Our diets are not as nutritionally diverse as they once were—quite the understatement, according to award-winning food journalist Dan Saladino. In fact, in his new book, Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them, he notes that over time, humans have eaten over 6,000 different species of plants. Today? We mainly eat nine. This lack of diversity has much to do with our modern agricultural practices that focus on churning out a few domesticated staples (namely: wheat, rice, and maize). As a result, we lose more of those nourishing, vulnerable crops that depend on a thriving ecosystem—and our nutritional load may suffer.
“We need a greater awareness of the environment in which we exist and the food and farming stories that surround us,” Saladino says on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. “We have so fundamentally changed our relationship with food that we are paying a huge price in terms of our health and the health of the planet as well.”
Here, Saladino discusses a few nutritious yet rare foods and how their absence could affect your health.