What humans choose to eat is a strong reflection of their relationship to the Earth. Even with modern technology, if it were not for the fruitful bounties of this planet, homo sapiens could not sustain themselves.
That being said, how humans eat has drastically changed through the centuries. People no longer depend on hunting their own meat, nor does the average person grow his or her own food. More and more we are becoming disconnected from Earth, and our consumptions are a prime example.
The food we buy in excessive packaging at the grocery store (where I’m assuming the majority of people acquire their food) is the result of mass production. Mass production entails genetically modified food loaded with pesticides and other unnatural, unnecessary chemicals. As far as animal factory farming goes, it involves cruelty and suffering.
According to author Jonathan Safran Foer, American agriculture alone makes up a 40 percent greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined. It is the number one cause of climate change. Nearly one-third of the land surface of the planet is dedicated to live stock. What does this say about our relationship to Earth?
Let’s shrink this scale from macro to micro, focusing on the individual. Certainly the means in which farming and food processing in general is gone about are a brutal comment on how we regard this planet through how it is treated in order to obtain our “nutrition.”
However, how and what an individual decides to put in her body is extremely personal. In my opinion, it is something that deserves a great deal more thought. What someone eats affects his entire being–physically and, in a way, philosophically.
If you choose to consistently consume fast food, that will influence not only how you move, but it also has potential to cause more serious ailments, such as heart attacks. Some foods (those rich in vitamin A) help to clear skin. Foods (the rights ones) even have mood stabilizing abilities.
A handful of cashews decreases anxiety as efficiently as a Xanax. The vast viands provided by Earth are amazing in their capacities and the ones that are chosen by the individual for consumption is significant not only in physical repercussions, but additionally, metaphysical ones.
For the most part, a good deal of thought is put into deciding what to eat; not to mention, nowadays there is a plethora of ways to prepare said decision. The internal struggle of to eat or not to eat is due to mass production.
At least in the United States, there appear to be almost too many options. Now there is the choice of organic, frozen, fast or local food. Our country has reached the point where it is actually necessary to watch what we eat for fear of further inflating obesity.
What does this say about our relationship to Earth?
Naturally, we know what foods are good and bad for us. Therefore, it says a lot about a person who chooses to constantly eat fatty foods knowing that the only good that will come from it is gluttonous satisfaction. There is also a good amount to be noted on the person who decides to go on a raw vegan diet.
Unfortunately, I feel as though the extensive variety of foods and the convenience of obtaining them that is currently present have made Americans lazy about settling on what to eat. Without realizing it, many people put food into their mouths, chew and swallow without contemplating for a second where it has come from.
If it were a hundred years ago, the only way an individual would be able to eat is if they planted seeds with their own hands or slaughtered their own animal. Eating then was very strongly connected to Earth.
I think that most people tend to forget this, and who could blame them when they do not have to do any of these things themselves? Mass production of food has further disconnected us from this planet. Furthermore, it is of upmost importance to remember that the market produces what the people demand. The quality of our food is due to the desire to pay less. Well, you get what you pay for. If you are insistent on getting that chicken for a low, low price, you are going to be getting genetically modified, feces covered meat, that was delivered from across the country (made possible by added preservatives).
The next time you are eating your chips and soft drink, take a moment to consider where and how, what you are putting in your body came from. What does it say about your relationship to Earth?
Elissa Fredeen can be contacted at