Are we what we eat?



Are we to blame for our food allergies?
What’s the best diet for modern humans?
Are local foods better for us?
Are bacteria our selves?
Does the gut have a mind of its own?
What will we eat when there is no more food?

Our digestion depends upon millions of bacteria. It responds to food we choose to eat. It changes as we grow, as we lose and gain weight, and as we move to different locations. But it is, to a certain extent, independent of our mind and our behavior. Can we claim that the foreign objects, the bacteria, food, and environmental conditions are really us? If not, can we call our digestive tract our own?

This project will dive deep into the philosophy of anatomy, and look at the connection between digestion and our identity. Using a web portal centered on the questions highlighted above, it will take participants on a unique journey through some of our most complex organs. Through blogs, discussion boards, multimedia presentations, and other interactive tools, all of you will help answer a question we’ve heard a million times, but never really took seriously: are we what we eat?

Come back soon to learn how you can participate in this exciting new project.

Are We What We Eat is a project directed by IPPL Visiting Fellow Jon Jackson. For more information, write to

Do you have any comments or thoughts you want us to think about as we develop this project? Please post them below.