My parents were out of town. I was all excited to cook for myself and went to the supermarket to get some stuff and make it exciting. For the first-ever time, our kitchen saw the presence of frozen food. I got one of those frozen things that will turn into fries and supposedly make me happy.
There is this beautiful Indian culture that always makes me happy to look at. It is this thing where you have a place outside your house, on sort of a stone, you dispose off the vegetable peels and the residual kitchen waste. Within no time either a dog or a cow feeds on it. You could put this how many ever times, there will always be a hungry one around that will finish the food.
After over a year of getting the frozen food packet, I opened it only to realize that it had expired and my mom was reluctant to fry it and turn it into happiness. So I just gently placed it on the stone hoping for a crow or a dog to hog it away.
The next morning, while I was doing my walk in the balcony, I noticed that those fries weren’t even touched. I noticed again in the evening that it was still untouched.
Over 60% of American food consumption is filled with processed food. We know how well the culture there transcends here. In India, the processed food industry is largely dominated by Ready To Eat segment, which contributes to major sales of the packages sales in India. Although the entire industry is export-oriented, domestic consumption is still a good number. India is also a solid importer of processed foods from the U.S. totalling US$171.1 million in 2017, up 26% and also a new record high.
What does this essential mean as a lifestyle? More people getting to busier jobs and lifestyle, more solutions to make food quicker and wanting to have it on the go. At this point let me transport you to the econ class of my 2nd semester. We were having a discussion on poverty. One of the factors adding to poverty is a person’s food consumption. While the international basis of calculation is calorie based, here is a dilemma I had as an Indian. We have been used to nutrition-based food from ever since we remember the concept of eating. You could be breaking a roti or indulging in rice, we’ve always known to have a balanced wholesome meal covering most nutrients that our body needs.
Let us connect some dots now. If we are moving towards a lifestyle with barely anytime to cook for ourselves, forgetting what nutrients mean and only counting our calorie component, we may be poor and not even know it yet.
It doesn’t end there. This would also mean that most of our bins are filled with the plastic packaging that our processed foods come with. The aggregated disposal system is not good in all cities. It is very easy to spot waste disposal here and there on roads. So now, when our dear cows are reared and left outside to graze, they are straight out eating plastic. As much as we have the purest intentions of supporting a local milk vendor whose cows we have seen, what we don’t realize is how they eat out of our garbage that is filled with plastics, synthesized food and food that merely represents calories.
The question now I have to ask all of you is, if our food is producing waste that even our animals can’t eat, how, as humans can we eat that food and stay healthy?