transactions across the boundaries. Therefore, food has a biological and social component which control social practices and events.

Action plan

The researcher will use the qualitative methodology in to carry out the study. The research methodology, research question, and research design are normally connected.  A qualitative approach is the most suitable overall orientation to this type of research. Normally, studies are based on quantitative, qualitative or a combination of both approaches. The choice of either depends on abilities and preferences and the appropriateness of particular approaches to the topic. It is important to justify why a particular approach has been chosen.

Qualitative data will be particularly useful when researching for this topic. Quantitative data would have been suitable if the researcher wished to discover findings that could be generalized to a large population.

A literature review will be used as a precursor in the collection of data for the study. The literature review will involve critical in-depth review of relevant studies conducted on the same topic. When literature review is used as a research method, a researcher goes above conducting a synopsis and summary of a particular area of research. The process will allow anybody is reading the paper to determine the purpose of pursuing a particular topic. The researcher plans to expand upon the reasons behind selecting the particular research problem.

The suitability of literature has been considered after taking into account the suitability and merits that arise from primary research. The potential relevance of quantitative and other forms of qualitative methodologies have been considered in their ability to yield valuable data. Substantial, useful research is based on thorough, sophisticated literature review.  The complex nature of education research requires such thorough, sophisticated reviews. A literature review is important in two ways. It will help the researchers to glean the ideas of other individuals interested in the specific research problem as studies from different authors will be available for analysis and comparison.  The first step will involve a search for literature. The second step will involve defining the research problem as precisely as possible. The third step will entail looking at different relevant secondary sources. The third step will involve perusing one or two suitable reference works. Search terms will be formulated trough keywords and phrases related to the problem of interest. The researcher will then search for references for pertinent primary sources. Relevant primary sources will then be obtained and key points summarized. The data will then be interpreted, analyzed, evaluated, and synthesized.

Often, literature analysis takes a single or two forms: between-study literature analysis or within-study literature analysis. The two types of literature reviews are important and may be conducted in all literature review. Except in some rare instances when the literature review requires a purposive selection of one work, other literature reviews necessitates comparison with other works. The researcher will use this approach to gathering data on the relevant area of research. In its most comprehensive and rigorous form, a within-study literature analysis will be done. This will involve analyzing the results of various studies of a study or the major premises utilized in a non-empirical work. To a certain extent, optimally, it will involve analyzing each component of the work, including conceptual, theoretical framework and framework, the title, literature review section, procedures used, discussion section and results section. The information obtained from different literature source will then be compared and contrasted to form data for the study. Although the findings among empirical works are common information used in such comparison.  Each component or multiple components, of a research studies and scholarly resources, will be compared with every multiple component from other works.

Data Gathering

The study will employ purposive sampling strategy to determine data sources. A combination of two purposive sampling strategies including stratified sampling and the critical case will be used.  The critical case will involve the selection of a small number of scholarly literatures to yield a small number of data sources. The method will help in yielding the most information and have a considerable impact on the development of knowledge. The sample will be limited to published, peer-reviewed journal articles for obvious reasons. The major reason is that they are the main source of scholarly evidence, and they attain higher quality standards.

To search for relevant materials, different databases and the internet will be used to identify relevant materials.  No limit of articles will be placed on the criteria to be used for selecting journals or articles.  Thus, all categories and disciplines were represented in all searches. In instances where more a number of articles meet the inclusion criteria but are tied for the times cited, they will be included in the study.

Conclusion

In the previous past, many researchers and academicians have highlighted the link between food choices, factory farm system with crises and disease and ecology. The study will contribute to the body of knowledge on food choices.  Due to the high prevalence of chronic diseases than ever before, the study comes in handy. Food choices have been linked to most common chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. There is a need for people to have adequate information high on healthy food choices. Evidently, there is a medical, economic and medical price we pay for our food choices. Today, most foods tend to undergo a lot of processing destroying most nutrients.  The role of food choices in healing the planet cannot be overemphasized.  It is, therefore, essential to focus on the diet on whole including foods that come from sustainable, healthy, local sources. People have increasingly fallen into the pattern of eating convenient, fast, prepared food particularly because of the current frenetic life. However, this has a significant impact on the planet as a whole.

References

Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. North Atlantic Books.

Robbins, J. (2012). Diet for a New America 25th Anniversary Edition: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Your Happiness, and the Future of Life on Earth. HJ Kramer.

Hay, L. L. (2009). You can heal your life. ReadHowYouWant. com.

Henrikson, R. (1989). Earth food spirulina. Laguna Beach, CA: Ronore Enterprises, Inc.

Dietz, W. H., & Gortmaker, S. L. (2001). Preventing obesity in children and adolescents. Annual review of public health, 22(1), 338-353.

 

 

 



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