FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE FOOD HABITS AND CULTURE 7
Foodis not only a basic need, rather also acts as a manner forindividuals to bond and depict their culture. The food habitsdepicted by different persons are methods of individualidentification. Food habits define the motives people eat theireating techniques, food consumed, in addition to manners people getthe food, preserve and discard food. In every culture, there areaccepted and unaccepted foods. Various aspects influence anindividual’s food habits, as well as culture.
Climateis one factor, which influences food habits and culture. It has animpact on how crops grow, hence affecting the availability and foodeaten. Foods, which are easily cultivated in a particular regionoften, become part of the region’s cuisine. Although, currenttechnology, agriculture practices and improved transportation haveenhanced the access of most food types. Hence, foods formerlyavailable to particular regions or at distinct seasons are now allyear round regardless of location. Californians are most likely toconsume fruits and vegetables (Sharmila, 2005). This is because theclimate in California, which is diverse, favors cultivation of suchfood types. The most common vegetable is eggplant, frequently stuffedwith meat and rice. Black and green olives are also apparent in mostdishes, while olive oil is utilized in food preparation. Fruits areconsumed raw in form of snacks and desserts. Californians prefer toeat raw fruits and vegetable of mix them into salads (Sharmila,2005).
Economicfactors control food practices and traditions. Money influences whatfood an individual buys. Cost is an intricate combination of thefood’s accessibility, demand and status. Individuals purchase whatthey deem affordable. Although some aspire to consume healthy foods,they are however unable due to the costs of healthy food. Junk foodis more readily available with the presence of many fast food joints.In addition, junk food is more affordable when compared to healthyfood (Kittler et al, 2012). Thus, influencing the culture and foodhabits of eating junk foods, which are not healthy. Persons earninglow incomes find it difficult to buy food from restaurants opting forthe more economical meals that they prepare from their homes.Low-income earners are more likely to eat at home while high-incomeearners eat from expensive restaurants. Food availability alsovalidates individual’s food habits. Individuals eat what they canquickly access, as available food is more inexpensive when comparedto rare foods. In addition, food in season is usually cheaper hence,influencing a seasonal food culture and behavior.
Cultureand ethnic diversity determines what foods people eat, when and howthe foods are prepared. California is an ethnically diverse region.More than 25% of individuals from Middle East live in California.Among the 25%, 56% are Arabs (Kittler et al, 2012). Thus, it iscommon to find food types from the Middle East being consumed inCalifornia. Traditions, attitudes and ideals are amid the majorfactors controlling food partiality, method of food preparation, aswell as nutritional status. Cultural behaviors though have been notedto alter, for instance when people move to another nation and take onthe food behaviors of the local ethnicity. Due to the ethnicity inCalifornia, there are numerous food types shared amid the locals andArabs that have settled in the area. Both cultures have exchanged thefood types, which they consume.
Physicalaspects like access, edification, time and expertise are influential.Accessibility to places where food can be purchased influences foodselection. People are more likely to consume the type of food theycan get easily. Persons that are educated, as well as well informedon healthy eating are more probable to prefer healthy dietalternatives. However, it relies on if the person is capable ofapplying their knowhow. Educating the population calls for preciseand constant messages on the relevance of eating healthy foods,techniques of preparation and most appropriate time to eat (Kittleret al, 2012). For instance, eradication on manners of enhancing fruitand vegetable consumption in an inexpensive manner, ensuring thatlesser spending is incurred, might be relevant in influencing foodselections. Additionally, an absence of knowhow and the failure ofcooking expertise may also impede purchasing and preparing meals frombasic ingredients. Time limitations will avert persons from choosinghealthy foods, specifically amid the young and those that stay ontheir own who opt for convenient foods. Demands for convenient foodshave been enabled through the availability of ready-to-cook meals, aswell as pre-packed fruits.
Psychologicalaspects may alter the types of food consumed and food culture. Theseinclude stress and mood. Stress causes alteration in human conducts,which impacts health. The influence of stress in choices of food isintricate and individualistic (Kittler et al, 2012). Some individualseat more food, as well as make damaging food selections whereasothers eat lesser food. It is supposed that stress inducedalterations might be as a result of alterations in motivation like,minimal concern over controlling weight, loss of appetite,alterations in eating opportunities, food accessibility and preparingfoods. Food can alter a person’s temper and mood impacts foodselection. There are instances when individuals report having foodcravings, specifically amid females through the premenstrual stage.Thus, food cultures during the period alter to consumption of morefood. A person accustomed to consuming lesser and healthy diets mayfind themselves eating unhealthy and more food.
Thelevel of hunger, craving and food taste determines the kinds of foodpeople will consume and amount. It also influences the adoption ofadvent food cultures. For instance, individuals might change theirfood types and begin consuming food that they deem to be morenutritious. People require vigor and nutrients to live and will reactto hunger feelings. Dissimilar macronutrients have dissimilar impactson satiety (Kittler et al, 2012). For instance, food-containing fatis less satiating when compared to proteins and carbohydrates. Hungrypersons will tend to consume food that has more satiety. Tastinessenhances as the gratification a person feels from consuming aspecific food type enhances. Taste, appearance and smell and veryinfluential in determining what people are more likely to consume.For instance, sweet foods have a greater sensory appeal, as well astaste implying that the food might be eaten for pleasure instead ofas an energy and nutrient source. The more the tastiness in food, themore people consume.
Religioncan restrict or encourage food behaviors and culture. Religionsinstill different believes in their followers. They also acts as aform of counsel on informing what is right and wrong thus, there arecommon eating habits between people of the same religion. Individualsmight also associate religion to the way they prepare foods.Christianity is less restrictive when compared to otherspiritualities (Sharmila, 2005). Christians are permitted to consumedifferent food types, as well as employ diverse methods in cooking.Contrary, Islam prohibits the consumption of pork. In addition,Muslims cannot consume meat, which has been butchered withoututtering God’s name. Such restrictions may prohibit Muslimsselection of lean meat. Muslims are also disallowed from taking foodsthat have alcoholic flavors through Ramadan, which is a spiritualcommitment. Kosher dietary rules regarding choosing, preparing andconsuming food progress to be influential amid the Jews. Jewish rulesof kashrut stipulate what foods are non-kosher and those that are(Sharmila, 2005).
Socialinfluences affect behaviors and cultures. The same applies to food,as every culture has their socially accepted food types. Everyculture also differs in the manners they employ during foodpreparation. Persons from the similar social group rely on oneanother, share a similar culture and influence one another’sconduct and principles. An individual’s attachment in specificpeer, employment or societal organizations influence food conducts(Shepherd, 1999). For instance, a young individual attending afootball game might consume dissimilar food from what they areaccustomed to eating. An individual may also be compelled to consumefood during celebrations, like a cake prepared by friends during abirthday, even when they feel full.
Thekinds of foods, techniques employed in preparing the foods andrationale for consuming different food types all refer to foodhabits, which are all linked to food culture. There exist many foodtypes, each associated to a specific tradition or country of origin.For instance, people living around regions with large water bodiesare more probable to consume seafoods. There are numerous aspects,which control food behaviors and traditions. They range from social,climatic, economic, physical, religions and even psychologicalaspects.
Kittler,P. G., Sucher, K., & Nahikian-Nelms, M. (2012). Food andculture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Sharmila,C. (2005). Health and Dietary Issues Affecting Eastern Europeans andMiddle Easterners. California Food Guide, 1-9.
ShepherdR. (1999). Social determinants of food choice. Proceedings of theNutrition Society, 58: 807-812.