Apologies to Hippocrates for stealing the title of this post from his famous quote, but it perfectly reflects my focus recently. I have been eating poorly (serious understatement) and want to reverse that. I don’t come to this lacking information. It has long been an area of interest for me.
I’ve watched a lot of documentaries on health, food, vitamins etc. and other health related films over the years. Among them are:
Super Size Me
That Sugar Film
Forks Over Knives
Hungry for Change
Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
These are just a few of the food-related documentaries that I have seen. I am most certainly forgetting some that I saw years ago. I am also sure that there are a ton of great docs out there I have never heard of – if you know of one not on my list, please let me know.
The latest thing I checked out on the subject however, was a book, The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat by Tim Spector. It is a fascinating look at how our health is affect – in fact, controlled by our gut biome. The theory is that the bacteria that live in our gut could have more to do with our weight and health than the food we eat. It also appears to play a factor in everything from our food cravings to how we metabolize what we eat.
The idea behind the book is that we can modify our micro-biome by what we eat and that in turn, will not only drastically modify our health but also make it easier to stick to eating the good stuff.
So what foods improve the makeup of your gut? Well, as it turns out, it is as unique as you are. Some people do great with added garlic, some need to eat more leeks and on and on. There are a few things that seem to be beneficial to all. Fiber is a big one.
I had thought that fiber going through the system sort of ‘scraped’ the plaque and bad stuff away, but the real benefit of fiber is that it stays together longer than other foods thus providing a source of energy for the bacteria throughout the trip through the colon, and intestines. Staying together longer allows more varieties of your biome to feed throughout the trip.
Another thing that has been removed from most of our diets is food in its natural state. As we process foods more and more, we kill the useful bacteria. In our all out water against bacteria, we not only kill the dangerous ones, but the ones we rely upon for our health. This scorched-earth strategy has the effect of being more harmful than good.
The Diet Myth is a great read and worth you time. Check it out… its really good stuff.
This book and others like it continue to show us how very little we know about our bodies. Thousands of years of medicine have certainly not gone to waste but to think we understand it all is arrogant and dangerous.
Time and again, I have found that my cravings usually point me in the right direction. Yes, I crave a Coke now and again and know that is not a good choice, but when I really pay attention to cravings it is exactly what my body needs. I rarely crave really bad stuff and most of my poor eating is a result of eating out of boredom.
What are you experiences?