Food: Where Does it Come From?

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Introduction

What do we eat at home, generally? We eat many different types of food in our day to day lives and almost everyday, we consume multiple varieties of food that satiates our hunger at different times. To know about different varieties of food, we can perform a small experiment in the classroom. Everyday when we go to school, there is our lunch or snacks break. And in a single classroom, if we see the different types of food in every classmate’s lunch box, we can make a large number, isn’t it? Likewise, imagine if we are observing the food varieties in the boxes of each student in the whole school, we will get even a bigger number. So, we can make out many different kinds of food exist and out of those, many different recipes can be prepared. But the question is food- where does it come from? Let’s explore!


Food Materials and Sources of Food

Commonly consumed food, especially in India, is wheat, rice, pulses, milk, meat, fish, etc. If we take about the sources of food, we all are aware that plants are the primary source of food who gives us plenty of grains from huge fields and are benefiting humans, animals and other organisms to survive. Paddy fields or wheat fields are maintained regularly by the farmers to help grow wheat and rice for human consumption. Likewise, many different plants are there that provide us with green leaves, vegetables and fruits to consume and supply vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to use. For example, a pumpkin plant has two or more edible parts as their flowers can also be eaten and the big pumpkin vegetable is also consumed. 

If we talk about dairy and non-vegetarian food sources, these are available from animals. Cows, goats, buffaloes, hens, etc. are some of the animals which are very useful in providing us milk and milk products such as cheese, curd, cream, milk, etc. People also use meat from hen, goat, pigs and other animals. 

One of the interesting foods obtained from animals or bee insects is honey. Do you know how it is produced? Bees store honey in their hives and what is honey? It is basically the nectar of sweet juices from flowers which is later converted to honey. Beehives can be seen in tall areas such as trees, buildings, etc. People collect the food stored by the bees in the form of honey. Honey is very nutritious as well as medicinal. 

So, it should be understood that we consume sometimes roots, sometimes flowers, sometimes leaves, sometimes fruit, sometimes nectar and sometimes stem of the plants. For example, spinach is a green leafy vegetable (stem), tomato is a fruit of the tomato plant, carrot is a root, etc. All of these different parts of a plant fetch our bodies important nutrients to help us grow and develop. Also, plants are eaten by animals which come to us indirectly when we consume meat or dairy food and help in growth and development.


What do Animals Consume?

Also, like humans, food is consumed by a large number of animals that help them grow and indirectly are coming to us. If we observe their food habits, we will understand how cows eat grass, other plants and grain to give us milk and dairy and how chickens feed on grains and provide us eggs and meat. 

On the basis of their eating habits, animals are divided into three types, namely herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Animals who eat only plants are called herbivores such as deer and cows; animals feeding on smaller animals are called carnivores such as tigers and lions; animals who eat plants as well as animals are categorized as omnivores such as bears and humans. Few examples are given below.

  1. Animal Name: Buffalo, Food it eats: Grass, hay, grains and oilcake.

  2. Animal Name: Cat, Food it eats: Small animals like rat, birds and milk.

  3. Animal Name: Crow, Food it eats: Grains, cooked food, insects, meat.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Flaxseed, where does it come from?

Ans. Flaxseed is derived from the flax plant known as Linum usitatissimum and it can grow up to 2 feet tall. Many people consume flax seed in moderate amounts as it is healthy and can be consumed in raw form too. Otherwise, one can consume it in the roasted form. It can also be called linseed.

2. Garlic, where does it come from?

Ans. Garlic is Allium sativum and its species belongs to the Onion genus known as Allium. Its plant develops both leaves and the bulb which contain allicin and is antifungal having antibiotic properties as well.

3. What is Sprouting?

Ans. It is a small white structure growing out of the seeds and the condition is a sprouted condition. For example, when we take some dry moong or chana and put it in a container filled with water to leave it aside for a day. Next day, after draining the water and leaving the seeds in a vessel for some time, we can observe a small white structure called sprouts. It is believed that the sprouted seeds are very nutritious and full of protein.