Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 24, 2013

BRADBERRY: We are what we consume, right?

Niagara Gazette — You’ve heard it said; “Garbage in, garbage out” (GIGO), a common reference to bad, or nonsensical information input into a computer will invariably produce nonsensical output.

Well, it’s logical to conclude that the human brain, the most advanced computer ever created, behaves the same way, as does our body; that is, if we feed our brains incomplete, imprecise, or incorrect information our decision-making processes and the conclusions we draw which govern the decisions we make, will inevitably be faulty, right?

Applied to what we eat, the term, “You are what you eat” makes perfect sense; at least it seems to me, probably because my Mom and most of the health information I have relied upon most of my life strongly suggest that I cannot survive on candy alone; I need pie too ...

A quick Internet search traces the origin of the term “You are what you eat” to the simple notion that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food. In fact, one site “the phrase finder” reports that Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante in, 1826, “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” (Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.)

The article points to an essay titled Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, 1863/4, wherein Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote: “Der Mensch ist, was er ißt.” Which translates into English as ‘man is what he eats’.

Clearly, they both were claiming that the food one eats has a bearing on one’s state of mind and health.

Over time, the claim gained credence, and by 1923 in an advertisement for beef in an edition of the Bridgeport Telegraph, for ‘United Meet [sic] Markets’ stated, “Ninety per cent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat.”

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