Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth.
Diet referred to the sum of nutrition consumed by an organism. Dietary classifications included carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, silicavore and ergovore.
Photoautotrophs use the energy of sunlight and the CO2 in the atmosphere to make organic compounds.
Chemolithoautotrophs use inorganic compounds for energy and derive their carbon from CO2.
Photoheterotrophs use the energy of sunlight and derive their carbon from organic compounds.
Chemoorganoheterotrophs use organic compounds for energy and as a carbon source.
Forms of diet
Plants typically absorbed water and inorganic substances through their roots, and synthesized both nutrients in soil and sunlight. Since they were capable of synthesizing their own food and served as food sources for consumers, they were referred to as producers.
Herbivores were animals that fed on plants, but not other animals. Since they were the first in the food chain not to produce their own means of subsistence, they were referred to as primary consumers.
Carnivores were animals that subsisted on animal tissues. In the food chain, they were referred to as secondary consumers.
Omnivores were species that subsisted on both animal tissue and plant-based foods.
Silicavore referred to species that ate rocks and minerals, digesting organic material within.
Ergovore referred to species that sought out and fed upon the energy from matter directly. Business owners sometimes enhanced their security by using these creatures as a way to keep firearms out of their establishments.
Saprophages were lifeforms that fed on dead and decaying organisms.
Energy flow and food relationships
The scientific term food chain designated the feeding relationships among a set of plants and animals or the energy flow from a sun to living beings. Through the chain, energy would first travel from the sun to a plant, then from a plants to animals, then from animals to other animals, and then back to the soil through decay. On a related note, a food web was a way of describing the interconnected feeding relationship in a given ecosystem: vertically, it showed who ate whom, and horizontally, it showed who was in competition with whom for food.
Many cultures have a recognizable cuisine, a specific set of cooking traditions using various spices or a combination of flavors unique to that culture, which evolves over time. Other differences include preferences (hot or cold, spicy, etc.) and practices, the study of which is known as gastronomy. Many cultures have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking methods, and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by way of food, not just by consumption.
The history of dairy based foods like milk has an interesting influence on the cultures of Kaf. Most mammalian species wean off from milk during childhood and thus lose the ability to digest the milk sugar, lactose, into adulthood.
A major exception is the lamia race who after learning the art of animal domestication, took to using all of the animal for sustenance, including their milk. Generations of lamia drinking milk and creating dairy products with lower amounts of lactose developed dairy tolerance in a majority of adults. That is why there are likely to be a lot of cheeses, yogurt, and creams in a nation, territory or settlement with a high population of lamia.
When trade of these dairy goods began with other races, most adults were not able to tolerate these foods. As such, plants that could be made into a milky liquid were used as a replacement for adults of other races. These dairy products are often made with soy, almond, or rice milk. So when a cheese, yogurt, butter, or ice cream is made, depending on where you are, it is more likely to be made with plant based milk.