Everyone eats as the body needs fuel to carry out its daily tasks, but as humans have evolved so too has their relationship with food, revealing deeper significance than sustained energy. The development of diet and food relations can be examined throughout a person’s life, looking at social and psychological effects stemming from infancy to wherever they’ve found themself today. 

As infants, milk is given as the body’s first form of fuel as we all know infancy is a critical time during human development where the only external support comes from feeding and physical nourishment which oftentimes means the same thing. Feeding a baby as often as possible ensures they have all the nutrients needed for strength which encourages their advancement and development. It is here where psycho-social food definitions originate. 

A fed baby equals a healthy baby as food is correlated to health. 

A well-fed baby indicates provision and support

An excessively fed baby reveals a household of excess

Moving beyond infancy a human’s perception of food widens as they are now faced with societal influences. Not all relationships with food stem from society, commonly they are generally anchored in true personal needs. However, this is where the differences in diet come from still correlating food and wellness. The why we eat explains how we feel. The when we eat explains why we eat and the what we eat explains who we are. 

What you eat, and the quality of food you eat tends to shed light on your social status and in turn your finances or at most your priorities. An excessively fed baby reveals a household of excess. Thinking back to your meals of the past week do you recall fresh produce or provisions, were the price tags concerning, how often did you eat by choice, not considering the meals you skipped by choice which is oftentimes not an option for a destitute household. While your meals of choice may indicate where you are on the social ladder they can also symbolise where you’d like to be on the social ladder. 

The when we eat explains why we eat which can be undertaken as a broad point. Following with an understanding of the blessing that is the choice to skip meals highlights the importance of food security and the threat of food insecurity pointing to social and national issues. When we eat and why we eat run deeply into personal territory showcasing culture, religion, and mental health. April, an important month on the Christian calendar sees households in Jamaica switching to pescatarianism. The Jewish community has their religious celebrations supported by food and so do many more religions. Along with active religious celebrations and practices like communion or fasting a person’s religious background is further exposed in everyday food choices. Devout Rastafarians abstain from pork while Hindus avoid beef. A religious person’s meal choices tend to echo who they are. Meal choices may also describe mental health.

Eating disorders are vast and deeply unique to the individual which manifests such a relationship with food out of a need to control when and what to eat. It is seen as a prescribed amount of food needed to reach the desired goal, whether in excess or a lack thereof. There are extreme cases where an individual may exhibit physical signs of an unhealthy food relationship and times where there are no physical traces with a large number of individuals hiding behind their plates unaware of an existing psychological understanding of why they eat the way they do. A well-fed baby indicates provision and support and if at any point you are not provided for it is reflected in your meal.

The threats, dangers, and misconceptions of mental health are that it is understood to be a destructive illness stemming from a grand root cause when in actuality it is slow and gradual as aging itself. Mental health should be cared for every day and regularly worked on and strengthened like physical health. Skipping one meal or adding one meal daily will eventually affect you physically as could your eating habits affect you mentally. If you can identify and connect your eating habit to a personality trait such as being a picky eater reflecting a person’s cautious nature then it will lead you to better maneuver situations beyond those food-related by identifying the psychological trait being represented in such eating habits. Skipping a meal here or there might not seem like it will affect you mentally but maybe in the long run. What other food habits are defining you?

It is understood that mental health and physical health can be supported by nutritional health where why we eat explains how we feel. A fed baby equals a healthy baby so food is correlated to health. It’s looking at the quality of food and the quality of fuel needed for our bodies to support our lifestyles. Humans continue to develop and grow well past infancy and continue to grow every day of their lives. What you put in your body matters as it leads to tremendous benefits for your body. Between males and females, age groups, and ethnicities a healthy meal can mean a variety of things. Eating and anything to do with your body is completely custom and unique to you and your goals in life. Health and fitness are supported by nutrition. Beauty is supported by nutrition. Growth and development are supported by nutrition. Age and sexuality are supported by nutrition and are all wrapped up and nurtured by your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s not just about the quantity of food but the quality of food in looking at the details that surround you, and your food. 

What your current eating habits reveal matters less as the goal is to cultivate a healthy relationship with food and nutrition that will support you through the varying stages of your life. Diets are not a blanket term disguised as an aid for nutritional or physical health, they are extremely unique to the consumer’s body. Mentally move beyond eating as merely eating and look at how it can be helping to support you mentally and physically in the way it did at the beginning of life. Nutrition and food safety are integral parts of health and wellness which lead to an elevated lifestyle. Good foods and bad foods do exist but only according to the body which is consuming them as are allergies that are gravely specific to the individual. Day by day look at your meal choices or the lack thereof and note their effects to identify which foods are good for you and which aren’t. Defining food is about understanding food by understanding what they do to you with the ultimate aim being to build a healthy and reliable relationship with food supported by its nutritional value. 

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