“You are what you eat.”
This quote was preceded by “Ninety per cent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs,” in a 1923 advertisement for beef. However, Victor was probably not the first to say this familiar line, or a version of it, in the history of humanity.
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,” in 1826.
In an essay titled Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, 1863/4, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote, “Man is what he eats.”
I’ve been trying to eat “healthy” for about the last 15 years and it has been quite the process. I started with buying low-fat dairy, then enlightening myself on healthy fats; subscribing to a nutritional cooking magazine and reading food labels.
Except at that time, I was still eating dairy and gluten and a number of items that weren’t really healthy for moi.
About eight years ago, I had to give up dairy due to lactose intolerance, but decided it would be awesome to go gluten-free at the same time. I was seriously all-in for many months and lost 17 pounds. While I tend to stick to dairy-free (except when I cheat with a little feta cheese because I’ve tried all of the cheese alternatives and only found one that is tolerable), the gluten-free part has had mixed results. It’s been difficult getting through holidays, birthdays, and down-and-out days when all I want is a big honkin’ piece of cake or several chocolate chip cookies. Someone here is good at making excuses and forgetting her willpower. Sugar has been a hurdle, for the same reasons, but I’ve been doing much better of late.
Last September, I chose to get serious about not eating the gluten and cutting carbs and sugar. I was having a hard time losing an extra 10 pounds (part of the 17 that I had regained), which hung around like an unwelcome friend. I also cut back on portion size and am happy to report that I have lost that 10 pounds, plus one or two more.
The hardest part of all, though, has been the last two weeks. I’ve been having indigestion/reflux issues over several months that finally caused the ceasing of daily coffee drinking and dark chocolate consumption.
Yes, I know. Some of you are gasping at the thought, but it was a necessity borne out of indigestion and acid reflux. I’ve known this for awhile now, that I had to quit these things and let the gut heal – along with beef, pork, citrus fruit and tomatoes. I’m not supposed to drink tea either, but one cup of Pu-erh tea in the morning gives me a little caffeine buzz and doesn’t seem to be affecting physical symptoms.
After getting through one headache day of caffeine withdrawal and several more days of fighting fatigue, I am noticing a difference. I didn’t realize how dependent my body had been on the affects of coffee.
Anyhow, that’s my food story. If I am what I eat, then I consist of chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, vegetables, apples and bananas, nut milk, soy cheese, cashews, avocado, and numerous forms of lettuce leaves. Healthy eats for the digestive track. Cheats are still present, but in the form of coconut milk ice cream, low-sugar cashew cookies, and an occasional trip to the local gluten-free, dairy-free, whatever-else-you-want-free bakery.
It’s all good. Really. I feel much better.
So, dear peeps, don’t feel sorry for my inability to eat pizza. Instead, describe yourself in food terms – up to three words.
What would you be? Coffee? Beef? Three-meat pizza? Chocolate cheesecake?
I’ll wait patiently and chew on a piece of lettuce while you decide.
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37 responses to I’m a Lettuce Leaf
I’ve just had a nightmare where my body betrays me and I can no longer eat what I want. If I am what I eat, will I still exist if there is no more chocolate, coffee and chips?
My world continues to exist without coffee and chocolate, so yours would too. Might be a less interesting wold, but I imagine you’d make up for it somehow. Thank goodness for chips, though…one of the things I can still eat. 🙂🥑🍄🥗🥥
I’m glad you’ve figured out how to heal yourself, but no caffeine, to me, seems like the most extreme deprivation there is. Hang in there, oh Lettuce Leaf. Your day of stupendous health and vigor is coming.
I’ve been putting off the coffee purge for many months, Ally. My body kept telling me, but I kept resisting abd was certainly addicted. Now it’s a matter of do I want to feel crappy or feel good?
Coffee-Beer-Pizza – Yep, that’s a good start. Although, you need to make #3 a scroll like the banner at the bottom of ESPN during football season, Pizza…wings…eggs…pasta…etc
I give you a lot of credit, Mary, I suppose I could do this, if it made me feel better, but I don’t really want to think about it. I do eat healthier than I describe online. It’s just that pasta with veggies, no meat, no sauce, doesn’t really lend itself to much of a blog post or twitter post (I had celery) although I do enjoy it as a snack.
I’m glad this is working for you, and I hope you find alternatives you can enjoy.
If you like cocont milk and curry, Dan, I have a great recipe for the boring pasta and veggies.
On Sunday, I had a meeting after church. They provided lunch. Pizza. It smelled delicious, but I had to stay away. Ran home to a shrimp taco…
You don’t have to think too hard about this. Enjoy what you can eat now. Btw, I still have he occasional adult refreshment, so all is not lost. 🙂
Avoiding pizza would be hard. Avoiding pizza in the same room as me – wow. You get bonus points for willpower on that.
I eat less and generally better than I did 5-10 years ago. I’m hoping that moderation in all things will keep all things available to me.
Adult refreshments 👍🏼
A couple of years back I went to 50/50 coffee, half regular and half decaf. But, no coffee at all, I’d struggle with. With that being said though, I have basically given up all carbonated beverages and lived to tell the tale. I’ve been able to easily eat smaller portions but please I hope I can still eat chocolate. 🙂
My plan is to have a very occasional piece of dark chocolate once I feel normal again. I don’t drink soda either, unless it’s the sour in a brandy old fashioned. Enjoy your coffe, Judy. Have a cup for me. 🍮
Congrats on finding the diet (aka, food) that works best for your body. It’s a huge fallacy that one diet fits all. I think I’d be Tostitos if I had to say I am what I eat. But, seriously, in all reality, I don’t each much for carbs (except Tostitos, and beer…). I love fruits and veggies and whatever Mr. cooks at meals for us. I’m not a big coffee drinker, 1 cup a day and I don’t do chocolate at all. And, I had a bit of that reflux going on until I started Vitamin D supplements. We need Vit D in Wisconsin! And I take a tablespoon of our magic potion a day. I hope you don’t mind if I share the link to where I wrote about it, feel free to delete if you’d prefer that I don’t share. https://www.quaintrevival.com/tiny-secrets-of-my-weight-loss-success-story/
I’ll have to try upping the Vitamin D for a while and get back to apple cider vinegar. I can’t do citrus, so lemon is also out for the moment (but not forever). Right now, I’m sipping on ginger tea and having a slice of soy cheese. Life is good, Shelley, when we can stand upright and breathe easy and eat to be healthy.
Yes, life is good. I’m so happy you’re finding out what works for you. Love how you’ve described the essences of living well, you’re right on target.
I would be a lettuce leaf too, Mary. Sadly, my high cholesterol has forced me to reexamine my diet. I thought I was eating healthy, but no! I can’t believe the high saturated fat content of so many foods now that I must reduce my saturated fat intake. I still allow myself one small piece of dark chocolate per day, though. Sigh!
It’s amazing what we discover about foods by reading labels and doing research. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself, Laurie. You WILL feel better!
Thank you, Mary!
I didn’t know the history of that phrase. I’ve been on Steven Gundry’s diet. He added to that, “You are what you eat ate.” I suspect one could continue it with “You are what you eat ate ate.” Maybe the best thing is not to eat. 🙂
It’s a matter of “to each their own” when it comes to food and what one can tolerate, Frank. I think we all need to eat because the alternative might hurt worse. 😏
Glad to hear it’s working for you. I’m in Italy, Italy decides for me: I am pasta, pizza, gelato. Combine this with sitting most of the time at the computer and you can imagine my state. :p Not proud. Luckily the dog takes me out regularly. I love lettuce too though. It’s the thing I miss most if I don’t have it regularly.
There was a time when I could not get enough of the pasta and pasta sauce. I love Italian food!
Enjoy the gelato, but keep on walking. We all need at least one vice to happily swallow. 😊
I’m glad you found the foods and drinks that work for you Mary. I’m an ‘almond milk, herbal tea, walnut butter, avocado, spinach, fish and chicken’ person and love rhubarb, banana, apples, pears and any kind of berry. I struggled both with traditional and gluten free breads and find organic spelt bread and irish soda bread work best for me. It’s been quite a journey 😁💖
We sound very similar in our tastes, except for the rhubarb. I’m not a big fan of it unless it’s combined with strawberries and a sweetener. I’ll have to look for those two breads. Once in a while, I still want a piece of toast.
We have been going to a more plant-based diet and I have found a new appreciation for tofu and fresh veggies. Concentrating on what I can eat—and not what I need to avoid eating—has helped with the new mindset.
Congrats on your weight loss and increased health,
You have a great attitude about focusing on the foods you can eat. I like tofu, but usually when someone else makes it. My two attempts did not turn out well. Now that it’s spring, I’m looking forward to local seasonal produce, which tastes so much better than the winter stuff that’s shipped in.
Thanks, Mary. We like the firm tofu and my wife is very good at seasoning it with sauces and herbs. Seasonal veggies are the way to go.
Apple, oatmeal, and eggs. I’m supposed to be following gerd. I’ve considered Keto and intermittent fasting. I’ve just not taken the initiative to follow through. Well actually not so much lack of initiative as deer in the headlights over the conflicting advice I read. I’m glad you figured out what works for you. Hopefully I will too some day.
You are so right about conflicting information on diet. It can be daunting and confusing. You’ll evenrually find the foods that work for you. Keep trying!
I’ve backslid on my no gluten, modified dairy, restricted foods diet (it sounds a lot like yours, actually). It’s time to do a cleanse and get back on track but I’ll be honest, I’m dreading the detox headache and can’t seem to make myself do it.
My three words are homemade stir fry, salmon, and carrots with broccoli. (Yes, I know that’s more than three words.)
Homemade stir fry, salmon, carrots and broccoli is acceptable and sounds delicious. I may have to buy myself a piece of salmon this weekend. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cheated with gluten in the past, most often at work when people bring in treats. Gluten and sugar are the hardest for me to steer clear of because I enjoyed it much of my life. It’s difficult to get back on track, but I know you can do it. I’ll stand by with my pompoms if you need a motivating cheer. 🙂
One tea that seems to work well is Rooibos. That is also what I drank when pregnant. It’s caffeine free but still gives you a boost because the leaves used are filled with I don’t quite recall what 😜.
So for me – in three words? That’s difficult; with an 18 month old I try to diversify so he can sample as many different tastes as possible. But being truthful to my French roots the first two are cheese and baguette. The third one should probably be beef or fish. Tough one 😜
Hi Stephanie. I have Rooibos Vanilla and Rooibos Chai at work – I’ll be digging into one of them this morning. Enjoy the cheese, baguette and beef/fish and keep diversifying your little one’s foods. My parents encouraged my brother and I to try man different foods and I believe that’s why I’m never afraid to try a new food or dish.
wow – kudos to you! You have succeeded where I’ve repeatedly failed. What is it about humans that we continue to indulge in behaviours that we know don’t make us feel good?!!
You’ve come out the other end of a challenging journey and feel better for it. This was truly an inspiring post, Mary.
Thanks, Joanne. It really was a matter of “I must” stop with the coffee rather than the “well maybe” or “maybe tomorrow.” I felt that awful. I am going to try hard not to go back to the stuff when I feel normal because I know where that will lead. As for the rest, I don’t mind at all eating this way, except when I crave a big bowl of mac and cheese. 😏
I am decidedly yogurt, olives, and veritably nuts! Haha!
I post a lot of yummies, but in reality, I eat from the same list of stuff from rise to dinner — every single day. I don’t eat as much good food as you, and I eat plenty of bad stuff.
I gave up mammals from 21-28. Still not a big fan.
Fell in love with Sleepytime tea at 24.
Tomatoes and red peppers have been trying to kill me since about age 35. We don’t want them at night. We want them in the afternoon.
Coffee (caffeinated) and I broke up when I was 36. Seldom, and oh, the nervous energy.
Elimination diet at 37. Not a good time. No terrible results, just no fun.
Found cooling foods, ghee, and coconut oil at 39.
Spicy food and I stopped agreeing about age 40. Rare now. Love-hate. Got off the reflux meds.
I realized at 42 that my body doesn’t like wheat as much as rice, but I will never give up crusty bread or spaghetti carbonara, cold day in hell and all that.
Also at 42, cast iron skillet, no more iron deficiency.
At 43 I took up apple cider vinegar. No more heartburn.
In the last year, beer aggravated my bladder, so I gave that up, too.
It’s like… the cost. The cost of feeling not so great. My family doesn’t understand that I cook and cook, but I’m a lot happier grazing like a toddler, mostly light stuff. I legit don’t care about weight, only how I feel. And I think as I get older, I value how I feel more and more, and some stuff just isn’t worth it. (Pizza late at night, high heels, staying up all night having fun… so many things!)
It’s all trial and error now, or trial and bathroom or medication or whatever. You are clearly taking care of yourself and while, yes, I am sad for you because I would be sad for me, there are PLENTY of lettuce leafs to keep you company. Last night’s dinner was salad and spaghetti squash — not a food porn shot at all.
You, dear Mary, have got to try carob things. Carob. Mmhm.
“It’s like… the cost. The cost of feeling not so great. ”
Yes, this. It’s finally what made me take action against coffee and chocolate and those killer tomatoes. You’ve had to make a lot of changes for your own well-being, Joey, and that is commendable. You’ve reminded me to get back with the a daily dose of apple cider vinegar and that I’m not alone as a person who no longer gets along with most foods. Let’s raise our olives and nuts in an “I feel better” cheer. 🙂
Yeah, I like to think we all do what we can. I eat pistachios on the weekend, cause I get to use both my hands! 😛 Pistachios NSFW, but the rest are 🙂
Good for you, Mary! Years ago coffee and soda caused me bladder pain so I stopped. I’ve also read caffeine can make pms and fibrocystic breast issues worse, not to mention anxiety. Now I can feel the tiny amount of caffeine in “decaf” and get a lift from green tea. One of the best things about living in our culture today is that we have so many food options and alternatives. Have you ever tried banana/peanut butter/avocado smoothies with almond milk?
I love the food alternatives today and that makes me wonder what I would have done about this 20 years ago. I have not tried that smoothie, but it sounds delish. I’ve made green smoothies with avocado, but never with PB.