Age acts as one of the greatest determinants of ones dietary domain Scribner (45). It’s a factor that is felt right from birth till death robs one his life. At birth, a child’s dietary domain is greatly limited due to the fact that the infant’s digestive system is not fully developed and the child is therefore only capable of digesting limited light foods mostly liquid in nature. As growth continues in the progressing ages, the individual in the middle ages is almost capable of taking all that is around him as the digestive system is most efficient at this point. The elderly are also highly challenged as their system is worn out and far much tired to perfume some digestion. They also face great limitations in their dietary domain.
Religion comes in also as a vital factor in influencing the dietary domain of an individual though it is faced by a major challenge of those members who do not strictly adhere to the church doctrines. Anderson (66) The Catholics for instance are not allowed to take meat on Friday’s during the Lent period. The Muslims are also restricted from taking pork due to the beliefs attached to it. Religion therefore greatly influences the food taken by an individual.
The status of the individual in regard to the economy also acts as a great force in determining the type food taken by the person as not all foods are cheaply availed to the consumer. This eventually leads to the individual using a definite type of domain that is usually directly in proportion to his levels of income. Heine (33)This determinant is not fixed and an individual may find himself in many domains within a short period because the levels of income keep on varying and in some cases, it may even totally deny someone any position in any of the domains.
The health status of an individual may in a great way determine his dietary domain. Esterick (65) Ones health status may either restrict them from consuming a certain food or may also demand of them to take a food. For instance, someone from the surgery is forced to take a lot of fluids along his meals or even consume lots of fruits and proteins for efficient and fastest recovery from the state. On the other hand too, allergies totally restrict people from certain foods like the vegetarians who only take greens and leave out totally all meats.
Hinduism really appreciates food in the human life and it is not just viewed as a nutrients source but as part of their God. Anderson (87)This makes Hinduism consider violation of any food sources, living things, for consumption purposes a misinformed act that results into devastating effects that must finally be faced by the very man who carried out the action against his fellow living being. It is due to this basic reason that makes Hinduism a unique religion that champions for the consumption of green products though it is not a restriction but just a feeding guideline. Being considered a mother in Islam, the cow is a special creature whose dignity is an unquestionable thing in Hinduism and this explains why the consumption of beef is totally forbidden. Though forbidden, pork still receives some recognition as food in some Hindus since it is not totally forbidden though highly discouraged. In summary Hinduism encourages the consumption of vegetables alone and abstinence from the consumption of all sorts of meat as they are all related to God’s 0body? Animal products though like the milk and yoghurt are considered to be pure and are therefore recommended for the believers as a sign of their purity. This aspect has greatly affected the Hindus and their neighbors as they are mostly involved in the production of farm crops and tend to ignore investing in livestock.
Christianity Scribner (79) forms our next religion that has its own controversies with the food that is eaten. Christianity viewed food as a source of God’s blessings unlike the Hinduism that looked at it as a part of God. In fact, the Holy Bible cites that as a way of appreciation to God for anything, the best food products were used. This was the greatest blessing that the Christians could use to show gratitude to their God. Unlike Hinduism, Christianity lacks the general foods that sweep across the whole religion as being prohibited. We have the prohibitions varying in accordance to the church. For instance, the SDA Church highly discourages consumption of both coffee and tea. The Catholic on the other hand prohibits the consumption of meat during the Lent period and on Good Friday. Though it is being faced out by erosion due to time lapse, the SDA followers view the two cited beverages as drugs and are therefore not used at all in the regions where the church reigns. This creates a lot of demand for the cocoa products around these regions.
Judaism that is believed in and followed by the Jews is a religion that originates far much before the coming of Christ. To them too, just like the Christians, food is regarded as a blessing and is therefore accorded high treatment in terms of respect during and after its preparation. Most of the prohibitions in Judaism are as a result of the fact that food should be prepared in the Judaism way HEINE (99). For instance, of all the animals that can be eaten which include all the animals with an exception of all birds and mammals, blood must be totally broiled out of the animal before it is served for consumption. For the forbidden animals, their flesh, eggs milk and organs should not be taken at all. Grapes products that are not prepared by the Jews must not be taken as they do not address the required Judaism standards. Finally but most interesting is the fact that plates that have been used for he purposes of meat products should not again be used to serve the dairy products.
Islam finally forms the last category of the religious groups have that have major impacts on the feeding habits of their followers. Anderson (98) In Islam, food is also very highly regarded as a blessing and the followers are even provided with the right quantities that should be taken for the maintenance of an upright backbone. Though limited in terms of the restrictions that we have, Islam highly disregards the consumption of pork. Ramadhan that defines their fasting season seriously interferes with their feeding schedules as they now only eat during allocated hours and feed on the allocated foods to be taken at those times. This has impacted on the nature of orderliness when it comes to the Muslims feeding habits as one does not eat at any time but is used to the schedule that guides the feeding patterns.
Though diet practices existed from time in memorial, they have been greatly faced with changes due to the ever changing world trends that change a lot along with it. The weight guidelines Scribner (102) that the current American is using are emphasizing more on the merits of physical activities as a way of achieving weight maintaining that now emphasizes on a healthy weight and highly discourages weight gain as one progress in age. Grain products, the vegetables and fruits are receiving more acceptance than before and they are forming a major category the diet taken today. A clear guidance on the usage of fats and oils for differing ages is also well taken care of today and not left at the hands of coincidence to decide on the quantity used. Sugar is also gaining a different point of view as a source of calorie unlike the olden days when it was highly viewed in regard to its side effects. Moderate alcohol intake is vital in reducing the chances of heart diseases in some people thus giving alcohol a whole new dimension as a useful product. All these factors have had a general improvement on the health status of the vast majority of the Americans as they are now taking higher nutrition leveled foods. Several factors have also been put in place to see to it that Americans get the best nutrition from their foods and these plans are inclusive of:
Nutrition education so as more people as possible become conscious about the foods that they take and ways of reaping the maximum nutrients out of them.
Food guide pyramids which will greatly create ease to the consumers as he will just be following the schedule whose end product is a highly healthy body.
Nutrition labeling of the foods so that one is able to go shop for exactly the appropriate
Nutrients as he will just be obligated to reading so as to get the right quality.
In the Northeast, the corn, beans and the pumpkin were greatly used by the then farmers who were by large extent subsistence farmers. Independently by themselves, the three crops provided a great source of a balanced and highly nutritious meal. The three foods are still a major asset in the world today as we are aware the corn is used in milling firms to produce flour while the beans are still used in their natural form today or are manufactured into better forms of more nutritional value.
The colonialists there being people who majored on leisure brought about beer production in the Northeast. This was enabled by the molasses that they brought and beer later came to be a commodity of high importance in the economy and also in the diet.
The sweet potato was the indigenous food in Midwest America. It was a food of great value to the farmer as it used to resist drought. It is still a great draught resistant crop that is highly used for various purposes in the world today like making of crisps.
Maize was brought in the Midwest by the colonialists. This was a very important product as the farmers could now substitute their sweet potatoes to the maize. It also features greatly today in the world’s food market as it is used in the milling firms to produce flour.
Heine, Peter. Food Culture around the World Series. New York: Greenwood Press, 2004
Esterik, Penny. Food and Culture. New York: Greenwood Press, 2008.
Anderson, E. Understanding Food and Culture. New York: NYU Press, 2005.
Scribner, Charles. Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Boston: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002.