Victuailles vertueuses

CAMBRIDGE, MA – La maxime « Dis moi ce que tu manges et je te dirais qui tu es » a sous-tendu les principes de la  diététique pendant plusieurs centaines d’années. L’interprétation prédominante était simple : nos corps, comme les aliments que nous ingérons, sont composés d’éléments chimiques. Pour vivre longtemps et en bonne santé, et pour optimiser notre potentiel, nous devons consommer les éléments chimiques adéquats, c’est-à-dire les nutriments appropriés. Cette maxime est toutefois interprétée de manière très différente depuis un certain temps, dénotant une transformation profonde de la manière dont nous concevons notre vie et notre alimentation – un bouleversement qui comporte des implications importantes sur les débats actuels concernant la santé.

La médecine antique grecque et romaine mettait l’accent sur la prévention. Les régimes thérapeutiques, communément qualifiés de diététiques, prescrivaient un mode de vie destiné à maintenir les gens en bonne santé. Même si les médecins faisaient tout leur possible pour soigner les patients malades, la diététique était considérée comme le domaine le plus important de la profession médicale. Un régime sain devait en théorie permettre de ne jamais avoir besoin d’être soigné.

La diététique définissait un mode de vie ordonné, édictant des lignes directrices concernant non seulement la boisson et l’alimentation, mais également tous les aspects maîtrisables influant sur notre bien-être, du lieu de résidence à l’exercice physique, le sommeil, le transit intestinal, l’activité sexuelle et un domaine négligé par la médicine contemporaine : le contrôle de ses émotions.

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