Tag: Food

The Pre-History of the Paleo Diet

Dr. Loren Cordain describes himself as the “world’s foremost authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease” and as “one of the world’s leading experts on the natural human diet of our Stone Age ancestors.” He is the self-proclaimed founder of the Paleo Diet Movement and champions a way of eating that mimics that… Read more →

Helen Atwater: The First Lady of American Nutrition You’ve Never Heard Of

When I was researching the history of American food guides, I came across one of the earliest resources, “How to Select Foods,” published in 1917 by Hunt and Atwater. At first I assumed that this Atwater was Wilbur Olin Atwater, the man so often heralded as “The Father of American Nutrition.” I was wrong. It… Read more →

Why Eighteenth-Century Hangriness Might Be A Thing (And Why It Matters)

Captured by Abenaki Indians from New Hampshire in 1724, the Englishwoman Elizabeth Hanson described how after a disappointing hunt, her captor “with a very angry Look threw a Stick or Corn-Cob at me,” and threatened to kill her and her children. But, Hanson observed, “when-ever he was in such a Temper, he wanted Food, and… Read more →

“We lost our appetite for food”: Why Eighteenth-Century Hangriness Might Not Be a Thing

In August 2015, Oxford Dictionaries declared that the word “hangry” had entered our common vocabulary. Surely most people living in the twenty-first century have experienced the sense of being simultaneously hungry and angry. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, hunger was also everywhere. A recent NPR essay examines how slaveholders withheld food from enslaved people,… Read more →

Elimination Diets: Medical & Dietary Detective Work

After a lengthy, expensive, and invasive process, I received a diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a hard to pronounce and fairly rare — but increasingly common — chronic allergic disorder. Hesitant to accept a lifelong diagnosis and the sick person’s role I imagined would come with it, I asked my physician what would happen if… Read more →

Milk: A History of Tasting What Cows Eat

Everybody since the dawn of time has had to eat — for once, that’s a sentence construction that no professor or teaching assistant can take umbrage with. Today we are pleased to bring you the first essay in our new series Bites of History. From diets meant to treat medical issues to the founding of… Read more →

On Feeding My Husband with Cancer

I am both a historian of medicine and a practicing physician. This sometimes throws into sharp relief how different medicine is today than it was even 100 years ago. One of the guiding principles in my research and teaching is called “relativism” — trying to understand people and ideas in the past on their own… Read more →

But It’s Vintage Lifestyle Change: Surveying the History of American Orthorexia with the Whole30

Before I go any further, let me make one thing perfectly clear: this article is about a diet. Yes, I went on that diet and followed it to the letter. No, you’re not going to find out whether I lost weight. This is partly because I don’t know, since I don’t believe a numerical representation… Read more →

The Nanny State on Your Plate?

In late November, the FDA finalized new rules for calorie counts on menus. In about a year, all food establishments with over twenty locations will need to post the calories of regular items directly on the menu. Other nutrition facts must be available on request. In about two years, vending machine companies owning more than… Read more →

The Feminist Fork

Like so many people, I have a complicated relationship with food. I’ve eaten out of anger, sadness, or excitement.  At times, food connects me with people and places.  I’ve even gone so far as to have mistaken food for love. Other times, shame accompanies me while I eat and comments on what I ate, how… Read more →