There is an old saying that says, “you are what you eat”, and in many regards truer words have never been spoken. The foods we eat and drink fuel our bodies to perform their daily functions – but how much do we really know about the “foods” we are ingesting?
The title of this article is “Food vs Nutrition”, however it is not intended to pit one against the other. On the contrary, this article is designed to introduce the concept of nutrition to readers, in an effort to encourage you to take a deeper look at the food you are eating, and how it relates to your bodies nutritional needs. Using the Front Foot Forward philosophy of Ownership, it is time to start taking ownership and responsibility for the fuel we are putting in our bodies. Arm yourself with the knowledge so you can make informed choices about your own nutrition. You would not put diesel in your unleaded car because you know not to, and after reading this series you will come to understand that in order for your body to run optimally, you have to fuel it like the high precision piece of biomechanical machinery that it is.
Most of you will be well aware of the meaning of food – it is the stuff we eat and drink. But, what is nutrition? Put simply – nutrients are the things our bodies extract from the foods we eat, that it then uses to perform it’s functions. The word “diet” has a connotation to it these days that has become profoundly restrictive as it has the ability to freeze and repel people – it is a loaded word now. We are getting rid of it, and replacing it with nutrition. “How is your diet going?” – wrong! “How is your nutrition going”.
Nutrients can roughly be broken down into two types – macro (or big) nutrients, and micro (or small) nutrients. Macro-nutrients are the big three that most of you would have heard of – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These are the ones the body derives its energy from, and uses to build things. We will go into greater detail in the next article in this series, but suffice to say these are the big three that we need everyday. Micro-nutrients are the smaller vitamins and minerals that the body needs to help it perform its physiological functions. They include things like Vitamins A, B & C, Iron, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium and Zinc to name a few. They are used by the body to perform specific functions such as regulation of heart rate, blood pressure and pH levels in our cells. Where macro-nutrients are the bodies building blocks and energy source, micro-nutrients are the signallers and conduits that turn on and off certain functions. The body cannot exist without the right combination of both of these nutrients.
Food is one of life’s most enjoyable pleasures. More than simply fuel for our bodies, a good meal in good company is fuel for our souls. In the coming articles of this series, we will delve deeper into exactly what our bodies need (and when they need it) to perform optimally, and in the process hopefully transform the way you look at the food you eat and why you eat it. In the meantime, start taking ownership of the decisions you are making in regard to your own nutrition. When was the last time you were spoon fed by someone? Sure the media has a lot to answer for, and we will go into that, but only you put the fork in your mouth, so ultimately only you are responsible for what you are; because – “you are what you eat.”