Food is any substance that we eat to provide nutritional support for our body. It usually consists of plant or animal origin, that contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. We take them as sources of energy, to stimulate growth, and maintain life.
It has been said that man does not die but that he kills himself by overeating. It is puzzling that food which sustains life can also kill life. What it means is that if we are given to overeating over a period of time, our arteries can be clogged up with fats and we can die of coronary diseases. What is true of the world is that some die of overeating while some others die of starvation.
Historically, people obtained food from hunting and gathering, farming, ranching, and fishing, known as agriculture. Today, most of the food energy consumed by the world population is supplied by the food industry operated by multinational corporations using intensive farming and industrial agriculture methods.
Food sustains life. It is indispensable for life. If you go without food for a couple of days, you will be like an invalid, immobile and incapable of doing anything. Yet, there are people who go on hunger strike and risk death to plead a cause. Ladies who want to lose weight will cut down on their necessary food intake and suffer side effects. Some even have problems of malnutrition. Fasting or abstaining from food is practised for religious reasons.
The type of food that people take depends on the climatic conditions they live in and the type of soil in the country. People who live in the tropics and equatorial countries take rice as their staple while people in temperate countries take wheat and potatoes for carbohydrates and meat for protein. Meat gives them the protein to withstand the cold weather. Religion also determines the type of food people take. Muslims do not take pork while Hindus do not take beef. Some people follow a vegetarian diet due to their religion. Still others will eat anything and there are those who go to the extreme of eating what they call exotic meat, that is, the flesh of rare and wild animals.
Some food has more nutritional value than others. While meat provides lots of protein, vegetables contain a lot of minerals and vitamins. It is always advisable to follow a balanced diet. Food can be cooked in a number of ways – fried, steamed, baked or grilled. The way food is prepared depends on one’s taste and interest. While meat has to be cooked properly, vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked.
Food serves two main purposes – it satisfies hunger and provides nutritional requirements for the body. It can provide pleasure and there are people who eat out of boredom. A normal healthy man will not reject food. The desire for food can be psychological and there are many among us who become frantic when food is not easily available. To them, eating has become a habit and they believe that without food at frequent intervals, they will lack energy and cannot carry on with their work.
Food is indispensable to life. We eat to live not live to eat.