Losing our brains with disruptive technologies (VII): We are what we eat.
Welcome to our saga, we are currently sailing over the third week of publications. Today we start the Eat-Drink activities influenced by our technologies.
Momentarily´s efforts are going to be surprising. Actually, every publication will try to cut the direction from its predecessor. Why? Because corporate strategy is an art, and this blog is a bits and pieces map for you to discover.
Believe me that we tried to make this a delicious post. It is all about food and beverages. But we have not been able to free the unpleasant-tasting for those who believe that the global food system is working fine and the utilization of technologies is the solution to our food security problems. New technologies that are not designed to target the real causes of problems can´t do anything. Those are just a loss of resources. Before planning to deploy new food tech, it is important to prioritize the issues with our food security global system.
Thanks to God the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has generated a CEO Guide to Food System Transformation. Such a call is extremely positive because it recognizes the big issue in relation to our food: it requires a global system transformation from its roots. Please read the document here: CEO Global call for the Food System Transformation.
We will keep our post short but deeply nutritive for our brain awareness campaign. after reading this post you will understand why the WBCSD has written the document.
We will start with the strategic reflection from (1) the point of view of “what we consume”, and the technologies conceived to edit what we ingest (food and beverages); (2) from the perspective of “how do we process our nourishment” from the farming to our plate (food collection, processing, packaging, delivery, and at-home preparation); and (3) from the point of view of the new technologies which have emerged to modify our “inside the mouth” activities. Such actions as tasting, chewing, swallowing and/or guzzling.
What we consume may not be as healthy as you think. And that is a big issue. During the last century, a lot of technologies have been applied to food science. Scientists have modified the quality and quantity of our food production, moreover, they have invented new hybrids with the purpose to produce more and more and feed the world (Genetically Modified Organisms). Constantly decade by decade, the food value chain has been modified by our technologies. Farmers of animal and vegetable sources have adopted blindly the innovations.
What does our body (particularly our brain) need to function perfectly?. Our physical structure needs specific nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, not just with the best organic quality, but also in a balanced scheduled quantity, per day. Let´s ask ourselves: Are we eating the right non contaminated and safe food and water supply every day? Are we eating the minimum and proportionately accurate mix of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals for our specific type of organism? Is the calorie energy system, as we know it today, the most appropriate to use? Are people aware of understanding that “we are what we eat”?
A food guide pyramid is a planning tool (designed by the USDA) which offers a sense of what to eat employing a number of daily servings. Furthermore, The nutritional information attached to each label and package has been designed as a guide for consumers to understand what do we eat in terms of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, vitamins, and proteins. I have always believed this food pyramid is wrong (too many carbs and starches), but that is just my personal opinion. Let´s continue. Nevertheless, the USA has been a pioneer of this calorie counting system, that doesn´t help us to discern if we are eating clean food, neither stops the health risks associated with pesticides, artificial hormones, synthetic fertilizers and other chemical byproducts utilized in farming and food processing before we buy them.
In addition, we eat with imbalanced specifications. Our rushing lifestyle has promoted a culture of buying frozen, processed and fast food (which is not usually good for our diet intake). In consequence, despite the new technologies on farming, food processing, packaging, and cooking; instead of being healthier, many diseases such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart strokes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, type II diabetes are attacking our health, and can often kill us before our old age. And we don´t need data to realize it. Just visit any public hospital on earth, and ask the statistics about the increased numbers of patients with metabolic syndrome. Our bodies are unbalanced today more than ever before. And the cure to this syndrome is simple; an eating balanced diet that reestablishes our hormonal harmony. What we also need to understand is that the diet of one person is not only to control portion sizes, but every single person needs its specific mix of nutrients diet, regardless of the economic condition of his or her household.
The World Economic Forum has affirmed: more than 672 million adults in the world, or one in eight, are now obese (data from the 2018 edition of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s report “State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World”). While the problem is most significant in North America, according to the report, it is worrying that Africa, South America, and Asia are also experiencing an upward trend. Meanwhile, the number of undernourished people in the world is also increasing, to 821 million by undernourishment and food insecurity. Populations are simultaneously facing rising of obesity and rising of undernutrition. The WEF also reports that without a food transformation system, the number of overweight and obese people would reach 3.28 billion by 2030, or about one-third of the projected total world population for that year.
A sense for sensibility past journey to key food technologies. One of the most relevant advancements in the food industry was the discovery of fire. Yes! Believe it or not, the fire was used since the paleolithic times to cook our food in clay or metal vessels that could contain the liquids and solids to stew, make soups, pickle and brine foods and control fermentation. In terms of cooking, the introduction of the cast-iron stove during the 1800s was the most important progression before the first industrial revolution. It was first operated with wood, then coal-burning, gas and finally electric. Previously, people cooked and baked on clay kitchens, directly using fire from wood for thousands of years, food was preserved by sun-drying, salting, smoking, pickling, sugar-curing or fermenting. But just 150 years ago, the introduction of foods stored in sterilized glass jars known as “canning foods” (by Francois Appert), appeared in the scene. The first mechanical refrigerator was developed by the mid-1800s. And during the last century, freeze-drying, vacuum packing, and irradiation became common preservation techniques. Storage and transportation technologies arose with the steam-powered ships and railroads. The temperature-controlled cargo ships, trains, trucks, and airplanes have all been used as part of an integrated food value chain network.
Despite all the newest technological developments, and more recently the usage of the internet and mobile applications to food delivery companies, we are still concerned not just about food safety, but also about the purity of content of our food and water. By eating contaminated food, we are killing ourselves slowly.
Safety and sanitation. Many technologies have emerged to help to keep our food safe before our ingestion. Which means that these technologies have been used to prevent bacterial, parasites, viruses and fungi intoxications and infections. The most potentially hazardous foods include those high in protein such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and daily products. The correct use of temperature and its associated gadgets have emerged for our food safety. Nevertheless, many dangers associated with food poisoning still exist in our kitchens. Even if we take measures to clean (remove visible dirt and soil), sanitize (reduce pathogenic organisms to safe levels) or sterilize to destroy all living microorganisms), there are associated risks to residual chemicals from the farming and processing contamination: chemicals such as antibiotics, fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and hormones. Another type of contamination occurs when metals or plastics such as lead, mercury, copper, zinc, and antimony (metallic elements) are dispersed in our food and water.
Insufficient tech gadgets are on sale for final-comsumers (all of us) to determine the level of contamination of our food before our ingestion. What we eat and drink may be contaminated, in many ways, beyond the agricultural effects associated with farming genetic pollution or dirt. The issues of poisoned nutrients and water may be standing in our own kitchen, food service, and restaurants, with the inappropriate quality knowledge of the raw inputs we buy, and with the lack of technologies that can help us to know the level of purity of our ingredients before we swallow them. I would rather request more technologies invented to help us to determine the level of safety of our food, than robotics for manufacturing.
On my next publication, we will proceed with a strategic reflection of the second subject, tech applied to the processing of our food-drinks nourishment? and (3) the technologies emerged to modify our “inner” actions of tasting, chewing, swallowing and/or guzzling.
Stay tuned, please. We will return back the end of the week. Thank you for reading to me.
Sources of reference utilized to write this article:
To be shared by the end of the next publication.
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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