Where do we eat lunch?


The Greeks

A statue of Artemis (Her Roman equivalent is Diana). (Photo Credit : Evdoha_spb/Shutterstock)

The Greek goddess Artemis was the  goddess of the moon, chastity, and the hunt. The Greeks had celebrations in her name, in which they would make round cakes and light candles on them to symbolize the moon. The round shape would obviously represent the full moon, while the candles would represent the light of our nearest celestial neighbor.

But where did the Greeks get the idea for such celebrations? Believe it or now, they got it from the Egyptians, and more specifically, through their crowning ceremony for a pharaoh.

A hieroglyph depicting a pharaoh in a garden-like setting.  (Photo Credit : tan_tan/Shutterstock)

For ancient Egyptians, the crowning of a pharaoh represented the pharaoh becoming a god. Hence, the crowning ceremony was widely celebrated. The Greeks borrowed this idea of large celebrations in honor of a person or a god.


5. Personality Type

Each of us is different, and how we approach change varies with our personality types. Some WLC members prefer the flexibility to move foods around to accommodate hunger and changing schedules. Others want a specific detailed list of foods to eat and avoid. Some people simply need to stay the course exactly; left with too many decisions, they overeat.

Knowing your “diet personality” will offer insight into why you make some of your food choices. Ultimately, you decide which approach works best to help you control the type and quantity of food you consume.

Baking Powder and the Industrial Revolution

Cake batter being made.  (Photo Credit : S_Photo/Shutterstock)

In the 1800s, a British chemist by the name of Alfred Bird was working on a series of food products. His wife, Elizabeth Bird, was allergic to yeast and eggs. Instead of using hydrochloric acid (previously known as muriatic acid, used to initiate baking), he combined tartaric acid, cornstarch and sodium bicarbonate to make “baking powder”.

Simple as it sounds, this shift was monumentally important.

Cakes could now rise higher, be lighter, and the process was much faster than utilizing yeasts. A “cake” used to mean a flat, round, fruit-filled treat, but the resulting delicacies from baking powder were much more sophisticated—and delicious!

Women working in a cotton industry.  (Photo Credit : Everett Historical/ Shutterstock)

This recipe came at the time when the Industrial Revolution was gaining momentum, and a capitalistic system was setting up in Europe and other parts of the world. Hence, with baking powder able to reduce baking time, and with mass production made possible by the industrial revolution, bakeries and cakes also became a booming industry where everyone could have a cake and everyone could celebrate their birthday the right way!

Food for Thought

One of my favorite food science studies has to do with wine–also one of my favorite foods! In this study, researchers wanted to know if what you think about food effects how you eat. Researchers got $2 wine and put two different labels on them. One said the wine was from North Dakota and the other said the wine was from California. North Dakota is not exactly known for its vineyards, whereas California wine is known to be superb around the world. Researchers wanted to know if this thought expectation changed people’s expectation of the taste. Sure enough, people who got the California wine said the wine tasted better AND the entire meal tasted better. People who got the North Dakota bottle rated the wine and the meal lower. This tells us that the power of thought is incredibly powerful. This is called:

Expectation Assimilation: The notion that our taste perceptions are biased by our imagination, and if you expect a food to taste good it will. And if you expect a food to taste unpleasant it will.

In one crazy study, researchers made participants eat chocolate yogurt in a dark room. They told the participants the yogurt was strawberry flavored even though they were all eating chocolate. 59% of participants rated the yogurt as having a “nice strawberry flavor”! They expected strawberry and they tasted strawberry.

Food Hack: Set high food expectations. Sure, you are eating broccoli, but take a moment before you eat it to remind yourself that you are eating crunchy, fresh broccoli. Did you make a smoothie from scratch? Then set the expectation of eating a delicious homemade, hand-crafted smoothie.

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2. Favorite Foods

Ask most any expert about the secret to weight loss, and you”ll hear that it”s essential to keep favorite foods as part of a healthy diet. Let”s face it; we all grew up with fond memories of foods that bring us joy.

About Science of People

Our mission is to help you achieve your social and professional goals faster using science-backed, practical advice. Our team curates the best communication, relationship, and social skills research; turning into actionable and relatable life skills. Science of People was founded by Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma.