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Navigating Food Trends: #Foodie

A lot of people (adults and children) are afraid to try new foods, or ones they are not familiar with. Most of us are comfortable with foods we grew up eating and adapt to things just outside of those boundaries. Only a few can be so adventurous or bold to experience any and all food- think Andrew Zimmern. In our primal past we had to evolve to eat foods that we felt safe around, or adapt to foods that kept us alive. All this changed when we stopped hunting and gathering, lived in agrarian societies and eventually moved kitchens inside our homes. Combined with mass agriculture and commercial foods in the last 100 years we are now quite distant from our primal ancestors.

What does any of this have to do with our kids? Well, from the embryonic stage we are linked to our primal past. Our brain contains within it the reflex of our evolution. Children are the first stages of this evolution and they are born into this world pure without the influence of our present. From the moment of birth, they absorb this environment to which they are born into and adapt. They adapt based on what the adults in the environment provide them. This can be positively or negatively stimulating. Therefore, it is our role to provide what is best for this child’s being.

Food plays a vital role in the child’s new environment. Without this sustenance they will not survive. Most are given breast milk, and since the 1830’s a German chemist invented Formula* to aid and substitute a mother’s milk. In less than a year, a child is introduced to solid foods and their pallet then adapts to the foods around them. Prior to the 1920’s babies all ate homemade food. Even with the introduction of jarred baby foods, this was only an option for the wealthy and elite society. In the last 50 years, the food industry has made this processed food readily available and affordable to most people in first world nations. In the last 20 years this food has changed so much to where it now comes freeze dried, in a pouch, frozen cubes, delivery service, etc so that a parent no longer needs to prepare homemade food for this newly birthed infant. If you have never made your own baby food, you are not alone. Many people today don’t think this is even something they can do.

As children grow older it seems easier to feed them food from our own plates, or create meals that are simpler in taste and texture to suit a child’s taste buds. This continues through the child’s life and into older years and then into adulthood. In the adolescent and adult years, we begin to experiment and bring in outside influences into our palette to adapt to a new environment of freedom and change. However, the box or radius from our base flavors grow in small increments. Most of us still cling to the known, the popular, the trends, the safe-bets, the ones we’ve tried before and can now say we are comfortable eating new things, but only staying within the comfort parameters. If you tend to order the same item on the menu at a restaurant, this is what I mean. We like what we know, and we stick to it. We find comfort and solace, embracing change, but only to where it is economically sound.

How do we change this? How do we give comfort and foster resilience in our children? How can we make changes in our lives that will impart new wisdom on the generation behind us?

More food for thought in the next posts.


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