Introduction and You Are What You Eat

Hello my wonderful readers! As this is my first post I wanted to take some time to explain this little project I am doing. I am an honors student at California State University, Chico. As an honors student I must complete a project or thesis as my capstone for graduation. I decided to do this blog for my capstone. The theme of the blog is Know It Before You Eat It. I have always firmly believed in this saying, but I wanted to take it one step further. As a college student this is the time to explore different topics and ask the why questions. In the span of this semester I want to explore basic nutrition and different topics that are contained within nutrition itself. So some weeks I might explore lifestyles, science, ethics, religion, or even philosophy within nutrition. It will be interdisciplinary of different areas I have learned about in my college career. I will share all my discoveries here and analyze them. I hope that this project can inspire others to ask more about the foods they eat, because knowledge is the key to a healthy and happy lifestyle.

So to start this blog off I want to dive into the old saying “you are what you eat.” This saying is the honest truth. To explain, think of our bodies as machines. In order to fuel our bodies you must supply it with food. The body then breaks down, metabolizes, the food into supplies that our bodies use. So for example, calories are found in almost all foods. Calories are metabolized in the body to heat, which is used for energy. So depending on how many calories you intake depends how much energy your body has to work with. Think of calories as the gas to keep your body going. Your tank only needs a certain amount depending on you as a person. We tend to eat a lot more calories than are actually necessary for our body to function. In America we also have a tendency to eat empty calories, which are calories that don’t provide a lot of beneficial nutrients. That’s why its better to eat fruits and vegetables because they provide low calories and tons of nutrients. It also means you can eat more of them.

Water is also another huge part of our bodies. It makes up 60% of the body so in turn it makes up a large part of our diet. Think of water as the lubricant for our body. I do understand our body sounds a lot like a car, but just go with it. That lubricant helps all of our organs and moving body parts function. It also regulates body temperature and is a solvent, meaning it dissolves other substances. It carries nutrients and other materials around the body. On average you need 6 to 12 cups of water a day just to replenish the water used for bodily functions. You can now see how vital water is to our bodies, and yet most people struggle with getting enough. A way to improve your water intake is to carry a water bottle around so that on a regular basis you can drink, rather than waiting till meals to drink.

Micronutrients also make up your body. For example, Vitamin D is necessary for your body to be able to absorb and use minerals. So with out adequate Vitamin D intake you would not be able to absorb Calcium, which is essential for hardening your teeth and bones. Charlotte Martin, a PhD Candidate on Human Molecular Nutrition at the University of New Castle, writes about how nutrients interact with your body and also your genes. “One example of gene-nutrient interaction can be found in cases of vitamin deficiencies. A vitamin deficiency can be caused by either insufficient intake or by the body’s ability to metabolize it because of a genetic variation” (Martin). Think of vitamins and minerals as the gears of our body. They are crucial for parts of the body to do basic functions. It’s important to know which foods give you these daily vitamins and minerals so that you are aware if you are lacking in an area. Fruits and vegetables usually have high doses of these and are just another reason you should eat more of them.

“Dean Ornish, MD, and his colleagues did a study of assigning men with prostate cancer to a “clean living” intervention that included a wholesome, plant-based diet; regular physical activity; and stress management, they demonstrated a marked reduction in the activity of genes that can promote prostate cancer grown and a significant increase in the genes that are able to control it” (Katz). It’s all about what is put into your system that will either help it run smoothly or create more difficulties for it. You only get one body so I feel we should do everything we can to keep it in tiptop shape. So obviously this would involve eating the best we can to provide it with the best tools and resources. I have such a passion for nutrition because I personally love myself and I think everyone is constantly striving for that. One of the ways I celebrate myself is taking care of my body. It just naturally makes me feel happier knowing that I am doing good for myself by providing myself with nutritious food.  This is why I want to strive to help us all know it before we eat it.

Work Citation

Katz, David. “Mom Was Right: You Are What You Eat.” NBC News. (2010): Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35350889/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/mom-was-right-you-are-what-you-eat/

Martin, Charlotte. “Personalized nutrition unravels why you are what you eat.” Conversation. (2013): Web. 18 Sep. 2013. <http://theconversation.com/personalised-nutrition-unravels-why-you-are-what-you-eat-12668&gt;.

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