Seasonal foods and human feeding habits


One of my favorite television programs relating to food and culture around the world is hosted by the senior chef and writer Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown at CNN. In my opinion, most people should experience the international exotic food prepared with totally different ingredients and cultural habits compared to the regular foods we consume everyday.

The variety of the food we eat is always good for our health. The new experience with the exotic food that may not be accepted the first time by our preferences is not really an important issue since many of the international foods can make us addicted and can be on our bucket list.

Basically, humans are omnivores and have logical thinking, so they can choose to eat any combination of meats (carnivore), plants (herbivore), and foods or drinks which are fermented or early decomposed by microorganisms (saprovore). In fact, more people eat processed foods and drinks because of the provocative advertisements, and because they are cheaper and faster to prepare.

These human feeding habits can be influenced either by natural or volitional selection or both over hundred thousand of years of development until the near future projection of human society. Natural selection in consumption of a variety of foods and drinks depends on evolutionary biology or human adaptation and development from the past to the present. Volitional selection of the foods we eat in the future relates to our health and can help us live longer, depending on our own choices and willingness to consume healthy natural food, especially for the young generation.

Several phenomena can be observed to support the human omnivore feeding habit, such as the existence of our canine and molar teeth to process all kinds of foods. The length of our intestine, which is not too short like a tiger’s intestine or too long like a cow’s intestine, makes us more flexible to choose and combine our foods. Actually, our teeth and intestines are similar to herbivores rather than carnivores. The idea to reduce consumption of meat was mentioned by Confucius: “The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live”.

Since ancient human history, fermented foods or drinks have been contributing to the health and pleasure of the human body. On the other hand, fermented foods or drinks can be fatal if they are consumed too much because they will disturb our motoric system and the clearness of our mind.

Concerning our foods and drinks that we consume in relation to our health, we need a breakthrough from our food routines and habits. Once the author and humorist Mark Twain said: “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not”.  Again, the variety of our foods and drinks should be good, and not mass produced by a giant business interest to tempt the younger generation.

The photo above is the spicy and healthy Korean dishes with some fermented vegetables that can be preserved naturally for a longer consumption. The photo was taken at the Always Spring Korean Cuisine in the Asian market, Beaverton, Oregon.

Consuming foods based on their availability in nature in different seasons can support the diversity of the foods that we consume and can be simply based on the 4 seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter in temperate regions, and the 2 seasons of the wet and dry seasons in tropical regions. According to traditional dietary philosophy, environmental factors such as 4 seasons or 2 seasons will produce different kinds of seasonal foods and always have a positive impact on the body.

Traditional dietary philosophy suggests we embrace our native foods in addition to eating locally-grown foods and those in season. What is unhealthy concerning the modern diet is that particular foods are now available all year long and chemically treated to keep their shelf life longer, more attractive to the consumer, and maybe involving genetically modified organisms.

The accumulation of foods consumed even though their safety is not sure yet instead of being grown naturally and in season is risky and surely unhealthy. Natural home-grown and chemical-free products are the most nutritious foods and an important part of the natural way of farming.

Please visit to learn more on preparing the living soil for growing natural and seasonal foods using the resource-organic waste management approach available in your location.

– Bintoro Gunadi

BRW card back

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