You Are What You Eat
by Matthew Powell
A Body Aware Specialist
Ah, I love these old adages. They make almost no sense but they rattled off the tongues of our parents and grandparents before quicker than you can say, “eating carrots makes you see in the dark”. Of course they do.
The logic is that if you eat fat, you’ll be fat, or if you eat healthily, you’ll be healthy, but that rationale falls down in the lightest of questioning breezes. For example, 30% of our diets give or take should come from essential fats. Avocado, seeds and nuts, and sardines are all jam packed with fat (and calories too) but all are known and thought of as healthy. The reason is that these fats are ESSENTIAL fats, literally, hence the name essential fatty acids, and we must have these to maintain a myriad of necessary functions in the body.
If you eat the protein, the whole protein, and nothing but the protein you won’t turn into Mr Universe, you will however smell strongly of ammonia, the main ingredient in smelling salts, as the protein is broken down into amino acids and the excess leaves your body through sweat, breath and urine. Nice. Renal (kidney) failure is another desirable side effect of excessive protein intake over a long period.
And carbs, what happens if you eat predominantly carbs? Well there’s no fat in them, so it couldn’t make you fat, right? Perhaps if you eat pasta and pasta alone you’ll become Italian – tempestuous, a dab hand in the kitchen, and no mug with the ladies – or if you focus solely on potatoes perhaps you’ll become Irish – legendary on the sauce but you may want to steer clear of investing money in the housing market (given the plethora of borderline racist stereotypes I could have used I had to think long and hard on that one).
So what’s the answer? Well not one that fits into a pithy strap line, alas. Eat healthy, treat yourself to a little sinning once in a while, stay (nutritionally) balanced. Now I think about it, if you do it right, maybe you should be what you eat – healthy, a little sinful, and balanced. Those old wives, I’ve always admired their wisdom.