“Whoa, Walt Whitman was a lifestyle columnist for modern-day Brooklyn hipster dudes,” my pal Cathy Erway tweeted today, linking to a fun NPR piece. Apparently, the legendary 19th century writer started an advice column called “Manly Health and Training" in 1858 during a period of uncertainty with his journalism career, possibly to rebrand himself as a lifestyle writer and lecturer.
Walt had very strong opinions on important topics such as beards, cold baths, and dancing. But what was most interesting were his thoughts on the optimal diet for the “hearty man”. Pork, lobster, butter, ketchup, and potatoes were among the many things to be avoided. What to consume instead? “A simple diet of rare-cooked beef, seasoned with a little salt, and accompanied with stale bread or sea-biscuit.”