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You are what you eat

We have all heard that you are what you eat but have any of us really given it much thought? If you are one of the millions following a traditional diet, possibly even having gone as far as including low fat products in your eating plan believing that this will enhance your health, think again.

Our 21st century diets supply cheap and low nutritional value calories with poor nutrient content and toxic additives. We consume junk food and down energy drinks to stay awake, more often than not we pop a pill to go to sleep and when the weekend comes we fall over on the couch from pure exhaustion. Sound familiar? You are not alone but you can make new, liberating choices.

The problem

We are caught in the middle of a crossfire between food and drug companies driven by shareholder value or more accurately shareholder greed. On the other hand we have a health care system whose answer for any ailment is popping a pill or invasive, possibly unnecessary, surgery. All of this is unfortunately further compounded by our own lack of understanding of how our body functions. We are far too quick to outsource this to a “professional”.

Doctors are often treating a blood test or an e-xray rather than treating a person, all in the name of science and money. The human body is a complex, integrated system and needs to be treated as such. Unfortunately far too often the medical profession operates in silos and treats our bodies in a similar siloed fashion.

Our cholesterol medication causes blood pressure issues, which causes yet another issue requiring treatment and before you blink you have bottles of tablets treating the symptoms of symptoms and none getting closer to providing you with the health you deserve.

How often are pharmaceutical companies not the ones funding the studies supporting the “miracle” claims of every new drug they produce?

Research shows that a healthy person who undergoes one single night of sleep deprivation will have impaired insulin sensitivity the following day. How many people know this?

Yes, we know loss of sleep is bad but do we know why and how this impacts insulin in our bodies and conseqently that we should be even more aware of our sugar/carbohydrate intake post a poor night’s sleep?

Research further shows that gluten may present a unique inflammatory challenge, impairing insulin sensitivity and predisposing one to weight gain, irrespective of the carbohydrates with which it is bundled.


Cholesterol is very often the innocent bystander, present at the scene but rarely the villian in the heart diet hypothesis or the idea that cholesterol in and of itself causes heart disease. Cholesterol is a vital nutrient for the body and particularly for the brain, where 25% of the body total cholesterol can be found. It is also a critical component of every cell membrane. There is even some data suggesting that higher cholesterol may be protective against dementia.

The average person will produce the equivalent of four egg yolks worth of cholesterol in their bodies daily.

The question is how much control do you take of your health? Or do you still trust the medical industry and big pharma?

Maybe it really is just genetics. Our genes are still considered to be the biological map that determines our future in a way that appears to be fixed and unchangeable, but is this the whole truth?

DNA – friend or foe?

The human genome project shows us, however, that what distinguishes one person from the next is actually quite insignificant from a genetic perspective, accounting for less that 1% of total genetic variation. As Max Lugavere asks, why then do some people live well into their nineties maintaining robust brains and bodies, while others do not?

Enter epigenetics. If our genes are likened to the keys on a grand piano with 23 thousand notes, we now understand that our choices are able to influence the song that is played. This is because while our choices can’t change our hard-coded genetics, they can impact the layer of chemicals that sits atop our DNA, telling them what to do. This layer is called the epigenome.

So will your genetic conductor be Leonard Bernstein or a fifth grade student pounding on the ivories for the first time? It may depend largely on your dietary choices (Max Lugavere).

What you eat – a brief teaser

What you eat will determine whether you will build a podium position immune system producing powerful brain boosting compounds or not. Your primary adversaries on your journey in claiming your right to living a full and healthy life are inflammation, overfeeding, nutrient deficiency, toxic exposure, chronic stress, physical stagnation and sleep loss. The great news in trying to understand how to change this is that most of the factors are inter-linked, hence dealing with one often improves the other.

For the first time in history we have more overweight than underweight people on earth. In the same vein never before have our eating habits killed more people than our smoking habits.

The most concentrated source of carbohydrates is refined sugar, which is now added to everything from seemingly healthy crackers, juices and condiments to blatant rogues like soft drinks. The problem is that the food industry has found 56 unique terms to disguise sugar on ingredients lists, e.g. cane juice, maple syrup, molasses, date sugar, maltodextrin etc. One needs to be a super sleuth to know where these culprits are hiding in our otherwise healthy packaged foods.

Sugar of course is not the only villian. Grains like wheat, corn and rice; as well as tubers such as potatoes (which are insulin stimulating) are all cultivated for maximum yield of starch and sugar. Today we are consuming more concentrated carbohydrates than ever before and getting a mere 15 grams of fibre on a really good day.

Why is this important to know? Because our bodies can break a starch into its constituent sugar molecules with the utmost ease. This conversion process does not even wait for you to swallow – it begins in your mouth. The end result is the production of the storage hormone insulin which is required to dispose of the oncoming sugar fest.

Today the majority of us know about the dangers of insulin and the dramatic associated increase of type 2 diabetes in our society today.

Be on the look out for fats that are far removed from their natural form since they fuel the underlying mechanisms of chronic disease e.g. canola oil, corn oil, soybean, vegetable oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, grapeseed oil and rice bran oil.

Some power foods

Good quality extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal which possess anti-inflammatory effects so powerful it is comparable to taking a small dose of ibuprofen. It is also a very rich source of monounsaturated fat, the healthy fat that maintains the health of your blood vessels and your liver.

Avocados are perfect to protect and enhance your brain. They are rich in vitamin E and the highest fat protecting capacity of any fruit or vegetable, which is good news for your brain since it is the fattiest organ in your body. They are an abundant source of healthy fats.

Today there is an epidemic of vascular disease. Potassium works with sodium to regulate blood pressure and is essential for vascular health. Today we consume insufficient amounts of potassium. In fact our ancestors ate 4 times a much potassium as we do. Avocados provide twice as much potassium as a banana as well as providing an incredible 12 grams of much needed fibre.

Blueberries are among the highest in antioxidant capacity because of their abundance of flavonoids, protecting the brain against cognitive degeneration. Good reason to go blue ladies and gents.

Dark chocolate is also a great choice (yes, yes, yes), however it must have cacao content > 80% . It is among the richest natural sources of magnesium.

Eggs (particularly the yolk) are another food previously demonised in the cholesterol drama yet they are one of the most nutritious foods you can consume. They contain a little bit of nearly every vitamin and mineral required by the human body.

Grass fed beef, dark leafy greens (low in sugar and packed with phytonutrients and other minerals that the brain desperately needs to function properly), broccoli (including brussel sprouts, cabbage, wok chop and kale), wild salmon (low in mercury and rich in both EPA and DHA omega 3 fats) and almonds (a potent brain food) are also among some of the most powerful foods you can include in your diet.

So you truly are not only what you say you are but you definitely ARE WHAT YOU EAT!

I love the power intentions, words and actions have to craft the life you dream of. I believe it key to ensure we all have bodies that can participate in that life you are creating. There is really no point in creating an awesome life and your health lets you down.

If you are tired of being taken advantage of by doctors, big pharma and food companies whose only true goal is maximising profits and you have enjoyed this teaser on taking control of your diet, your health, your cognitive abilities and living a life filled with energy and joy, I would strongly recommend that you read Genius Foods:Become Smarter, Happier and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere.

You do not have to be fooled a minute longer.

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