"You Are What You Eat"
Posted by P on January 10, 2002
In Reply to: "You Are What You Eat" posted by Douglas Becker on January 10, 2002
: I enjoy the origin offered here, that this expression originates in the Hippy Era of the sixties and is associated with eating natural foods, however I also know that this was an expression/concept popular in 19th century German Philosophy.
Your theory about the phrase coming originally from German philosophy makes sense.
I believe that the English version of the phrase was made popular or may have even been coined by Victor H Lindlahr who published the book titled "You Are What You Eat" in 1940 (I have not found any earlier written reference to the phrase.) See a picture of the book here.
www.phrases.org.uk bulletin_board 10 messages 1034.html
However Victor Lindlahr was the son of Dr Henry Lindlahr, who is considered to be "the founder of American Naturopathy, or perhaps more accurately stated, the bringer of the German Nature Cure to the States". Before he became a doctor Henry Lindlahr attended the clinic of Father Sebastian Kneipp (1824-1897) in Bavaria, to attempt to be cured of diabetes using the natural methods that Father Kneipp employed, such as a strict fruit and vegetable diet. (He did get cured of his diabetes.)
If Victor H Lindlahr was the originator of the English version of the phrase it is not hard to imagine that he would have originated it from the German phrase. (Also I believe that Lindlahr / Lindlar is a German surname.)