recent trip to Boston for the scientific sessions of the
American Diabetes Association, we had the opportunity to meet
fellow patriot Samuel Adams, circa 1773. Dressed in his fine
tailored waistcoat and breeches and staying totally in
character, Adams asked us, "What brings you to our fine
explained that we here for a diabetes conference.
he repeated back to us with the curiosity of someone who had
never heard this term.
disease that will be rampant in this country in a few hundred
years from your era, I said.
he pondered, "this die-a-beet-eze could be treated with a
bit of blood-letting?"
not, I answered, except for the tiny bit of blood needed to
let people with this condition know if they have a normal
amount of glucose in their blood.
see," he said, as if trying to understand this strange
practice they surely did not have in pre-revolutionary Boston.
asked Adams’ about his famous name. In 200 years or so,
people will remember your name, I said.
of your fellow patriots will associate your name with a
certain brand of beer, I continued.
that’s very unlikely!" he chuckled. "I did inherit
my father’s brewery but…shall we say…I have not been
very successful in running such a venture."
learned that Samuel Adams was indeed a poor businessman. But
he was an extremely gifted orator and one of the organizers of
the Boston Tea Party in 1773. After that event, historians say
that Adams and other "Sons of Liberty" of his day
considered tea drinking to be unpatriotic. This led to a
decrease in tea sales in the colonies and perhaps contributed
to American’s current adoration of coffee.
Adams went on to become a founding father of our country and
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He may
not have had a clear understanding of nutritional science in
his day, but he spoke brilliantly and passionately about our
duties to stand up for what is right. I will think about that
a bit more this Independence Day.