As a Marine, I never felt compelled to adjust my diet other than to ensure I was providing my body with enough calories to sustain training and other activities. The options for food were consistent with what I had eaten growing up. When I was stationed in 29 Palms, CA, one of the units attached to my platoon was a foreign force; The Royal Mountain Marines from Great Britain. I became friends with one Royal Marine, Brian Stokes. When Stokes first arrived, he regularly chose chicken as his source of protein during lunch and dinner. Gradually, Stokes began to choose beef, probably because the vast majority of Marines in his new unit used beef as a staple. Brian Stokes had access to beef his entire life but it was socially normal in his family to choose chicken or another alternative over beef, 10 to 1. The new social norms included a significantly higher proportion of beef and Stokes’ diet gradually changed as a result. After a few months, he was eating beef every day after living his entire life eating beef less than once per week.
The food choice described above has several societal issues attached. Though the social norms were formed without consideration of the ramifications of the choice, those ramifications existed regardless. The first way the social norms impacted society was the expense in getting the beef to our tables. 29 Palms sits in the Mojave Desert, far away from where the beef was grown and delivered from. The cost to keep our unit sufficiently supplied meant raising cattle and all of the resources devoted to that endeavour, as well as shipping the beef many miles to our base. Another impact the social norms and food choices made on society included fostering a less diverse agricultural operation. The farms that supplied our beef were influenced to grow crops for the paramount goal of feeding livestock. This lack of diversity undoubtedly caused the land to be less stable and required the use of nitrogen fertilizer to maintain production regardless of the environmental conditions in a given season.
There’s quite a disparity in public school food offerings regarding what the pyramid “plan” calls for and what is actually served. From personal experience in different states, the food being served was essentially mono/staple crop derived food in general. Corn, potatoes, wheat and chicken were quite often what was served the most frequently as these calories were affordable and filling. Likewise, a constant side item was fried salted potatoes whether in the form of French fires, tater tots, sweet potato fries (students would pick up a mixed plate and only eat the regular potato fries so this was a failure), baked potatoes or chips. Though numerous students may have different diets or preferences for eating, the limited variety of food often meant that in the end students would become accustomed to food that was either fried, salted, sweet or plain (in the context of lack of flavorful herbs or supplements to meals). One drawback of the public education system is that food offerings are often dictated by budget rather than what’s best for the child nutritionally speaking.
Being raised in the public school system can be negative for children’s dietary habit as one has an almost daily routine of consuming food groups that aren’t balanced. The way the current food system is structured favors low variety of food as it is cheaper to produce a few crops in great quantities. Not only is this food practice harmful as it eventually reduces the yield stability of the soil but also doesn’t take into account the external cost of shipping the food long distances. Chemical pollution from the transportation methods, increased fossil fuel use, energy spent keeping food frozen or refrigerated, potential of spreading bacteria farther (becomes harder to pinpoint origin and quarantine) are just several large-scale collective problems from such practices. Once kids leave the educational system this dietary habit becomes very hard to change. The social norm should be a locavor culture that emphasizes seasonal foods with typical “American foods” being offered less frequently.
Social norms play a very important role in the types and quantities of food that people consume in different places and different cultures. In America, it is easy to observe the social norm of eating a high amount of beef, which is also mentioned often in the article. This differs from social norms in other parts of the world, such as India. I have a friend that was born in India and is vegetarian. She has never ate meat because that is just the way she and her entire family has been raised. She has explained to me that this is the social norm in India, largely due to their cultures and religions. Indian people tend to eat a very small amount of all types of meat, with beef being a very uncommon food and even highly frowned upon in their society. Because my friend has been raised in this way and is used to these food choices, she has no desire to eat meat and will likely always be a vegetarian.
Since the production and consumption of meat and especially beef has been shown to have such negative impacts on the environment and sometimes human health such as obesity, my friend’s food choices and the Indian social norm of consuming little meat seems to be a far superior type of consumption than the social norms we have in America to prevent obesity and certain environmental issues. Since the population of India is so high, having a social norm of high meat consumption like we have in America would likely be detrimental to their country, the environment, and their population’s health. Although this norm seems to be a better norm than here in America, India still has many societal issues that need improvement such as hunger. India has a large population of very poor people who are often malnourished. I believe India should continue their trend of consuming small amounts of meat, but they need to find a way to make this food more affordable and allow their poorer population to be properly fed.
My system diagram looks fairly complex, but it shows both the positive impacts of India’s food social norms, and the negative impacts of India’s high population. To simplify the diagram and make it easier understood, positive relationships are shown with the blue arrows, and negative relationships are shown with red arrows. It illustrates how their social norms improve their environmental impacts and are healthier for the people, yet their high population still hurts the environment and causes hungry people due to a lack of accessible food.
There was one point in my life where my diet was influenced by a social norm. Many of my peers tend to eat a lot of fast food on campus and from OrderUp.com. I usually opted to not eat these type of meals because I was used to being in shape and healthy. I ended up hurting my back during the middle of junior year and that drastically changed my eating habits. I went from having a very healthy and active lifestyle to a sedentary one. From this, I grew lazy and began to eat less and less of homecooked meals that I would prep. I began to order a lot of food such as pizza and wings from different shops around State College since it was cheap and easy. This eventually led to me doing this more and more as I fell into a habit of constantly ordering food whenever I would get back from class or from being to lazy to make some of my own food. As can be foretold, I began to pack on the pounds and eventually put on 20 pounds over this time period. This is one instance in my life where I went from my own eating habits to a norm of eating fast food that was cheap and easy to acquire during my time as a Junior at Penn State.
My food choice in the above paragraph was decided from my obesity at the time. The root cause of this was my sedentary lifestyle at play. But in addition to this, I was eating a lot of wings, pizza, and other junk food that was contributing to my weight gain. The norm while at college is to eat almost anything that is placed before you. There are many times at meetings where free pizza is an incentive to go to these meetings. In addition to this, OrderUp plays a huge role in delivering food from pizza and wings shop all across campus. I began to order many meals from the website because it was quicker and easier than going to the store, buying healthier foods, and making it on my own. To combat this, I think that the new social norm that should be in place is advertising healthier alternatives to pizza and wings as well as going out and buying your own food. I believe that if healthier alternatives were to be obtained as easy and as cheap as pizza and wings, obesity could be curbed rather easily.
Originally being from Poland, I thought it was very odd that pierogis were missing from all meals in the United States. Pierogis are a staple in the Polish diet. Contrary to popular belief, not all pierogis include potatoes and cheese. Pierogis were made with whatever food was available. Hence late summer saw a lot of blueberry pierogis on the plate and late fall had my favorite – mushroom pierogis. Social norms dictated that whatever food was available was put into dough and boiled and provided a good amount of the food supplies. This was very different from menu staples in the United States as I was shocked to find out when I moved to the country. Despite having moved, I still sought out pierogis when they were available due to the fact that I grew up eating them regularly.
Pierogis were not only a social norm, but they were a nutritional requirement due to both food availability and food waste. Under Soviet rule, food was scarce. Hence the pierogis stuffed with seasonal foods. Food waste was also a societal issue which is why this was an obvious food choice. Almost any ingredient could be put into the dough. The dough is made from flour, salt, and water, and scraps are reused to make more dough so there is no waste. This is important because it means the food supply lasts longer and feeds more people. In countries, such as the United States, where this problem did not exist, this social norm does not exist. Pierogis are sometimes a nutritionally balanced meal as they usually include some sort of meat or vegetable in them. However, the same large batch is often eaten at every meal over several days so it may cause deficiencies if not enough variation is done. This would not be a problem with American food which is very diverse.
In my family we were raised to hunt and harvest wild game to eat. In society now this is a lost art, one that is not as widely practiced as it once was, because of this not many people are accustomed to eating wild game meat. One of my family’s favorites is wild venson. We serve it at the holiday gathering in the fall. There is always a new girlfriend or fussy Aunt who is incredulous at the idea of eating a wild animal but for us it is nothing shocking or new. For some people the idea of eating anything that isn’t bought from the local grocery store is beyond understanding. For that most people have a hard time understanding hunting for anything other than sport, but there is a rather larger number of people who still actively hunt to bring home meat. To some people our customs may seem different from the normal but in the rural north east united states this is a common family tradition. Some people in society are curious and are willing to step out of their comfort zone and give it a try but there are some who look at us a certain way for what we do but that’s okay.
My family has enforced us to be ethical and law abiding hunters. We follow all the strict laws and regulations that come with the responsibility of the sport. Hunting allows many destructive species, such as white tail deer from over populations that leads to crop loss and destruction on farmland. Some people have argued that wild game is contaminated or not healthy but if they truly understood where the meat that comes from in the grocery store they would reconsider. The meat that is mass produced and stock full of hormones to make it mature faster for slaughter are in no way more healthy then the wild venson that grazes on berries, nuts and forest greens. It seems just because it is different and mainstream society doesn’t understand people who hunt are considered less advanced then those who shop at the grocery store. One forgets all the skill and natural beauty that goes into the hunt as well as the personal relationship with the meat. There is no web of people or industry that the meat passes through it is clean of all outside persons.
I feel like most college students understand this dilemma. College students, who are not known for having a lot of money, eat very poorly on average when they are living away from home. This leads to a diet of Ramen noodles, pizza, and mac n cheese (trust me, I know). I went through this last year during my first semester away from home. Instead of gaining the “Freshman 15,” I kind of lost 15 pounds that semester. I’m not a big kid to begin with so I went from 145 to 130, and then down to 127 later that year. The social norm is that college students, because of being poor, either eat terribly or hardly eat at all. Thankfully I learned that something had to change.
A typical college student’s diet consists of quite a lot of carbs and not a lot of meat or protein. Carbs burn off quickly. With busy schedules it’s a lot easier to heat up pizza or other quick meals that do not have much protein. It is a lot cheaper too. Meat is expensive. I see it in the stores and cringe at the price of 4 dollars for a pound of ground beef. While eating too much and obesity are big problems in America, eating too little and undernourishment is just as big of an issue. Students should focus more on having a proper diet at college, whether they are living in the dorms and eating in dining halls, or living off-campus and having to buy their own food.
My food choice throughout college has always been influenced by social norms. There will be times when I am planning on cooking and eating a meal at home but my friends will invite me out to a restaurant instead. This results in eating food that is generally tastier, but unhealthier compared to something I’d eat at home. My food choice has also been heavily influenced by how cheap food is. I will tend to choose food that is cheaper to save money and this usually results in eating more unhealthy food. It’s not that I don’t like healthy food, it’s that unhealthy food is more readily available and comes at a cheaper price. Fortunately I know how to balance my healthy and unhealthy eating so it is not a big issue for me.
The results of my food choices can lead to obesity in society if other people make the same choices. Having unhealthy food be cheaper and more convenient to buy will lead people to purchase that kind of food more often which can lead to weight gain or other problems if gone unchecked. This diet along with a lack of exercise and not following the food pyramid will lead to obesity. This should not be the societal norm though. The norm should not be to just buy the cheapest foods to save money. That is the norm that I follow and it will not end well if I continue to follow it. The norm should be cheaper and more fresh food that is readily available so people choose that instead of a $1 slice of pizza.
I watch sports on television frequently. The past Super Bowl I had friends over to watch the game and revel in good company. I do not feel good enough about my cooking skills to prepare something for guests, so I chose to order pizza and wings for delivery. The social norm of watching sports and eating delivered “junk” food is common in America, especially among males. When engaged in any television program, one typically devotes their full attention to it. This is exponentially true with sports if a high value is placed on the outcome, as many do with the Super Bowl. Ordering prepared food to be delivered is much quicker and easier than cooking, and allows for minimal distraction from the action on screen.
A visual representation of the connections between individual choices (at the top) and effects.
I found this module interesting, specifically the bit on Factory Farming compared with sustainable communal farming methods. Prior to reading this module I’d given occasional thought to the question ‘where does my food come from?’ but always in passing, and never with a set terminology to define the answer. I wondered while reading how much of the food I have delivered is sourced from local agriculture, if any of it had been genetically modified, and what changes I could make in my food choice that would make me healthier. I do like Pennsylvania. The state’s agriculture industry seems to have a lot of sustainable practices unlike the methods of the Factory Farms. Never have I driven through a state with more livestock grazing open pastures (though that may be because the list of states I’ve driven through is short) than in Pennsylvania. And though I do eat prepared food often, Penn State gives me enough healthy food options that I can balance my diet and have remained at a healthy weight for most of my life. Yet I wonder if the meat I consume here comes from a factory farm or a local livestock source. And who would I ask to find out? How can I support sustainable agricultural practices at a consumption level? A common practice of communities is to bring local growers to a communal hub to sell their goods. So the answer is to cut down on meat and replace it with green foods.
1.A personal example of when I made a food choice that was impacted by social norms was the last time I had to decide if I should make food or go out to eat. I was with a group of friends so the social norm in this case would be going out to a cheap restaurant and enjoying a nice dinner. The other option which was making food for me and my friends would have been the more sustainable food consumption. Buying food from a local market and cooking it would have been better for us and the environment than ordering burgers at The Tavern in State College. We ended up going out for dinner because it was more normal to all of us.
2.Following the social norm in this case caused us to make a poor food choice decision. The beef at the restaurant most likely was not local and neither were the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. This means that there were resources and energy required to transport that food to the restaurant. Also the vegetable not locally grown could have herbicides and pesticides which have a negative impact on one’s health. If we had made our own burgers, we could have purchased all the food locally and significantly decreased our “food footprint”. This social norm of eating out with others instead of inviting them to eat a meal at home is big in many areas and will eventually cause sustainability problems. If the social norm was to invite your friends over and cook for them there would be significantly less of an environmental impact.
The first morning waking up in Barcelona, during my time studying abroad in Europe I went to a restaurant under my apartment complex to get breakfast. Being from America, I have always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and did not think any differently in Europe. Therefore I expected to eat a lot. Arriving at the restaurant, I was forced to choice between a half baguette with some “jamon” or a croissant and nothing else. I opted to eat a croissant with a coffee. The social norm is that Europeans eat a light breakfast as opposed to Americans who usually eat a large “hot breakfast. In Spain this is more apparent because the Spanish generally have snacks (for example a second breakfast) throughout the day, and a big fiesta during lunch time where they stuff their faces and then rest before getting on with the day.
This connects to both malnutrition and obesity. There is a lot of scientific evidence behind skipping breakfast and missing out on important nutrients that lead to malnourishment. Skipping breakfast or eating a light breakfast that is comprised of high sugar, and or fatty foods such as a pastry or a croissant disrupts blood sugar balance and insulin output. This further promotes cravings throughout the day which leads to snacking, overeating, and obesity. Ideally, people should eat a healthy but calorically dense breakfast. Regarding obesity, though eating or skipping a light breakfast promote obesity, I noticed in Europe that there are no where near as many obese people as there are in America. I think this is because of the eating habits Europeans are taught. First off, serving sizes are much smaller, and fast food such as McDonalds is not looked at as a cheap alternative, being priced the same as a meal at a sit-in restaurant.
When I first went to Italy, I had to adjust to how Italians ate their food. They have much less meat consumption as there is in the US. They concentrate a lot on pasta, cheese and vegetables. It was definitely great, but I oftentimes felt I hadn’t fulfilled my usual quota of meat quota. Their food revolves more around the culture of food in which they live in and their own history. I feel this affected me because Italy did not have the same drive the explode the Great Plains we have here in the US, which allowed us to perfect mass livestock production. The food we eat is very much connected as to what resources we have available and how we use that food as well as trends within the population.
While being in Italy, I saw how much they lacked overweight people compared to the US. Their diet is less focused around meat and generally had a healthier diet, they lack an obesity problem. Italy is #44 in obese population compared to the US is #6. Cultural differences driven by history have caused our country to have a higher consumption rate of high calorie foods compared to Italy. I do feel that we do eat too much livestock compared to other more sustainable foods. Though knowing this I probably won’t change my eating habits due to being so accustomed to this diet. I could recognize the cultural differences that immediately came up when I was faced by being in that situation.
When thinking about my food choices and how they have been influenced by social norms I instantly think about the period of time that I spent living in Saratoga Springs, New York. Saratoga is a very wealthy town. So the people living in it want the best of everything; cars, houses, clothes, and of course food. Almost every person that I had encountered was a vegetarian. The foods they ate were all completely organic. There were even several vegetarian restaurants in the downtown. After living here a few months, I too adopted a vegetarian life style. This was mainly because I felt a lot of pressure from the current people in my life and the surrounding community. I too began shopping at whole foods and buying tons of all organic fruits and vegetables.
Living a vegetarian lifestyle definitely helps to overcome the social issue of obesity. By cutting out meat, you are forced to up your intake of fruits and vegetables. Typically, at least from my experience, this results in a much better quality of overall health, including weight loss and/or maintaining a healthy weight Essentially all of the people in Saratoga whom were vegetarians were also very fit and healthy. Another social issue vegetarianism addresses is the cruelty of animals. Vegetarianism helps stop the act of factory farming which has become a major issue in todays society for many environmental reasons and also ethical reasons for its cruelty to animals. Factory farming forces animals to undergo seriously inadequate and cruel conditions such as crammed into small spaces, mutilation, and overdosed with antibiotics.
Choosing food is sometimes not a matter of what is practical or cheapest but rather what is normal of society. When I go to chipotle with my friends, I prefer to get steak in my burrito bowl. I order beef almost all the time when I go to chipotle. I feel like it is part of our social norm to eat out at small restaurants like chipotle rather than make food and eat at home. It is a social norm to go out to eat with friends rather than stay at home and make something. Even more so, eating is more important in society than socialize somewhere without eating. All of this goes to say that I eat at chipotle or somewhere else that has some good beef or steak because it seems to be the thing to do with my friends and family.
Choosing to eat out, specifically regarding chipotle can lead to some societal issues. Chipotle has good quality food but the amount of food they produce is growing even more. The more customers they receive the more beef or chicken the slaughter. This is not a bad thing until we take into account the video on gas emissions from earlier in the module as well as the E-coli outbreak. Since people constantly eat out with friends, the companies need to keep up with the demand which increases the amount of cattle therefore increasing methane production. The second issue is E-coli, which can be much easier spread when coming from a large food chain that receives many customers. It is not a terrible thing to go to a nice restaurant, but always doing so when you are with friends may increase your chances of getting one another sick as well as increasing methane production. My final point is the notion that perhaps eating at home would be a better social norm. If people ate at homes, they would be able to perhaps save energy in making the food as well as making a smaller amount because they do not have somebody making it for them. Lastly, it isolates them from society if there is a sickness going around.
As a college student, you need to find a lunch or dinner cheap and fast. Usually when I go from class to class I have limited time to eat lunch so I usually eat at fast food place. Since I don’t have much time or money, I would go to McDonalds or one of the fast foods places that in the area. Plus, I work at McDonalds so I often get discounted or free food from there. $5 can get you more food such as Big Mac, medium fries and a drink at McDonalds than at a different place where you can just get a salad. By eating out at fast food places than making a healthy choice, leans to eating more industrial foods and less naturally made foods. Which also leads to Obesity.
Obesity just keeps growing in the United States. The reason mostly because of the cost. People say how they want to be healthy and have home cooked meals but in reality it is hard to keep to that choice when 2 cheeseburgers at McDonalds is $2 while a small sub can be $5 or more. Obesity is connected with high calorie crops and sugary foods. which is also connected with industrialized foods. To decrease obesity, healthy foods need to cost less so people can stick to be healthy and not feel like they have to buy fast food or unhealthy choices.
In my personal life, I am very about cooking home cooked meals. I live in an apartment and constantly use my kitchen. I do admit that sometimes I eat unhealthy, or order food, however I would rather buy groceries than order food. I come from a Hispanic family so I cook a lot of what I grew up eating. I make a lot of chicken, rice, and pasta. One of my roommates has a big influence on what I eat because she is older than me and tries to keep me aware of what is good and bad for my body. I also have a poor heart and have had to start eating better and taking care of myself; so I have a lot of influence on what I eat and that has become my social norm. I think my food choice is also very selfish because I’ve started caring about my body so much recently and I find it very important to take care of myself.
Social issues that relate to my food choice deal a lot with the ideas of maintaining good health and also supporting local farmers. With having a heart issue, the food I put into my body has a very large effect on how my heart functions. Maintaining good health should not only be something I do, but something everyone does. It is very important to take care of your body for the sake of your health and to avoid future health issues. Secondly, supporting local farmers is something that my roommate that I talked about in the previous paragraph is very passionate about. She comes from a very small town where all her food was grown. That kind of food is so healthy and farmers work so hard and use a lot of money, but yet don’t make enough. This is why it is so important to support local farmers instead of bigger businesses.
Like everyone else here, my diet as a kid was affected by social norms. My diet was a fairly typical diet for a middle-class kid in America. We ate hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, and a lot of other unhealthy food often propagated by our American culture, so you might think we had a problem with obesity. Nope. We might have taken part in eating greasy or sugar-filled food, but we did it in moderation. My mom cooked us plenty of healthy and nutritious meals, like some tasty grilled chicken or a plate of steamed salmon, but allowed us to treat ourselves on McDonalds or some Chinese food every once in a while. Everyone in my family maintained a healthy physique and a healthy attitude towards food.
In today’s society we have an issue with obesity. A lot of factors play in to the physical condition of obesity, but by far the largest factor (as shown by scientific studies) is from putting too many calories into one’s body. Genetics, while having an influence, takes a backseat to the driving force of the pleasure of eating food. When we are young our views and relationship with food is determined by the choices of our parents. If as a child your parents feed you cheap and unhealthy at every opportunity, you’d be far more likely to develop obesity as you age. Social norms plays a large factor in dictating these parents’ actions. Often people believe that a “well fed” (fat) baby is a healthy baby since they will use the excess to grow bigger and stronger, which is woefully incorrect and is damaging to the child’s health and future relationship with food. If more parents taught their children the virtue of moderation, we’d have far less obese individuals in this world.
When I went to high school I came to USA and I lived with my host family. Even if I lived with my host mom and dad, all other members of the host family were vegan. I don’t know when they started to be a vegan, but they didn’t eat any meats, dairy, fishes, eggs and so on. As a part of family and recommendation from host mom, I had to start eat what they are eating because there were no meats, dairy whatever at home. Most of their friends were also vegan. Being a vegan was social norms at that point. I ate organic products, vegetables, and non-dairy products and ate very healthy almost 2 years. As time goes, I spontaneously eat healthier and became similar to host family.
I wasn’t a vegan, but I lived like vegan for 2 years. I came to college and I looked back when I lived with my host family, I was much healthier then now. I hadn’t worked out at all and just eaten what they eat, and I lost almost 20 lbs. Today, many people is struggling with obesity and diabetes, I heard my stories from people who I met that they overcome with those diseases and become healthy. Although I’m still not a vegan person, I think it is important that social norms should be eat healthier because these days many people like to eat fast food and instant food since it is convenient and easy. Not only you become healthy but also we can save livestock and environment.
Today I was walking back home and I became hungry. I was walking downtown and didn’t know what I wanted to eat. I had some very healthy spinach, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken and just all around pretty healthy food. However, I then passed a McDonald’s. Thinking of how long my food was going to take to cook at home and the fact that McDonald’s is so cheap made my decision for me. The social norm here is about fast, food. Nobody has any time. Everyone is in a rush and that is becoming evident in many aspects of a person’s life, but none more so than with food. Getting a Whopper from McDonald’s is easier than having to grill a chicken breast. Also, McDonald’s did not break the bank for me so the idea of fast food restaurants providing the quickness and cheapness than many people want is the social norm I experienced.
Basic nutrition is an important issue and it connects to my food choice because I chose poorly. I could have eaten a salad with spinach, cucumbers, egg and some chicken. Instead I got a Big Mac. Now a Big Mac is made up of a burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and a roll, but Big Mac’s are not good for you. Decisions to eat the cheeseburger instead of a salad leads to obesity. I need to better understand not just what I eat, but the quality of what I eat. Another issue is food waste. When people make the decision to eat fast food instead of healthy food at home, that is how food goes bad. My spinach actually went bed when I could have just eaten it instead of McDonald’s so I wasted money on spinach and ate poorly too.
Food Choice Influenced by Social Norms
I grew up in a household where my dad always cooked our meals for the family. I began the day with making eggs/cereal, packed my own lunch and ended the day with a homemade meal. I never got into fast food and the few times that I ate out at restaurants, we had healthy options. I think that the hardest part about coming to college was the social norm of “convenience eating” whether that be from the dining commons or smaller food stores that sold mostly packaged foods. I struggled to continue eating as healthy as I was used to in my first year at college but quickly learned the helpfulness of making sure I always had healthy snacks in my dorm. I was able to get back to eating fresh (but not necessarily local) food while still being able to eat at the dining commons whenever I needed.
Food Choice Connected to Social Norms
My example above shows a lot about the challenges of “convenience food” that I faced when I first came to college. When people come to school getting used to a schedule can be very difficult and suddenly it’s so much easier to just go to the dining commons or order food from downtown. Generally food choices like this are the not the healthiest and you see things like the “Freshman 15” happen. Even if a student is able to go out and shop for themselves, finding the time for local markets can be tough. Instead, you end up in major supermarkets like Walmart supporting extremely large commercial farms and the farms that are local to the area begin to suffer. The social norms of eating at school can definitely be difficult and a lot of the time it’s due to students beginning to adjust with their new schedules and the lack of time that they have for always cooking (if they are even able to in a dorm) their own food. I think just being introduced to easier ways to buy local/supermarket food and the time to cook and eat it would help things out a lot.
One example that comes to mind when I think of social norms is stopping to get fast food while you are out and about or in the car. It is not the norm to prepare food ahead of time or take the time to cook a healthy meal. People stop at fast food places because it is convenient and they don’t have time/don’t want to cook a meal. Since people frequent fast food places so often, they are limited to very unhealthy meal choices and don’t have a choice as to how the food is processed or packaged. Fast food meals, say from McDonald’s, have a lot of paper and plastic waste from the cups, bags, napkins, containers, etc. The fact that the social norm for people is to stop and eat at fast food places is a problem for the health of people and the safety of our environment.
The societal issues that fast food choice connect to are obesity and environmental impact. Obesity is a growing concern, especially in America, and I believe it to be largely attributed to the fast food industry. Fast food is not a healthy food option, yet people continue to eat it without realizing the effects it has on their body. The other concern with the fast food industry is the amount of waste that is produced from packaging materials. Try and imagine the amount of McDonald’s bags that enter a trash bin every day. This waste has to go somewhere and that has a serious impact on the environment. Rather than eating fast food all the time for matters of convenience, I think the social norm should be to prepare healthy food ahead of time for your day. I understand that is not always a possibility, but packing a lunch or preparing meals in advance needs to be something people do on a daily basis.
One social norm that influenced my food choice would be birthday cake. Typically when someone has a birthday this will mean they will receive a cake. This is very common in most people’s lives. I myself definitely fall under this social norm. I love having cake on my birthday. The social norm birthday cake falls under is food that tastes good but is bad for you. This falls under this norm because ice cream cake and cake made from scratch has too much sugar and doesn’t have a good mix of nutrients the body needs.
One societal issue the birthday cake connects to is obesity. Typically when eating birthday cake we don’t think of how we eat too much at once. I believe that in America we do this too much. I can say that I have done this myself many times. We don’t take into consideration that we are eating too much of food that isn’t nutritious. We also don’t take into consideration that we waste the food we don’t eat. A lot of times when we don’t finish the food we eat we will put it into the fridge to be eaten at another date. But sometimes we tend to forget that we put our uneaten food there and then notice too late after the food goes bad that it is there. Too most American’s this isn’t a big deal. But to millions of people this is major. The food we waste could be given to people who are starving and are unable to obtain food.
I’m honestly not sure if this would be considered a social norm for food choices, but most of my life I grew up sharing the dishes I’ve ordered. To be more specific, growing up in an Asian family, if we went out to eat we would order a bit of everything and everyone just shares. Most of my friends have also started doing this. It allows everyone to try every dish without having to order it themselves and it is a great way to save a bit of money since the bill is just split between everyone. My food choices in this scenario is really broad. It all depends on what everyone orders and I’m not really a picky eater either. Although this type of social norm isn’t seen around the U.S. a lot, in Asia (or any Asian place) this can be seen as quiet the norm.
Honestly speaking, the norm I mentioned above can go a long way to settling some of the societal issues we face with food. For instance, hunger can be “filled” easier this way. By sharing the food and ordering multiple different dishes, there won’t be the feeling of eating too little or eating too much. Another example would be going to a restaurant and being afraid that you wouldn’t be able to finish the dish you ordered. This is also solved by the norm I mentioned. With the help of friends or family, you wouldn’t have to finish the dish yourself and on the plus side you can try other dishes as well. Although this norm is great in a number of ways, I can see how it can turn some people off. For instance, hygiene would probably be a big issue with some people.
I would be a good example of someone whose food choice is explicitly affected by social norms. Islam does not permit consuming pork at all. Also, I was born in Pakistan, which is a Muslim country. Therefore, pork is not sold there and everyone supplies and demands halal (kosher) meat. As a Muslim, I have never eaten pig products, and I also only eat kosher meat. Kosher involves being careful about resource inputs, which would be the food for the cows, goats, chicken; for example, it’s not permissible to feed them chemicals and hormones for economic purposes. They should be treated well without any abuse. In addition, drinking is prohibited in my religion. Since in Pakistan, only halal food is served, no food products can have wine or any other hard drinks. This is an example of social norms affecting my- and millions of other Muslims’- food choice.
Speciesism is a major issue in the economy, as people have tried to lower their costs and maximize their profits when it comes to agriculture and food supply. As I mentioned before, Muslims are required to not only treat their animals with respect, but also only eat food that comes from well-treated, non-abused animals. By providing chemicals and hormones to animals, they are able to maximize the amount of meat that can be sold for a cheaper price. The animals become fatter, cows provide more milk, and chickens provide more eggs, and so on. Unfortunately, this is a not a natural process, which is unethical as well as harmful for the animals. People have boycotted the mistreatment of animals, and some have even became vegetarian or vegan for that exact purpose. An issue is the reliability of Muslim meat providers, and assuring that they follow the ethical practices.
Food and Agriculture
For over seven years now, I have been a vegetarian and a couple of my close friends are flexitarians (a diet that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products). Restaurant or fast food dining is a widely appreciated, and frequently practiced amongst most American families and social groups, it is part of the American culture and a social norm. Therefore the social norm amongst my friends and I, is dining out at restaurants and sampling their vegetarian dishes. Since most of us have diverse ethnicities, eating ethnic food is something we truly enjoy as a group, it’s also a big part our social gatherings, especially given that Washington DC is home to some of the best restaurants. Fast food eateries are frequented by my group as well. My battle with beef began when I was questioning what I was consuming, and that’s when I became a vegetarian. My take-away from Module 6 is that unfortunately, our eating habits as a group is not the ideal food choice. Our food consumption is taste based as opposed to a locally grown, nutritious, sustainable, and-GMO food choice. Given that industrial food production especially of animals does harm to the environment, it’s unlikely that I will enjoy a restaurant meal without understanding where the food is from and how it’s been processed.
Restaurant and fast food dining is a common social norm for different groups and individuals, such as, family entertainment, work meetings, networking events, group celebrations etc. The convenience, taste, variety, effortless availability and media makes eating out, especially fast food very appealing. In addition to the aforementioned pros the fast food industry has a low-cost varieties that allures the masses. Most of restaurant menus are filled with animal based foods items, particularly meat. In addition, eating beef like hamburgers, is large part of the American diet and culture. Regrettably eating meat, particularly beef has serious detriments to the environment and human health. The consumption of beef particularly by the fast food industry has led to factory farming that adversely affects the environment through the greenhouse gases emitted by cattle, deforestation for land needed to produce more feed crop, fossil water depletion, water pollution, and various public health concerns like antibiotic resistance, air pollution, water pollution, infectious disease transmission. Consequently factory farming for beef production is not sustainable. As fast food is the driver for these factory farms, change in the food industry is society’s responsibility. Therefore decreasing the amount of animal products consumed and demand for quality as well as nutritious food is a collective action, which begins with education of what we are ultimately consuming and its impact to the social and ecosystems.
Part of a social norm in my country is eating out. Compared to the States where there’s a lot of food chains and indoor restaurant, many of Malaysia’s food are sold on the streets (night markets and stalls) and open air restaurants. One of our favorite is to go to ‘Mamak’, usually run by immigrants from India or Bangladesh. They’re mostly popular for ‘roti canai’, a dough flipped on air with lots of oil involved (much like tossed pizza) and varieties of curries to enjoy it with. We prefer mamak because they are so cheap, they’re more accessible, and never boring. It has become part of our culture; teenagers go to mamak to hang out after soccer game, families go there to enjoy Indian foods, and blue collar workers go for their quick and cheap lunch. Another trademark of mamak is ‘teh tarik’, a super sweet milk tea.
The societal issue that comes with the introduction of mamak restaurants is the public health issue. These restaurants are usually open-air, close to open roads and in between busy buildings. The foods are also cooked in open kitchen, usually by someone without proper hygienic outfits. Food contamination is a big risk to our health, but still many people choose to eat at mamak rather than eating at home. Not just that, teh tarik and other sweet options at mamak has put Malaysia as the most obese country in Asia. We put sugar and fat on everything! Other than that, if mamak becomes more preferred, less and less households will choose to cook, thus decreasing the nutrinional and social value of a home-cooked meal. I belief we should make it a social norm in Malaysia to start planting vegetables or fruit plants again. That way people are encouraged to cook and eat healthier and at the same time teaching the younger generations to appreciate the work that goes into providing food and nutrition.
After my brother had moved out after college, away from my parents, he became a very strict vegan. In fact, he kind of rubbed off on me and I tried vegetarianism before I came to college and became a twig from it, but now I consume meat and dairy products. When I was a vegetarian, I was faced with many different situations where my dietary restrictions conflicted with American social norms. Whenever I had eaten at restaurants, I always struggled to find something to eat. Usually restaurants did carry vegetarian options, those options were very limited and usually I did not find them appealing. In America, the norm is to have a very meat-centric diet. Wherever you go, the main focus of the meal is the meat. This norm directly conflicts with vegetarianism and makes it difficult to sustain the lifestyle. However, although I am a not a vegetarian now, I feel that the social norms are changing to include vegetarians in the American lifestyle. In restaurants, for example, it is much easier to find a menu that includes many different tasty vegetarian options.
Vegetarianism as a growing social norm, is directly related to many different aspects of the meat industry, and the current social norms that are incredibly meat-centric. One of the reasons I chose vegetarianism is because of the livestock animal treatment. As it is depicted in the Meatrix video, animals are commonly treated very poorly, and with the current meat-centric social norms, the maltreatment of these animals is continuously conducted in factory farms and overlooked by the public. I believe to combat this, Americans need to severely change the way livestock production is allowed to occur in America. There needs to be strict laws that facilitate the maximum happiness for the animals, and the amount of livestock produced should not be of concern. Basically to sustain this, we would need switch from a meat-centric diet to a plant based diet. Additionally, to create a stable sustainable source of protein, I suggest the cultivation of insects as they are one of if the the greatest protein dense sources available for consumption.
There are many social norms that are going around affecting everybody’s choice of food. One social norm that has affected my family is vegetarianism. So many people around me and my family have become vegetarians either because they believe it is a healthier lifestyle than eating mean or because they are against animal cruelty. My mom used to eat meat, but one day she decided to try vegetarianism because she was always extremely against the mistreatment of animals. That was almost 4 years ago and she has not eaten meat since. She was affected by the people around her trying to get everybody to become vegetarians and she adds to the social norm by trying to get people to take over the vegetarian lifestyle.
Vegetarianism can be connected to many societal issues some of them include obesity, deforestation, and nutrition. When people eat too much meat, they tend to be less healthy and most of them become obese. So vegetarians tend to be healthier in the long run. If people eat less meat, there would also be less deforestation because a huge amount of land is currently being used for livestock to graze. If there were less people eating the meat from livestock, there would be no need to expand the land to raise the livestock. It also says in the lesson that since livestock are not as efficient as plants when it comes to the energy transfer, there would need to be more plants eaten by the livestock in order for us to gain enough of the needed energy
My freshman year of college I went to school as a vegetarian, and my food choices were hugely affect by social norms. During college being a vegetarian become a huge challenge. Social norms dictate that you eat meat during, holidays, cookouts, and in everyday life. My choices in the cafeterias were very slim. Also, being a college student I didn’t have enough money or time to cook healthy and be a vegetarian. Sadly I had to change my eating habits because I was becoming very unhealthy. Social norms definitely changed the way I eat today. The social norm in today’s society is to eat meat, and many vegetarian options aren’t offered. People choose food types on what they perceive is the social norm, and sadly I had to become one of these people. Also, being a vegetarian in college made me feel like it odd one out. I didn’t want people to look at me or treat me differently because I didn’t eat meat.
Obesity has become a huge societal issue in our country. A major cause of this is food chains and poor meal choices as I experienced in college. Fast food makes getting food cheap, easy, and fast, which is something Americans value. To get food this cheap and fast we’re sacrificing how healthy the food is. Another major issue is that healthy food is expensive. For a struggling family it’s a lot cheaper to eat off the dollar menu than to prepare a homemade meal. Obesity is a direct result of an unhealthy lifestyle and bad eating habits. However, this issue is very hard to take care of. It’s impossible to have the perfect diet or lifestyle. The social norm of eating meat also causes environmental issues from how much meet we need to produce. People in today’s society idolize people with the perfect figure. I think that there shouldn’t be an ideal body type. The new norm should be for everyone to be happy with who they are, as long as their healthy.
When my girlfriend gains weight, she gets very upset because society tells her she is no longer pretty. Because I do not like my girlfriend hating her body, I influence her to go to the gym and eat healthier. This is a common example of a social norm dictating what someone eats. The common social norm here is that overweight men are considered undesirable by society, and, in the case of women, women that do not have large breasts while simultaneously being so thin that they’re often anorexic, are considered undesirable by society. This social norm leads to avoidance of junk foods and high calorie foods such as potato chips, chocolate, cake, etc. When these foods are not avoided, the social norm causes guilt and similar, negative attitudes.
I feel the origin of this social norm is related to the large number of undernourished people throughout the world while we are simultaneously eating so much food we are becoming obese. This is the nutrition social issue on obesity discussed in this module. The book says 1 billion people are undernourished in the world and there are 500 million obese people in the world. If those obese people were not obese and instead, the food they ate was allocated to the undernourished people of the world, we could potentially solve world hunger. I somewhat disagree with the paragraphs on obesity in this module: I do think the cause of most obesity is overeating. You will not find an obese person in an undernourished part of the world unless they are in the wealthy class that can afford to eat all day. Though other things, like genetics, affect how rapidly someone becomes obese and how hard it is to lose the weight after being obese, I think food eating food is the reason people become obese.
Section 1: Food Choice Influenced by Social Norms
I grew up in an Italian household in the North Ward of Newark, New Jersey. That meant Italian food – lots of pasta, but also sausage, salami, ham and other cured meats. I was not a picky eater, so my food choices were influenced by the social norms of the neighborhood and especially my grandmother, who made sure I sat next to her at the dinner table. These social norms were imported from another culture – Italy – which knew little of, and cared little for, considerations such as effects of industrial farming and the health consequences of diet. I should mention that I am talking about events which took place a long, long time ago. I have recently been speaking to a friend who adheres to different social norms. She is a vegetarian, introduced to that lifestyle in college by her roommates and friends. She has been observing a vegetarian diet for quite a few years and at one point even tried a vegan lifestyle. However, without any “reinforcement” (no social norms present) from other vegans, she found this to be complicated and difficult to maintain. She has, though, endeavored to be a conscientious locavore, consuming only locally grown foods. Taking her cue, (from her norms) I have been ‘migrating’ to a more vegetarian, local-oriented diet.
Section 2: Societal Norms Connected to Food Choices
The choice by my friend to become a vegetarian, aside from being influenced by social norms, was also informed by the consequences of her previous diet. She was definitely troubled by the element of speciesism evident in a carnivorous diet. The ethics of eating non-human animals, especially when other, healthier alternatives are readily available was troubling. Also, as a vegetarian, she consumes fewer products of industrial farming and contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gases (methane) ammonia, and chemical fertilizer. As a locavore, she consumes only locally grown products, which, in general, have higher nutritional value (they are eaten closer to harvest), less likely to use preservatives, and more diversified (since she is only eating what is in season). Locally grown foods contribute to a better standard of health in general.
I consider all of these arguments informative and very convincing.
Section 3: System Diagram Linking the Social Norm, Food Choice and Societal Issue.
An example of how my food choice was influenced by social norms was the amount of junk food and unhealthy meals I have consumed since starting college. I’m sure this is something that other college students can relate to as well. My freshman year I commuted to school from my home about 30 minutes away. I always felt like I was on the run from going to school, to work, and then back home. Because of this, I turned to fast food restaurants as an easy way to grab lunch on the go. College is notorious for being a place for making unhealthy decisions. From going out at night with friends to countless trips to McDonalds and Chipotle, the “freshman 15” came on quickly. Eating out is very much a social norm in college. My on the go schedule during school also influenced me to choose food that was cheap and quickly prepared.
One societal issue that is greatly related to eating unhealthy foods is the obesity rate in this country. The reading mentioned that out of our whole population of 7 billion people, 1 billion are undernourished and 500 are considered obese. In my experience of following such unhealthy eating behaviors and habits, I can see how this number holds true. Obesity is such a big problem because the amount of high calorie food available outweighs the amount of healthier meal choices available on the go. Obesity is also linked to the end use of food, nutrition. The fast food and meals that I was consuming were not very nutritional in the least. Burgers and fries really can’t stack up against fresh and locally grown foods. There is also the idea of sustainable food consumption. When we choose food that is healthier for us, we are not only helping ourselves, but the environment as well. Beef production featured in the reading made me uneasy and really second think the meat that I was consuming in my McDouble.
Chipotle serves, “food with integrity.” This means that Chipotle uses only meat where the animals were raised humanely without any antibiotics or added hormones, serves non GMO organisms (flora and fauna), and without artificial preservatives. When Chipotle became popular in my hometown (they built one right near my high school), it became the place where everybody would go together after high school, on dates, or for a casual weekend meal. People began to consume food choices that were healthier and organic rather than inhumanely raised or GMO. Eating from places like Chipotle where meat was humanely raised became a social norm. Chipotle’s advertisement of healthier meat changed how people from my high school began to view food and the choices they made in eating their food, especially when it came to foods coming from factory farms. The awareness that Chipotle spread about livestock influenced the way people at my school ate, and Chipotle became a place where people could trust their food and know exactly what they were putting into their bodies.
A societal issue that connects to this social norm is how livestock is raised. There is a documentary I have watched called Food Inc. that exposes how animals are raised in factory farms. This is why I think it is so important to eat at restaurants such as Chipotle where the animals are not abused and inhumanely slaughtered. The animals are often raised in tightly crowded cages, given feed that makes them sick, and given antibiotics and without enrichments. The meat that comes from factory farms are often contaminated due to mass and careless production, thus affecting our health when we consume these meat. Therefore, the social norm should be to purchase and consume only organic and humanely raised meat. If people were to make themselves aware of which companies use factory farms, such as Tyson, or become aware of how a company raises food before financially supporting them by purchasing from that company, factory farms might cease to exist. This social norm would create a positive health movement and promote environmental friendly farms.
Growing up I always had a very busy and large schedule. Whether it be going to school, work when I was older, to the barn to ride horses, or other sporting activities I was always on the go. This led to a lot of my meals going from home cooked at the dinner table to on the go packed up quick or fast food I would grab on my path traveling somewhere. A lot of times this unfortunately ended up to be a burger at the closest fast food place around. Some negatives effects it had on me is the loss of socialization from sharing meals which was discussed in this module. By me constantly being on the run somewhere I did not always get to sit down and enjoy a meal with others whether it be family or friends. Another negative aspect I learned through a video in this module “The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers” was the major affect that cows are having on our ecosystem and the large amount that we as americans consume. I really shined a light out the effects just one main food source can cause.
In my first paragraph I referred to the consumption of burgers, and also with that I will lump in the use of beef in general and how large of a negative effect beef takes on the environment. It is surprising to me how obesity has become a social norm due to the food consumption Americans have on a daily basis. We do not think much about the fact that there are people that cant get up or move there bodies due to obesity, which is not only caused by fast food but in which they play a large role. Also another social norm that has become more apparent to me after reading this module is the use of GMO’s in food. They are used to make the food taste better to us and make the consumers want it even more. This is related to a topic discussed earlier in the module of the “enjoyment of food”, GMO’s make people enjoy fast food and unhealthy food so much that they are drawn to it more. Along with obesity goes health issue but that is to come from consuming approximately 3 hamburgers a week according the the video mentioned earlier.
Jordan’s population is over 95% Muslim., and if you lived or live in a Middle Eastern country, you know that finding pork in supermarkets is nearly impossible because it is against Islam to consume pork. This in a way can be considered a social norm; naturally, the christian demographic of the country, such as my mother, consume a lot less pork due to its rarity. For my 7 years of living in Jordan and the UAE, I can count the times I ate pork with my fingers on one hand since I was rarely exposed to it. My mother seemed to be okay with this, she said that asides from the occasional pork craving, the norm meant her eating less pork and residing to other meats such as chicken or lamb, which are considered to be healthier meats. In contrast, my roommates do most of the groceries and they love ham, sausage, and bacon, so by nature I’m bound to eat it a lot more when living with them, or living in the US in general since pork consumption can be considered a norm here.
When looking at Jordan’s entire dietary habits, I would say it’s tough to say that obesity rates are lower than the US’s because of the unavailability of pork since it’s a third world nation, and with poverty comes hunger and even famine. I do however, think that it is a contributor to the statistic as well as the vegetarian selection of food such as hummus, fava beans, and stuffed grape leaves. Another social norm relating to food is Halal preparation. Halal is a religious method of slaughter for meat that requires a sharp knife in order to kill the animal swiftly, the person slaughtering is also required to say a prayer before killing the animal. Halal practices in my opinion push for a sustainable food system, proving meat to come from a well treated, as well as pure since machines aren’t doing the killing. Since man does the slaughter, most butchers and meat companies don’t keep an excess of livestock and animals are generally treated better. In my opinion, Halal practices can be beneficial to a society, since the meat is shown have a much higher quality, even fast food meat like Burger King’s and McDonald’s is way better! (little pricier but totally worth it)
When I used to live with my parents, there were always fresh food stands around town. Local farmers would always have fresh fruit and vegetables from their season yields resulting in our family eating fresh vegetables on the regular. Now days those stands are no where to be found. Most farms in that area have shut down due to lack of help and or finance. Plus how could local farmers compete with stores such as Walmart that sell the same things plus some for half the price. The fresh food was the norm at the time considering it was readily available and easy to get to. Now one could say, Walmart is the social norm for daily foods because it is so wide-spread and easy to get to.
Although super-stores like Walmart have been putting small businesses and farmers out of business, they are making large farms prosper. These stores sell more items at a time creating a higher demand for foods resulting in farmers mass producing crops in the shortest amount of time possible to maximize profit. This therefore results in more resources used to run production such as fuel, water and food for livestock, fertilizer, pesticides, labor. More fuel use results in an increase of pollution and a continuation of depleting fossil fuels. Fuel alone, if completely depleted will result in severe consequences to the food chain. Livestock will not have food to sustain them resulting in humans having the same issue, lack of food. I think the social norm should be what it is today with super-stores making life easier for everyone but, with more efficient ways of going about production meaning less pollution and use of renewable resources instead of one-time-use.
1) Throughout my life I always had a really tough schedule that made the consumption of food easier when I could get it quick and on the go. During high school, I found myself eating more fast food then ever before. When I was younger my mom would always make health meals at night, but once high school and all the aspects of high school came into play those healthy meals fell drastically. Everyday, I would leave for school and not get home until late at night. After school I would go to multiple practices which lead to me going to McDonalds or Burger King in-between just to get some food. This action quickly became a normal event for me that I didn’t know affected the environment in such a negative way. The wonderful video of “The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers” does a great way of explaining how dangerous it is by simply consuming three fast food burgers a week. This fact hit me hard because during my high school experience my friends and I were definitely consuming more than three fast food burgers a week.
2) One main societal issue that comes from eating fast food burgers is obesity. In the world today it seems that the American life evolves around the fast food market. This may be due to busy schedules, but mainly because it is easier and cheaper than making a healthy meal. People today are all about saving money, so why would they want to spend more money when they can purchase a two dollar burger? This may be easier on their pockets, but definitely not easier on their life, their children, or the environment. These fast food consumptions are bad for all who eat them as they are made extremely quick which leads to high caloric intake. Children and adults aren’t as physically active as they should be. The intake of fast food by children set them up for obesity at a young age. I believe that the social norm should be teaching younger children how to prepare healthier meals with their family rather than having them eat fast foods which Americans are so use to doing today.
My daily diet is strongly influenced by social norms. I feel more athletic and somewhat healthier with a muscular figure, despite poor endurance and a higher body fat percentage when compared to a slim figure. In order to maintain body mass, I have to eat 120-180 grams of protein broken up throughout the day and refrain from eating an excessive amount of carbohydrates. This requirement leads me to eat a high amount of meat and dairy, while preventing me from eating steady amounts of simple starches. My eating patterns have definitely changed since high school and I have gained around fifty pounds. If sporting a thin body type was the cool thing to do, I would probably go back to eating three or four starch based meals per day and make far fewer trips to the dining commons. The amount of meat and dairy I consume is in no way auspicious to my long-term health.
A major societal issue, which may be unique to the well developed nations, is the connection between overall health and body image. Rather than eat a well balanced diet with emphasis on fruits and vegetables, people like myself eat too much of or do not eat certain foods in an effort to keep or achieve a desired body type. Whether it be not eating enough to compensate for a slow metabolism and maintain a slim figure, or eating too much in hopes of a fuller figure, this is a very real problem. Studies have linked too much meat consumption to cancer. Additionally, chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes are extremely prevalent in the US. It must become socially accepted that an extremely slim waist or muscular build are not necessarily indicators of good health. Vital signs, blood pressure and blood sugar should always be taken into consideration.
I grew up in family where nutrition was often overlooked, and we consumed a lot of unhealthy foods. Since coming to College at University Park I have tried to eat healthier and stay in shape. It is a social norm to stay fit these days, and this has influenced my food choice at college. This consists of trying to eat mostly high protein foods (ex. Grilled chicken), whole wheat, and natural foods (such as veggies). My roommate came to college already a big fitness and nutrition advocate, and I think her devotion encouraged me to consistently try to be fit. However, eating healthier is often less convenient, and harder to find here on campus. I don’t have access to a grocery store so I have to do my best with the food choices provided on campus.
The fitness social norm encouraged me to eat better, however after trying to eat healthier on campus I discovered how much unhealthy food there is compared to healthy and natural items. You can grab a slice of pizza and chips almost all the time, yet I have trouble finding a salad or anything not over processed. This leads to the societal issue of obesity. The agriculture system is pumping out high-calorie foods that are proven to be detrimental to your body and weight. Obesity is a huge issue all around the world, and after making my food choice I am able to witness why it is so prevalent everyday. I think that industrialized agriculture should either be regulated or encouraged to produce healthier foods, so people including myself can have an easier healthier lifestyle.
HAll mod 6 nutrition
My food choices are not typically influenced by social norms, but the social norms do not make it easy either. Being a vegetarian, I am often the “odd one out” when I am out with my friends and even at home sometimes. Typically this is not a big deal as my mother and younger sister are vegetarians too, but we (and other vegetarians/vegans in general) find trouble when it comes time for cookouts in summer. Social norm dictates that everyone eats meat – beit burgers, hotdogs, ribs, steak, etc. – as a way of celebration and “fitting in” (social eating). I suppose in California and other “high-health” states where there is more people living the veggie-lifestyle would not be as odd (there are even pure-veggie restaurants!), but here in Pennsylvania (where pork and sauerkraut is a tradition on New Year’s for almost EVERYONE), and down south in my native state of North Carolina (lots of meat and TONS of gravy), I just have to accept I’m the odd one out.
Two issues that I can connect are obesity/general health and environmental issues. Please note that I am not calling meat-eaters bad or “sway them”- there is nothing wrong with eating meat. Many people who fail to understand vegetable-based lifestyles work tend to look down on them and sometimes will eat even MORE in the process of “showing them up”. Needless to say that there tends to be overeating at cookouts and overeating leads to weight-gain. Too much of one food group is bad as well for one’s health. In order for the meat demand to be met, the livestock are often fed massively unhealthy diets in order to bulk them up; the amount of land used for the livestock’s food alone is astonishing. The pollution to the air and water is alarming as well – the planet is not getting bigger, but the population is so we need efficiency. The “new norm” should be one of eating more balanced diets and spending time focusing on the people with rather than the food itself.
Social norms have dictated the way I have been eating for a very long time now. When I joined the military I did so to travel across the world and to experience new things, and one of those things is always getting to try the local cuisine. When I lived in Hawaii I ate mostly fish, a lot of Ahi, however now that I live in California, specifically the central coast, which, is mostly rural, and the majority of restaurants are based around Red Meats and local vegetables. My first meal I ever ate in my new hometown was local steak and potatoes with steamed vegetables at the Guest House Grill. That has been a recurring theme for the food I have eaten in the area. The farmers markets all have local barbeque, local trip, local ribs, and local burgers, usually paired up with the numerous local farmers and their respective vegetables.
The societal issues with this are actually fairly well intentioned. The majority of farmers only sell locally. There is a different farmers market in a different town in the county every day, and two on the weekends. This minimizes the food miles and makes for a more sustainable process. The other side of the coin is the local factory farms, which are a major contributor to Methane and a dangerous greenhouse gas. The factory farms are a function of the local barbeque culture that developed in the area over the last thirty years. Other issues that may come about are the use of land, though I did not discuss this in the system drawing the use of land for luxury items, such as wine, (because I am in California) medicinal marijuana, and for the use livestock free-range farming. There is also the shipping of goods, and the transportation of agricultural items, though minimal, will have an effect on the environment with the release of more greenhouse gases. Overall I believe the issues for the area are approached well with the emphasis on locally grown and made but the counterweight to that is the emphasis on cattle farms with the Methane release.
One situation that I fell into a social norm was the day of the Super Bowl. My roommates and I invited people over to watch the game. When we were figuring out what food to get, we fell under the social norm that everybody orders pizza and wings to watch the Super Bowl. This is the typical food for any occasion that somebody invites people over to watch a football game. Ever since I was young, pizza and wings have always been the unofficial party food. Pizza and wings are not nutritious, but they fall under the social input of good tasting food. The poor nutritional values of pizza and wings are never thought of when being consumed. Another social input they categorize under is the socialization that occurs as people share this food because it is associated with parties and hangouts.
Ordering food such as pizza and wings for watching sporting events or even hanging out with friends is directly tied to obesity. We live in a sports-dominated culture. Americans love to hang out, watch TV and eat. We do this very often and consume copious amounts of food every time. In America, this is a big issue. People tend to order food, which is usually unhealthy, instead of making more nutritious meals for watching sporting events. Ordering food is much easier and convenient than self-cooking. Unfortunately, I believe we as a country tend to suffer from another societal norm which would be laziness. Nobody wants to put effort into anything, so they pick the easiest option. In this scenario, picking up the phone and having food delivered to the door portrays the societal issue of laziness. Laziness ultimately leads to obesity.