This is an attempt to undertake a comparative and holistic study of the diets of histories greatest minds. After all, you are what you eat. Certain foods make you feel energized. Certain foods make you feel slightly euphoric. Certain foods make you feel a little sick. Maybe certain foods can make you feel a little smarter. Are there certain food trends among the worlds intellectual elite which are worth mimicking?
Assumptions: Holistic and Comparative.
A diet does not exist in a vacuum. I assume that there are food chemistries which make the sum of the foods eaten different from the individual parts. Perhaps Leibnitz ate a normal German diet plus an additional 2 pounds of herring a month. Well, you couldn't eat a ninth century Southern Italian diet plus 2 pounds of herring to achieve the same effect.
Angiogenesis, the formation of blood vessels within the body, also provides fat tissue and cancers with needed nutrition. In a TED Talk in Feb 2010, William Li of the Angiogenesis Foundation outlines how the process of Angiogenesis works, and foods which inhibit that process. During the talk he also proposes that preventing angiogenesis can inhibit obesity and cancer. Here's a short list of the foods that Mr. Li provided in his talk:
Einstein apparently ate meat for most of his life. However, for at least the last year of his life he did become a vegetarian. To quote directly from the International Vegetarian Union
The latest indications we have suggest that Einstein was vegetarian only for the last year or so of his life, though he appears to have supported the idea for many years before practising it himself.
"So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore."
This was from a letter written to Hans Muehsam, and dated March 30, 1954, which was about 1 year before Einstein died. This indicates he adopted a vegetarian diet at the end of his life. Previously, on August3, 1953 Einstein had written the following in a letter to Max Kariel, suggesting that he was still eating meat at that time:
Telsa was a singular genius. His patents laid the groundwork for the alternating current electrical systems in place around the world. His other work included the AC motor, radio (contested), general work in electromagnetism. His work covered so much fascinating territory that I can only really recommend reading about him.
He also got a little bit crazy as he got older. At least that's the story. The story may well exist only to discredit the man, something that Thomas Edison excelled at doing. According to the regular story, he started going downhill sometime after his Wardenclyffe project went bust around 1915 or so.
The reason that I mention this is that Tesla did not have a constant diet through his life. As he grew older his diet changed. He went through a phase where he substituted fish for meat. Later on he stopped eating any sort of flesh. However, the dates of these dietary changes are not recorded online. It can be ascertained that he stopped eating meat, but still ate fish, sometime before 1900. In 1900 a story was published wherein he described his reasons for not eating meat.
Inventor, Philosopher, and all around genius. Mr. Franklin became a vegetarian around the age of 16. There is some contention as to whether or not Franklin later dropped vegetarianism. Judging from the passages I have read it is likely that he generally only ate fish, if any meat at all.
Mr. Franklin also preached moderation in diet. One of his 13 virtues was 'Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.' It's tough to say whether he followed this advice or not -- but if not he certainly blamed his lack of moderation for a recurring illness. From Ron Kurtus in an article on the Thirteen Virtues:
Although Franklin tried to follow the virtues himself, he sometimes strayed from his good intentions. For example, in his Almanack, Poor Richard (Franklin) gave this advice:
"Be temperate in wine, in eating, girls, and cloth, or the Gout will seize you and plague you both."
Meanwhile, Franklin relished his food, womanized and sometimes dressed to impress people. His food and wine-drinking habits led him to be plagued with the gout for much of his life. But still, the positive intentions were there.