Ideas for Surviving Food Shortages
Famine has afflicted humankind, shaping its demography and history from antiquity. Records of famine in ancient Egypt during the third millennium BC are depicted in bas-relief on the Causeway of the Pyramid of Unas in Saqqura. Biblical accounts of a famine resulting from drought in Egypt during the second millennium BC (Middle Kingdom) that stretched to Mesopotamia describe the devastation wrought on the land and society and the means by which Joseph predicted and managed its consequences. The fall of the Roman Empire followed repeated food shortages and famines from 500 BC to 500 AD. China experienced some 1828 famines, nearly one per year, from 108 BC to 1911 AD. The ranks of the Crusades in the eleventh and twelfth centuries swelled in response to promise of food. The storming of the Bastille and French Revolution followed decades of periodic rises in flour and bread prices that had caused widespread hunger and hardship, and hundreds of 'food riots.' Recurrent famine motivated the...
There's a valid scientific reason why most diets fail dismally. Most people make the classic mistake of trying to starve the fat with strict diets. However, because the human body has a complex and infallible series of defense mechanisms to protect you from starvation, it's physiologically impossible to permanently lose fat with very low calorie diets. As soon as your body senses a food shortage, these defense mechanisms start to kick in. The human body is simply too smart for the restrictive very low calorie diet approach to ever work.
The starvation response developed largely from exposure to adverse environmental conditions like droughts, natural disasters and food shortages. Furthermore, there were no supermarkets ten thousand years ago - if people wanted to eat, they had to either grow their food or kill it. It's likely that at times, ancient man didn't know when the next meal was coming and may have only eaten once or twice a week. The starvation response evolved in humans to ensure the survival of the species.
While the focus of this chapter is on issues related to the United States and developed countries, a major cause of increased susceptibility to infection worldwide is malnutrition. Increased host susceptibility can occur in a variety of ways, such as through weakened epithelial integrity, decreased gastric acid production, decreased cell-mediated immunity, decreased immunoglobulin production, and phagocytosis defects. A 'vicious cycle' can occur, where food shortages lead to malnutrition, which can lead to increased susceptibility to infection (Morris and Potter, 1997). This can lead to an increased risk of foodborne disease, when food is available.
MSK and MKF are edible, and thus far there have been no studies showing that they contain any toxic or allergenic compounds. In times of food shortages and famine, poor people from some producing regions have consumed boiled kernels. Rukmini and Vijayaraghavan (1984) studied the nutritional value and toxicological safety of kernel fat by feeding rats with MKF and groundnut oil in balanced diets with fat contents of 10 , and making multi-generation breeding evaluations. The food efficiency ratio and growth rate of the rats fed with the MKF diet were comparable with those of the control group. The retention of nutrients (calcium, phosphorus, and nitrogen) was not affected adversely by MKF intake. The serum and liver total cholesterol, total lipids levels, and liver TG type were alike in MKF and control-fed animals. The histo-pathological evaluations of the rats' organs showed no abnormalities.
As early as 1893, Baker noted that E. superbum was in common cultivation, and it was introduced into the Calcutta Botanical Gardens in the year 1800 (Baker, 1893). The plant dies down in the dry season and forms new leaves at the beginning of the monsoon season. This species can be propagated by seeds, but cannot produce vegetative side suckers naturally like other Ensete species. It has the capacity to withstand severe drought, and has therefore been used during famines in Ethiopia. It is excellent for outdoor cultivation, where weather permits, and grows well with liberal fertilization when established.
Unrealistic cultural norms can result in a susceptibility for individuals within a group to feel pressured by the demanding standards of its shared ego ideal. Arieti and Bemporad (1978) discussed a study that contrasted the child-rearing practices of the neighboring Ojibwa and Eskimo tribes and linked these to their members' different susceptibilities to depression. Although they shared similar environmental hardships, these peoples conceptualized their relationship to the harsh conditions differently. Eskimo children were treated with patience, tolerance, and gratification, with expectations ofjoint work for community survival slowly introduced. Ojibwa children, on the other hand, were toughened to face difficult lives on their own, and regularly starved to prepare them for future periods of food shortages. It was expected that they would meet these demands without complaint.
The characteristic signs and symptoms of pellagra were given the name 'mal de la rosa' in 1720 by doctors working in the Asturia region of Spain, and it was very common in Italy at the end of the eighteenth century. As early as 1810, one European description concluded that the disease was neither contagious nor hereditary but was probably caused by a poor diet, especially diets in which grain such as corn (i.e., sweet corn) was the principal staple. The concept of a 'protein' deficiency, as distinct from the characteristic body-wasting calorie deficiency of common famines, was proposed in approximately 1850, and a good hospital diet was shown to have positive curative effects. As early as 1860, however, one observer commented that poor Mexican peasants whose diet was mainly corn based did not exhibit pellagra, and he attributed this to
However, it is important to keep in mind that this phenomenon of a heavier lower class is confined to the modern Western world where food shortages are nonexistent. In much of the developing world, access to food is limited, leading to undernourished, thin people. However, overweight has also become a major problem in the developing world.
P ritikin initially developed the Pritikin Diet as a way to combat his own heart disease. A self-taught inventor, Pritikin held over two dozen patents in fields from engineering to photography and aeronautics. He had observed that the results of the famines of war reduced the onset of
Over many years, fat has become a principal component of people's diets. In the past, humans developed methods of conserving fat to survive possible famines. Although people have increased their consumption of fat, they still have metabolisms that conserve fat whenever possible. Diets high in fat are valued in developing countries and have replaced local diets that have been in place for centuries.
I n early twentieth-century China, there was a popular fascination with diet, perhaps as a result of the images of famine that marked Western and Chinese views of the pathological body in the nineteenth century (Edgerton 2002 Mallory 1926). Indeed, when you systematically read the standard Western medical journal published in China, the China Medical Journal, from the beginning of the twentieth century to the Japanese invasion of China, the central medical discourse concerning diet and the body is that of famine and starvation. In a 1912 article in the China Medical Journal, the physicians of the Chinese Medical Missionary Association are concerned that the food made available in their hospitals has sufficient protein and fat, to the extent that they advocate crossing foreign and native cows, or the introduction of canned milk to improve the local diet. That diet seems to be regionally differentiated. One physician notes that the rich have rice, vegetables, and meats. The poor have...
Factors aggravating the climatic seasonal effects may be the occurrence of pests, for example, the arrival of locusts arriving with the rainy season in Sahel. Furthermore, seasonal patterns of food production are often superimposed upon longer term cycles, which leads to the periodic appearance of drought and famines in sub-Saharan Africa and in Central Asia.
Such an adaptive phenomenon that accelerates the restitution of fat stores rather than diverting the energy saved toward compensatory increases in body protein synthesis (an energetically costly process) would have survival value in ancestral famine-and-feast lifestyle. This is because by virtue of the fact that body fat has a greater energy density and a lower energy cost of synthesis maintenance than protein, it would provide the organism with a greater capacity to rapidly rebuild an efficient energy reserve and hence to cope with recurrent food shortage. Thus, the functional role of the adipose-specific control of thermogenesis during weight recovery is to accelerate specifically the replenishment of the fat stores whenever food availability is increased after a long period of food deficit and severe depletion of body fat stores. It provides an alternative mechanism to recover survival capacity in the absence of hyperphagia. However, equally important for the survival of mammals...
People living in areas of high climatic seasonality are well aware of the nutritional impact of seasonality, as indicated by the language they use to define such seasonal stress periods. The Massa of Cameroon call the month of July in the middle of the wet season the month of 'Did you call me for food ' and they have a word to define 'hunger with threat,' when food shortage has been too long and life is in danger. However, it was not until the 1950s that the scientific community started to appreciate the presence of a nutritional impact of seasonality, and its functional significance is still a matter of discussion.
Definitions of famine vary but all contain the necessary elements of widespread inaccessibility to food leading to mass numbers of starved individuals. Importantly, lack of access is not equivalent to nonavailability of food within a region, as most famines occur amidst food stocks sufficient to feed the afflicted population. More comprehensive definitions of famine may include elements of time dependency (e.g., steady, continuous erosion of or sudden collapse in food available for consumption), partial causation (e.g., due to natural calamity, armed conflict, or convergence of other complex causal events), class (e.g., affecting certain ethnic, geographic, economic or occupational groups more than others), and health consequence on a population scale (e.g., accompanied by epidemics of disease and high mortality) or other population responses (e.g., mass migration). While poverty-stricken communities tend to view famine as a continuum of increasing loss and oppression that typically...
Market failure famines occur when free, competitive market forces, driven by agriculture, transportation, communication and trade, and enabled by an abiding government fail to assure minimal entitlement to food, either directly (through subsistence) or via trade for a large sector of society. Following Amartya Sen, entitlement failure is an economic phenomenon, broadly defined, in which individuals and households are (Figure 2). Causes acting at various times in the pathway to market failure can be numerous, including long-and short-term adversity in climate leading to drought and excessive floods, pestilence and other causes of lost crop yield, reduced food imports or inefficient transport and marketing infrastructures. These all can lead to a national or, more often, regional declines in food availability, inflationary grain market responses to speculation and hoarding, other aspects of infrastruc-tural neglect, ineffectual trade policies, political instability and corrupt...
Most is known about household and community coping mechanisms in response to famines due to market failure. In cultures where food shortage or inaccessibility to large sectors of society is chronic, and threat of famine periodic, there exist indigenous responses that enable the local populace to cope, protect their entitlement, and minimize as best it can the risk of starvation as terms of exchange for food deteriorate (illustrated as a concept in Figure 4).
Food shortages are often an immediate health consequence of disasters. Existing food stocks may be destroyed or disruptions to distribution systems may prevent the delivery of food. In these situations, food relief programs should include the following elements (1) assessment of food supplies available after the disaster, (2) determination of the nutritional needs of victims, (3) calculation of daily food needs, and (4) surveillance of victims' nutritional famine extended period of food shortage
Speaking of S. maritima, the desalted leaves are used as a cooked vegetable or the normally salty leaves are added to salads and soups to salt them. Young shoots also pickled. Green shoots universally eaten by Asian Indians, especially during famines. (DEP FAC). Asian Indians eat the green leaves of S. nudiflora ( fruticosa), a source of sajji (DEP).
This process of natural selection, sometimes called survival selection, led Darwin to focus on the events that impede survival, which he called the hostile forces of nature. These hostile forces included food shortages, diseases, parasites, predators, and extremes of weather . Whatever variants helped or ganisms survive these hostile forces of nature would lead to an increased likelihood of successful reproduction. Food preferences for substances rich in fat, sugar , and protein, for example, would help organisms survive food shortages. An immune system teeming with antibodies would help organisms survive diseases and parasites. Fear of snakes and spiders would help them survive these dangers. These mechanisms, resulting from a long and repeated process of natural selection, are called adaptations, inherited solutions to the survival and reproductive problems posed by the hostile forces of nature.
T he fear of obesity has reappeared in China during the past decade in an age that remembers another moment of famine against which it defines itself. Mao Zedong's famine from 1958 to 1961, which resulted from the collectivization of the peasants killed millions in China and evoked the horrors of the famines of the 1940s during the war against the Japanese, the civil war, and the policies of the nationalist government (Becker 1996). For adults in today's China, famine evokes their own experiences under Mao and the tales of starvation during the war by their parents and grandparents.
The complex nature of malnutrition in the developing world means that dieting interventions need to be developed for the specific state of nutrition in the population being targeted. Famines are not due to lack of food worldwide. They arise as a result of civil unrest affecting specific people. Amartya Sen's 1981 Poverty and Famines An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation argued that famine occurs not from a lack of food, but from inequalities built into mechanisms for distributing food. War and violence often prevent global relief agencies from delivering food to the people who are in need. Agencies such as the World Health Organization must negotiate with the local governments to allow food shipments to people. The main goal for this type of intervention is just to get people fed. Sen, Amartya (1981) Poverty and Famines An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, Oxford Clarendon Press.
Large numbers of people starve during famine, which is usually followed by epidemics of lethal infectious diseases. Typically, a plethora of forces or conditions act within society to deprive people of food to survive. General food decline in a population may be an important factor, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient as a cause, as amply revealed by critical treatises of numerous famines over the past two centuries. This has led analysts to recognize that famines are complex, often with many ('component') causes that vary in their attribution, depending on the classes of society affected, and their timing, severity, duration, and degree of interaction. The constellation of causes and potential solutions of famine can be examined from ecological, economic, social, and public health perspectives, each offering different insights into the ecology of famine. While each view is valid and informative, none are complete or mutually exclusive, making it necessary to integrate these...
The complexity of inheritance and interaction with the environment makes identification of genes involved with type 2 diabetes difficult. Only a small percentage (2-5 ) of diabetes cases can be explained by single gene defects and are usually atypical cases. However, a thrifty gene, although not yet identified, is considered predictive of weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes. Thrifty-gene theory suggests that indigenous people who experienced alternating periods of feast and famine gradually developed a way to store fat more efficiently during periods of plenty to better survive famines. Regardless of the thrifty gene, the contribution of genetic mutations in the development of type 2 diabetes has not been established, due to the number of genes that may be involved. famine extended period of food shortage
Have begun to affect Asians in a new and different way. Further, as weather patterns change over time and natural disasters occur, Asia, a largely agricultural society, is not always guaranteed a good crop. Asian food and nutrition is deeply rooted in the availability of food in each country. International organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and Oxfam International continue to work on programs that ensure that continents like Asia will not suffer food shortages in the future. see also Asian Americans, Diets of Dietary Trends, International.
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