Essen mit Moral

CAMBRIDGE – Der Grundsatz „du bist, was du isst“ hat das Denken über Lebensmittel jahrhundertelang bestimmt. Die vorherrschende Interpretation ist einfach: unsere Körper, wie auch die Nahrungsmittel, die wir aufnehmen, bestehen aus chemischen Verbindungen. Für ein langes und gesundes Leben, und um unser Potenzial zu maximieren, müssen wir die richtigen Chemikalien zu uns nehmen – das heißt aufs Essen bezogen, die richtigen Nährstoffe. Es ist allerdings noch nicht so lange her, da wurde dieses Motto ganz anders interpretiert. Was auf einen tief greifenden Wandel in der Art und Weise hindeutet, wie wir über unsere Ernährung und über uns selbst denken – ein Wandel, der wichtige Konsequenzen für die aktuellen Gesundheitsdebatten hat.

In der Medizin der alten Griechen und Römer ging es hauptsächlich um Prävention. Regimen, also die Ernährungslehre, schrieb einen Lebensstil vor, der geeignet war, die Gesundheit der Menschen zu erhalten. Die Ärzte taten zwar alles, was in ihrer Macht stand, um kranke Patienten zu heilen, aber die Ernährungslehre galt als der wichtigste Bereich der medizinischen Praxis. Schließlich muss nicht geheilt werden, wer sich vernünftig ernährt.

Die Ernährungslehre war ein Rezept für eine geordnete Lebensweise, das die Menschen nicht nur in Angelegenheiten des Essens und Trinkens beriet, sondern auch in Bezug auf alle beherrschbaren Aspekte des Lebens, die das Wohlbefinden betrafen - wie der Ort, an dem sie wohnten, Sport, Schlafmuster, Darmbewegungen, sexuelle Aktivitäten und ein Bereich, der von der Medizin heute komplett vernachlässigt wird: die Kontrolle der Emotionen.

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