a guide to Nikola Tesla's diet and eating habits

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It can be said that having the genius gift is just as much a curse as it is a blessing. And when you look at Nikola Tesla, one of the most influential inventors throughout history [1], it becomes clear why brilliance can taste so bittersweet.

This particular inventor was many things, some of which will be shared in this article just for interest sake, but his approach to food is no doubt one of his distinct characteristics.

So, if you want to know more about what this creative genius ate, please stick around for some brain food and a little background about this important individual.

Who Was Nikola Tesla?

a portrait of nikola tesla

It is general knowledge that Tesla’s inventions made him a prodigy of sorts, and he had the education to help him excel in his work [2].

But what people might not know is that Tesla was somewhat of a showman too. When it came to impressing the rich and famous with his inventions, Tesla would literally put on a show for them inside his lab.

As for love, it seems he simply couldn’t be bothered with romance. And many regard him as an asexual, given that he never showed any interest in getting married or starting a relationship. He prioritized his work above everything, and he really loved feeding pigeons.

He liked feeding them so much, the hotels he stayed in complained about the mess.

No, Tesla didn’t exactly live out his last years in peace and he was eccentric, but it wasn’t because of his diet. It was finances that saw him go through tough times, although it never stopped the genius from experimenting with a healthy mind and body.

The Tesla Approach to Food

How many times have you heard that Western societies are used to over-sized portions? It is no secret that experts recommend cutting down on portions significantly, and it’s mainly because of the obesity problems several countries are facing, including the United States.

Now, consider the fact that Tesla pointed out the same problem about people eating too much, and he lived between 1856 and 1943.

According to the Austrian inventor in an interview he did at age 77, selected amounts of the right foods per day helped him to stay focused, creative, and capable [4].

For Tesla, food was consumed wisely and without any type of over-indulgence [3]. Plus, he only ate twice a day. Tesla followed a dominantly vegetarian diet, although he did eat a little bit of meat – and not because he wanted to. In fact, he considered the process of eating meat barbaric.

Tesla’s Daily Diet Menu

milk was one of Tesla's favorite breakfast options

By now you are probably very curious to know what Nikola Tesla’s daily diet looked like? Given the man was a creative genius and spurred the development of wireless technology, his menu definitely becomes something of interest.

Morning

  • One or two glasses of milk, alongside some eggs he prepared personally.

Afternoon

  • Tesla never ate lunch, and he never broke this rule.

Evening

  • Celery or something similar
  • Soup
  • A small single piece of chicken, meat, or fish
  • Potatoes
  • One additional vegetable

Dessert:

While so many people like cake or ice-cream for dessert, Tesla only indulged two options most of the time. An apple and a slice of cheese.

And, of course, Tesla loved water and milk.

Foods Tesla Avoided

A pile of potatoes, something Tesla avoided

There is no question that Tesla followed what can only be described as a “minimalist” diet. He only ate what he felt absolutely necessary while maintaining regular water intake.

But Tesla didn’t just have a passion for vegetables, especially potatoes. In addition to saying potatoes should be eaten every day, he had a list of foods he would never touch. These include acid-producing foods like peas and beans.

Tesla related in the interview that for the most part, people eat too much of these and it overburdens their body. He wanted to really maintain the health of his stomach, and for him, this called for cutting anything that produced acids.

Tesla also states that while fish is great for the brain, it brings with it an acid reaction.

He believed that one of the most difficult problems old people face is handling acidity in the body after enjoying a life of over-indulgence. But sticking to the right diet from the beginning can not only prevent problems down the line but also promote a higher quality of life during your final years.

At some point, Tesla praised alcohol as being the elixir of life. But he had no time for stimulants like tobacco or coffee, and he predicted both would most likely become absolute in the future.

What About Exercise?

If you think this inventor spent all day in the lab, you are mistaken. As someone who literally avoided sleep when possible, he entertained a very active lifestyle. For example, he walked between 8 and 10 miles every day, and he only utilized quick transport if he was pressed for time.

So, with only one or two hours of sleep per day, regular exercise, and following a diet that doesn’t burden the body with acidity buildup, Tesla surprised quite a lot of people by living as long as he did.

At What Age Did Tesla Die?

a portrait of Nikola Tesla before his death

This article isn’t suggesting that everyone should throw their diets out the window and follow exactly what Tesla did. But the article does aim to prove how influential food consumption can be.

Tesla said it himself, a bad diet makes an individual less productive, and Tesla was a man of action. For him, anything that didn’t involve going forward was counter-productive and shouldn’t be part of your life.

Tesla may have died alone in a hotel room, but he was 86 years-old, sharp and capable right till the end [5].

So maybe this is a sign to look at how you are treating your body and mind with the diet you are following?Do you want to enjoy your final years, or do you want to fight those aches and pains?

Resources

Here’s an interesting short video, detailing the dietary habits of geniuses, including Tesla:

  1. Nikola Tesla Biography. Retrieved at https://www.biography.com/inventor/nikola-tesla
  2. Christopher Klein, 6 Brilliant Tesla Inventions That Never Got Built, History. Retrieved at https://www.history.com/news/6-brilliant-tesla-inventions-never-built
  3. Paul Ratner, How to Diet and Exercise Like the Genius Inventor Nikola Tesla, Big Think. Retrieved from https://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/how-to-diet-and-exercise-like-the-genius-inventor-nikola-tesla
  4. In a 1933 interview, 77-year-old Tesla spoke about what kept him going in life, Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/BigThinkdotcom/posts/in-a-1933-interview-77-year-old-tesla-spoke-about-what-kept-him-going-in-life/10154595159273527/
  5. Nikola Tesla Timeline, Tesla Universe. Retrieved from https://teslauniverse.com/nikola-tesla/timeline/1943-nikola-tesla-dies-age-86

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