You Are What You Eat
We’ve all heard the phrase “You are what you eat”. Eat poorly and you will live a sickly life, create a healthy eating plan and you will supply you body with the essential tools it needs to function.
Here’s the origin of the phrase “You are what you eat” from Gary Martin, is the author of the
Meanings and Origins
section of the
The notion that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food.
This phrase has come to us via quite a tortuous route. Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 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].
In an essay entitled Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, 1863/4, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote:
"Der Mensch ist, was er ißt."
That translates into English as 'man is what he eats'.
Neither Brillat-Savarin or Feuerbach meant their quotations to be taken literally. They were stating that that the food one eats has a bearing on what one's state of mind and health.
The actual phrase didn't emerge in English until some time later. In the 1920s and 30s, the nutritionist Victor Lindlahr, who was a strong believer in the idea that food controls health, developed the Catabolic Diet. That view gained some adherents at the time and the earliest known printed example is from an advert for beef in a 1923 edition of the Bridgeport Telegraph, for 'United Meet [sic] Markets':
"Ninety per cent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat."
In 1942, Lindlahr published You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet. That seems to be the vehicle that took the phrase into the public consciousness. Lindlahr is likely to have also used the term in his radio talks in the late 1930s (now lost unfortunately), which would also have reached a large audience.
The phrase got a new lease of life in the 1960s hippy era. The food of choice of the champions of this notion was macrobiotic wholefood and the phrase was adopted by them as a slogan for healthy eating. The belief in the diet in some quarters was so strong that when Adelle Davis, a leading spokesperson for the organic food movement, contracted the cancer that later killed her, she attributed the illness to the junk food she had eaten at college.
, 1996 - 2009
How this relates to the fundamentals of healthy eating is ever more prevalent today. The food we call our diet today is the root cause of our health problems. Starting
an easy healthy diet for life
is you best choice for health, well-being and longevity.