Nutritional Principles

Nutrition affects the entire human being, that is to say, the body, but also his vitality and psycho-spiritual state of mind. For this reason, Rudolf Steiner began to give indications already in his earliest lectures 100 years ago on an appropriate nutrition not just for an esotericist, but for all human beings. With the advent of biodynamic agriculture, this consciousness was extended to include not just the selection of foodstuffs like grains or potatoes, but also to the standard of their cultivation. Consequently, it is an agricultural method that is not just a service to the earth itself, but the products it produces provide healthy nutritional sustenance for people.

Dietary practices based on anthroposophical principles differ from other “alternative” diets, like the German Dr Werner Kolliath’s whole foods diet (Vollwerternahrung) or the Hay Diet, in a number of ways. It expands the underlying knowledge of natural science in the sphere of nutrition with a holistic view of the human being as an animated physical and soul-spiritual being. Consequently, a person does not simply require food products to feed him but needs also to take in life energies for his vitality and psychological and spiritual activities through what he eats. There are therefore no fixed prescriptions for the use of specific foods. Every person must decide for him or herself.

Diet is determined locally by the particular culture and agriculture of a region. One does not eat the same way in Asia as one does in America, and there are marked differences in how Southern and Northern Europeans eat. The Rye bread popular in Central and Eastern Europe is quite unusual in the Southern European countries and certainly in the tropics, and hence probably also of little value. In America a lot of Maize is consumed, in Europe not very often.

Millet, a common traditional grain in Africa, is relatively unknown in Asia. We must therefore conclude that nutrition is not something uniform, but has to adapt to individual needs, to the prevailing culture of the people, and to the climate. Anthroposophical nutritional guidelines leave much room for individual choice and take into account the local and cultural conditions.