Healthy food is not a myth, it is a way of life; it is not a renunciation, but an eradication of some habits that have been passed down for generations.
Food is any substance eaten or drunk by humans or animals, or absorbed by plants, in order for them to maintain life and development. Its function can be structural (growth, development, regeneration), energy (basal metabolism, growth energy, thermoregulation), enzyme-biochemical (formation and operation of enzyme systems), immune-defense, social (psychological status, labor productivity), and also pathological (malnutrition – reduced food intake, intoxications – poisoning).
This is how I usually start a conversation with my students. At least once a year we discuss, consult, make diet charts, analyze all types of products and solve nutritional problems of certain target groups. The lectures are not boring, because I share with them all my knowledge and they are interactive. Of the 200 students aged 20, 1/3 have an interest in and prior knowledge of food and nutrition. This is probably due to the weak habit of discussing this topic in the most important cell of life – the family. The fast way of life and the socio-cultural habits in Macedonia dictate our diet. They eat fast food, consume high-calorie beverages, and most of them are committed to physical activity. The young population is prone to various diets, which is a devastating fact of how we live. In recent years, awareness has been raised, people start to exercise, we read a lot about nutrition and we try to avoid sugary foods.
Healthy foods are not just vitamins and minerals, organic foods or the like. Whether this is known in Macedonia at all is a big question mark. Awareness should be raised from the age of 1 or 2 years onwards, not at the age of 20 when the habits are already formed. You can always unlearn something, but I am not up for blind following of the Internet and influencers who dictate certain diets with interesting names.
Healthy food is not a myth, it is a way of life; it is not a renunciation, but an eradication of some habits that have been passed down for generations. It is perfectly fine to eat indigenously, but it is obligatory to pay attention to the food products and to read their composition. There is a trend of long heat treatment regime, and we need vitamins. Not fresh, but blanched food is best. Let’s not rely only on social media and various orders of diet regimes that have a high cost. They should not be an example. The fact is that there are many unknown web nutritionists, and the healthy stuff is Herbalife, right?
Professionally, very few professionals really know food, and there are a growing number of restaurants where we can get “urticaria” from thermally untreated fish. In Macedonia, it is recommended that you eat river or lake fish, not tuna from Alaska.
Food is not a fashion trend, we do not always have to blindly believe in marketing as the background of the product, and manufacturers must be sure that the product is safe. Food exports are what we are known for in the region.
Not everyone in Macedonia eats the same, but generally speaking, most people can not afford expensive restaurants and expensive healthy products. This is a topic on which we must all think carefully about whom we trust. I would say: believe in yourself and read anabolism and catabolism, or just listen to what your body tells you. That way we will know best how to eat; we, as a country, still have a lot of work to do in order to train people who will direct us to the topic of healthy food and nutrition.
Dr. Jana Klopchevska, Assistant Professor and Vice Dean for Teaching at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, UKIM, Skopje