Michaelangelo's David considers the history of planting design and wonders if the LCHF diet would help the obesity epidemic

Michaelangelo’s David has wandered from his usual haunt, outside the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence, to visit the nearby garden of the Villa La Petraia. Looking west, he sees his American cousin, Dave, and wonders why he eats so much bread, candy and icecream, and why he has grown so fat, and why he has diabetes and heart disease. The trouble, David concludes, is that so many of his male contemporaries, despite their admiration for his lean figure, became interested in the aesthetic aspect of garden design. In Michaelangelo’s day, the main use of gardens was to grow vegetables and herbs, to flavour the fresh meat hunted on the hills around Florence, and fresh fruit, to eat as a desert. The Baroque style originated in Italy, but was developed in France and then returned to influence Italy. The old beds of fruit, herbs and vegetables then became ornamental and were laced with the clipped box hedges we see in Italian gardens today. Italian nobles turned away from their ‘Palaeolithic’ diet of meat, vegetables and herbs. Instead, they began to stuff themselves with pasta. Baroque navigation took Europeans to the Americas and by the late twentieth century Americans were stuffing themselves with pizza, hamburgers, candy and sweet soft drinks. This gave them the characteristic Dave figure, also seen at Villa La Petraia. Luckliy, Dr. Eenfeldt,, from Sweeden has given the Americans an excellent lecture on the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet and you can see it on Youtube. See also: Sugar may be the world’s worst poison – so the EU subsidises sugar growers through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

4 thoughts on “Michaelangelo's David considers the history of planting design and wonders if the LCHF diet would help the obesity epidemic

  1. Christine

    I thought that perhaps David, unlike his American cousin Dave, might enjoy more italian ice, limone (fragola, lampone, mandarino, melone, abricocca, tarroocco etc) gelato, italian lemon cake, semifreddo and drink more home made lemonade and limoncello with his chicken piccata or italian sardine pasta with caper and lemon dressing before finishing with a sweet sponge with lemon custard and marsala or lemon pasticiotti?

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      No, no and no.
      David’s patrons, or perhaps his owner if he was a slave (there were many slaves in renaissance Italy), will have eaten too much sugar but it seems most unlikely that a high-born youth would work as a nude model so he probably lived off fresh meat and fresh vegetables. Sea fish, like sardines, were a luxury, though they would have been good for his Omega 3 intake.

  2. christine

    In the renaissance most of the spices that were used in Europe were imported from the Phillipines and India:

    “However spices were very expensive for a long time there
    was no known all water route to the West. So instead the spices had to change
    hands as much as 5 or 6 times. Indian spice farmers would grow the spices. They
    would then sell them to Arabs who would travel across the land by camel to the
    west edge off the Mediterranean where they would in turn sell them to the European merchants.

    This long line of middlemen came to an end, though, in 1498 when the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama discovered the first all water route to India. The discovery of an all water route to India allowed European Merchants to deal directly with Indian spice dealers. This made spices cheaper throughout all of Europe. However, the elimination of Arab middlemen created
    much uproar throughout the Middle East. Although most men did not have to worry
    about them, the trek for men passing through these areas became very dangerous,
    and attacks on caravans became much more common.

    Explorers brought back countless new foods and spices from territories that they found. Columbus was the first European other than the Norsemen to make it to the New World. When he
    came back he brought with him: Potatoes, tomatoes, corn, and squash from the
    north, and peppers, and beans from the Caribbean and South America. Among
    other commonly traded goods from the New World were cocoa, sugar, and tobacco.”
    [ http://www.thehistoryconnection.com/Renaissance-Food.html ]

    It seems that David’s diet is based on locally available produce and overland trade while Dave’s diet benefits from the rise of sea trade in the age of maritime exploration.

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      There has been much debate about da Vinci’s model for the Mona Lisa but I am not aware of a similar debate over the model for Michaelangelo’s David. However, it has often been suggested that Michaelangelo was homosexual. This leads us to wonder about whether the model for David was upper class or lower class. If he was an aristocratic youth, his diet could have been what is now called ‘neolithic’ (ie meat and fruit). If lower class, it is more likely to have been that of a medieval peasant (ie starch relieved by herbs, spices and fat). Dave’s diet is more predictable and can be characterised as ‘Macdonalds’. He probably has far, far too much High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and can be expected to fall to CHD or diabetes or a stroke.


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