This week we cover medical and dietary thinking from ancient Greece and Rome through about 1700. Some of the medical thinking seems a bit bizarre to our modern sensibilities, but in terms of dietary advice, there is a remarkable consistency over the last 2000 years. So it’s worth looking at the foundational thinking that has directly influenced modern nutrition, even if if certain aspects have been dramatically altered by increasingly sophisticated biochemical research.
Still getting settled: no groups for this week. Everyone will post a regular ~200 word reading reflection to address the following:
How did physicians like Galen conceive the notion of disease? According to Galen, how does diet fit into medical understandings of disease? How is his approach similar and different to modern approaches to diet? How do we make sense of Galen’s writing style? Your responses should also draw on both the readings and the video lecture.
How would you characterize premodern dietary thinking? What aspects of dietary advice have persisted across the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods? What elements have been discarded? How is premodern dietary thinking inferior to our current model? It what ways might it be superior?