I recently came across a series by photographer Gregg Segal in which he explores different diets around the world by creating images of children surrounded by the food they typically eat in a week.
I found the pictures very interesting, of course, and immediately became curious about what such a photograph would look like for my family.
I’ve been told that when you keep a record of what you eat (a food diary), what you eat alters for the better, presumably because the idea of having to write down that you finished half a packet of cold french fries is enough to make you think better of it.
I assume that knowing I would need to lay out everything I typically eat in a week might mean that I’d do a better job of planning those meals, in terms of quantity, quality and variety.
Getting a glimpse of everything all at once would also be likely to highlight the sorts of directions our diet tends in—I think of myself as someone who tries to avoid packaged and prepared foods, but would a week’s food laid out be evidence that I’m doing well there, or poorly?
In the article in My Modern Met, Jessica Stewart’s interview with Gregg Segal provides information about the project’s background and motivation, and about the book that resulted from the work. You can read the interview here. The article also includes detailed information about the children pictured, and I encourage you to check it out.
The piece finishes with the surprising takeaway:
“In 2015, Cambridge University conducted an exhaustive study ranking diets around the world from most to least nutritional. Remarkably, 9 of the 10 healthiest countries are in Africa. It seems counterintuitive that some of the poorest countries have among the healthiest diets. But when you look closely at what they’re eating, it makes sense: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, fish, and legumes and very little meat (which functions more as seasoning) and few empty calories (processed foods).”
Contemplating a project like this, do you want to think more deeply about what your family eats in the course of a week? Do you want to taste some of the things on all those plates you’ve just seen? I do!
[Images: Gregg Segal at mymodernmet.com]