You Are What You Eat (more or less)


Upon hearing this research study on the impact of diet on our health, I was reminded of the old saying: “you are what you eat”   


The Centre for Disease Control ( March 10/04) announced a dramatic increase in the number of Americans dying due to obesity. Specifically, they predicted that poor diet and physical inactivity will soon become the number one killer, replacing smoking as the leading health threat.  


The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are well documented. On the other hand, everyone seems to know a person who contracted a life threatening illness even though they have been eating well and do not smoke. When this happens many people conclude that it doesn’t matter what you eat. They will say things like: “you may as well enjoy yourself” or “we all have to go some time.”  As a result, they can justify continuing their less-than-healthy lifestyle.  


These apparent contradictions can be explained by “biochemical individuality.”  Since the 1920’s, researchers have known that we all respond differently to foods, the environment and stress.  The reasons for our individuality are many. Genetic weakness can make us more susceptible to certain conditions.  We can also have permanent damage from bacterial or viral infections. The point is that two people eating the same diet, living in a similar environment and having similar stress levels, may respond very differently.  One person will be fine and the other can develop allergies or more serious health conditions.


In my training in Holistic Health and Nutrition, I have learned another saying: “you are what you can digest and assimilate.  Just because you eat good food does not guarantee you are receiving its nutrition.  Good diet must go hand in hand with ensuring you are getting full nutritional value from food.  Unfortunately, many people do not know if they are getting value from their food until they develop serious health problems.


What can you do?

There are clues that you are not taking in all the nutrition from your food.  These clues will vary from one person to the next, but some common ones are: fatigue, indigestion, irregularity or a tendency to pick up whatever is “going around.”


In my Holistic Health practice, I work with people to help them interpret these clues and improve their digestion and assimilation.  In this way they can get the full value from their food.  Then they can truly say: “you are what you eat.”