Time to take literally the old adage “You are what you eat”

“You are what you eat”

We hear this phrase a lot these days – I’ve always understood it as the notion that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food.  It got me thinking about how long the old adage had been around.

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote in the ‘Physologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendente, 1826

“Dis moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es”
[Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are]  

It’s not all about what you eat, it’s how

It’s not just what you eat, it’s also how you eat it. These days we are so busy that we often grab something from a shop which is often processed in some way. If you don’t feel too good after eating it, rather than it being the actual food you are eating, you might be reacting to the stabilisers or the additives that have gone into it to keep that produce fresh for longer.

We are often so busy that we literally gobble our food down without taking the time to properly chew it.

“We should chew our drinks and drink our solids.”
– Ghandi

In other words, chew your food longer so that it becomes almost liquid like in consistency. That is bound to help you digest your food better

The heavy stuff

Some researchers in the medical and research community consider that many gut problems (including IBD – Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) are caused by allergy, the wrong bugs / bacteria in the gut and/or poor digestion of foods. In Crohn’s disease there is often an allergy in play. This was suggested by Dr John Hunter of Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge who showed that many patients responded as well to the elimination diet (cutting foods out and reintroducing them one by one to see what the body reacted to) as they did to steroids.

Thanks to the hand I’ve been dealt in life, I have had to take this old adage quite literally and it is serving me pretty well. I’ve been very careful in what I eat. Recent tests show that the extent of Crohn’s dis ease hasn’t progressed in four years. Also, my inflammatory markers are normal. This is the equivalent of winning the lottery for Crohn’s sufferers. ‘Normal’ is music to my ears. It’s the inflammation that causes us Crohns sufferers real pain and problems.

Why did I luck out?

There are several reasons I believe that the inflammatory markers are normal. Perhaps some of these will help to ease your dis ease too.

Firstly, I have a very strict diet and lifestyle.
I follow it as strictly as I possibly can. Life is for living not for rolling around in pain and suffering from eating the wrong food.

Secondly I watch what I eat and drink.
Steak and chips, camembert, red wine, fizzy drinks and pizza play havoc with my tract.
I still have memories of these hedonistic morsels of magic. If I ate them I would not be able to lead the life do I do unless I was on strong meds that would have considerable side effects.

Thirdly, I know my approach and my diet may not work for others.
Our bodies are all so different. What works for me may not work for you.

Fourthly, it’s about trial and error.
I have many people asking what I eat and how I have managed to get the dis ease under control. I personally can tolerate carbs but if I eat too many of them I know to cut back. If you are coeliac then you will not be able to eat them.

It’s all about trial, error and a huge spoonful of patience and willpower.

Fifthly, it’s my simple diet:

Breakfast
A daily green juice (anti inflammatory and full of anti-oxidants) followed by a poached egg on sourdough (probiotic) or with avocado.
My easy-to-make green juice recipe HERE
If you can’t tolerate eggs try pre-soaked oatmeal (it is easier to  digest than oats) with raw honey. If the gut is playing up you can substitute with Ready Brek.

Snack:
I always carry some scooby snacks:
A banana, hard cheese and a plain cracker
(if you can’t tolerate cheese – substitute for avocado / hommous)
and a piece of two of high quality dark chocolate

Lunch
A homemade vegetarian soup
or
Vegetarian Quiche with lettuce and olives / artichokes

Supper
Fish or chicken/turkey and soft vegetables / potatoes / sweet potatoes (never ready meals)
or
Bone broth with soft carrot / celery / courgette / fresh herbs
– if I am really hungry I add rice noodles.

Drinks:
Getting the right amount of the correct fluids is the secret to anyone’s health.
I always have water, coconut water, maple water, and coconut milk without thickeners (try the Rude Health brand)

Conclusions

If you take away only three tips from this blog, please take the following:

  1. Reduce the amount of processed food you eat and try to reduce your sugar intake. Processed food is full of additives that may be making your innards scream in agony.
  2. Heed Gandhi’s word – chew your food long and well.
  3. Pimp your gut flora.
    Give the food you eat a better environment to live in.
    – become a gut culture vulture.
    You could choose a good quality refrigerated probiotic or Kefir (if it works for you). This will make sure your well chewed food has the best environment possible to digest and keep you going as if all were ‘normal’.

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