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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Not Just Food For All!

In the past week, a few things I did and said got me thinking.

Firstly, I cooked meals for a youth hostel and for a family in need. I made a point of thinking carefully about the recipients of my meal and shopped, prepared, cooked, and delivered the food, accordingly. I didn't just make something that was cheap and filling. In fact, I spent much more on these meals than I usually do to feed my picky family.

Then, someone posted on Twitter that at his workplace, a meal was offered and shared by bosses and colleagues, respectively. I found myself 'tweeting' back that I had hoped the meal was of high quality (nutritionally) as Maslow was no fool. This thought just popped into my head, and in true Twitter free form, I almost reflexively, quickly, posted the comment.

Remember Maslow?! You know, the 'hierarchy of needs' guy? The 'how can we self-actualize' without first things first? Food is one of those firsts. But, to me, all food for all, is not the point. To me, high-quality, nutritious food is a basic human need and right. This is contrary to what some of my colleagues think (especially those in the food industry)that any and all food is fine, especially when we are talking about feeding the poor and the masses. Ergo, we find the preposterous and scandalous, IMO, situation of peddling soft drinks and fast foods and junk foods, in poorer neighborhoods and countries. 'They' say -- 'well, it's better to get them cheap kcalories and nutrients than none at all!'. I say, 'rubbish'! In the end, this results in populations in these places getting mostly kcalories and fat and sugar and sodium and not too much of anything else. And we 'experts' know it!!! To encourage the palates of the kids in poor neighborhoods and nations to be exposed and constantly reinfoced to the point that they 'prefer' high-sugar, high-fat, high-sodium, high-starch foods and probably seek them for the rest of their lives, even if they emerge out of their lower SES, is appalling.

I shall say it again: High quality food is a basic need and human right. I know Maslow didn't specify this, but that's what he meant. You and I both know it!!!

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