chapter  3
11 Pages

Food, eating, health and disease

Today, especially in post-industrial countries, most people are able to choose what they eat and how much they eat. It was not always so, however. Since earliest times humans have had a strong instinct for survival, which included a driving force to seek out edible plants and animals. Habitual patterns of consumption were determined by availability. It varied enormously with the seasons, and included periods of semi-starvation. People originally had to be nomadic (hunters) but later learned how to save food, and to plan for the future, which allowed settling into a farming (agrarian) lifestyle. Most agrarian humans stabilized their food supply by breeding animals and by cultivating those crops that proved to be useful sources of food, obviating the need for nomadism, and permitting social development.