You are what you eat. A phrase that clearly expresses the importance of the food we choose to consume. You are what you eat. Health professionals have repeated it millions of times across the globe.
So, what the heck am I talking about when I say, “you ARE NOT what you eat”?
There is no question that the type of food we choose to put into our bodies is HUGELY important. Processed, nutrient-devoid, fast food is a massive contributor in chronic disease. What we eat matters a great deal when it comes to our health.
However, the saying - you are what you eat - is, as my mentor Andrea Nakayama often says, "true but partial". A more accurate statement is, we are what our bodies can do with what we eat. Put another way, we are what we can DIGEST and ABSORB from what we eat”
The human body needs fuel to grow and heal. It obtains that fuel, in large part, from the food we eat. However, the body cannot use the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that we eat. Those macronutrients must be broken down into simple sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids to be useful to the body.
So, where do carbohydrates, proteins, and fats get turned into the simple sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids that our bodies need? Yep, you guessed it, in our digestive tract. That gastrointestinal tract has the massively important role of breaking the foods we consume down into the fuel that our body can actually use.
If we don’t digest properly a whole bunch of problems can arise, for example:
- We can become malnourished on a cellular level as less of the simple sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals from our food are absorbed into our blood.
- Inappropriately broken down food can irritate the lining of the digestive tract which leads to inflammation and a host of digestive complaints including heart burn, gas, bloating, IBS, IBD, and more.
- An irritated gut can become “leaky” and allow partially digested proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to be absorbed into the blood. This is a big problem because our immune system will fight those “foreign” invaders.
My point. We need a well functioning digestive system in order to be healthy. Period. Yes, good food plays a critical role in health and healing but sometimes it isn’t enough. For example, if a woman has low stomach acid (incredibly common in the USA) she will not effectively absorb B12 & iron from food or supplements. So, instead of increasing dietary intake of iron & B12, we might consider how to increase the acidity of the stomach. If we don’t address the pH of the stomach all the grass-fed beef and fancy supplements in the world aren’t going to fix the problem.
So, does the quality of the food we eat matter? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY!!! And, we also need to remember:
We are what we can DIGEST and ABSORB from what we eat.
So, if you’ve cleaned up your diet and are still feeling crummy, don’t lose hope. Its time to dig deeper into the health of your digestive system. I’d be honored to hear about your wellness goals during a FREE 30-minute Strategy Session.