What does one week’s worth of food look like around the world?

One week’s worth of food by various cultures:

Italy: Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily

Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo

Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyp tian Pounds or $68.53

Chad: Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp

Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

USA: United States: The Revis family of North Carolina

Food expenditure for one week: $341.98

One of the lesser-known yamas (ethical restraints) in yoga is mitahara, or moderate diet, as described in the Upanishads.

“Be moderate in appetite, neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs. Enjoy fresh, wholesome vegetarian foods that vitalize the body. Avoid junk food. Drink in moderation. Eat at regular times, only when hungry, at a moderate pace, never between meals, in a disturbed atmosphere or when upset. Follow a simple diet, avoiding rich or fancy fare.”

Most traditional yogic texts describe ten yamas and ten niyamas, but for some reason Patanjali whittled it down to five of each in the Yoga Sutras. In today’s day and age, as we face massive food shortages and a growing epidemic of eating disorders, it seems like our world could benefit from more focus on mitahara.

What strikes you as particularly interesting in these pictures? Does each family’s weekly diet seem to exhibit mitahara? Do you think you could get by on these families diets?

Pictures from photographer Peter Menzel and his book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. See more at Homeless Nation.

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Ancient Wisdom, Modern Perspective

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