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The Medieval Diet

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I’ve been really enjoying listening to some of the Situating Science Podcasts, usually long and fascinating lectures on science in human contexts. I particularly enjoyed a lecture from Steven Shapin, a history of science professor at Harvard, called “The Long History of Dietetics: Thinking About Food, Expertise, and the Self.”

It’s a fascinating look at the history of what and how we should eat to be healthy, in particular the medieval rules for eating associated with the four humors and creating balance in your body based on your temperament. Medicine has certainly come a long way since bleeding was used as a cure-all treatment, but the notion of balance may be an important one in a time of increasing obesity but also of increasing fad eating, ascetic cleanses, and paleo-dieting. You can watch the video of the lecture above, or download the podcast here.

Christina Agapakis About the Author: Christina Agapakis is a biological designer who blogs about biology, engineering, engineering biology, and biologically inspired engineering. Follow on Twitter @thisischristina.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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