You are what you eat: the case for quality

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By Margaret Floyd,  NTP HHC CHFS

By Margaret Floyd, NTP HHC CHFS

Indulge me for a moment:

Look at your hand. The skin, nails, maybe you can see some tendons and veins, freckles, a little bit of hair. Now make a fist, and then shake out your hand. Think of the muscles engaging to contract and relax. The bones to which they attach, keeping form intact.

Soft Hands Now think of where your hand came from. A weird question, I know, but stay with me. Where did it come from?
What was it before it was a hand?


Yup, every single cell in that magnificent hand, from the tip of your longest fingernail to the core of your bones, was once food.


You are what you eat.

It’s a simple concept. Cliché almost. And yet, it’s so basic we take it for granted.

When you stop to really think about it, it’s utterly amazing. Every bite of food we take gets broken down – both mechanically (chewing) and chemically (enzyme actions) – into its smallest components: nutrients. These nutrients get absorbed into the body at a cellular level as fuel, as building and repair material, as hormones to tell the body what to do and when to do it, as both form and function. Anything not needed or used to its fullest extent gets eliminated. And the process repeats.

Have you ever built anything from scratch? Any craftsman will tell you that the quality of the final product is determined by the quality of the materials, the tools, and the skill of the craftsman himself. And, he can’t build something out of nothing. If you’re building a car and you’re missing the tires, you can’t take the fabric for the seats and fashion tires out of it. Well, you could, but they wouldn’t work very well. You get my point.

It’s no different for our bodies. We need the proper materials, the proper tools, and the proper skills. And we need all the materials and tools, not just some of them. Our bodies are amazingly skilled at taking the materials intended for one function and using them for something else, but this is taxing over time. Fabric tires might work in the short term, but they’re a dangerous ride in the long haul and they certainly won’t take you far.

And so:

If you are what you eat (and you are),

And if your body’s form (appearance, structure) and function (performance, how you feel) matter to you (which they do – they affect everything you do, every day),

Then the quality of your food is paramount.

Every single condition in the body can either be helped or hindered by what you eat.

There is no neutral reaction, and there is nothing that isn’t affected. From the minor (headaches, skin rash, digestive complaints, low energy levels, mood…) to the major (full-blown disease) your diet is a factor.

As one of my teachers, Joshua Rosenthal, liked to say, “We are, at our most basic level, walking food.”

What will you be?

photo credit: Doug Wheller


  1. Great article. So good to remember that whenever something’s going in my mouth.

  2. Leslie


    I love this – such an interesting way of looking at our bodies! If I am what I eat, then I want to be a walking rainbow spectrum of whole, organic foods, with a side of grass-fed beef and raw milk…and some cultured butter. Oh, and bone broth 😉

  3. Yolan E


    We are what we eat, but we also become what we think. Whatever goes into us, be it food or thoughts, we process them, so it is wise to choose carefully what we decide to eat and decide to think. And when decidinjg what to eat, that is also a thought. So it all starts with thoughts 🙂

  4. Maria


    I would also add – how you eat – is also vitally important. Many of us don’t chew thoroughly enough. This leads to poor digestion and absorption of nutrients irrespective of the quality of food you’re eating.

  5. Bodypeak


    I know buying higher quality food can come out to be a bit more expensive but the effects are definitely worth it. Looking at ingredient labels becomes more important than just looking at the nutritional facts.

  6. Sue


    Interesting perspective about food and our bodies. Its amazing how so many people are destroying their bodies. They spend money on improving how their home and cars look, but when It comes to their own body they fill it full of crap and wonder why they are sick. Definitely a mix up of priorities.

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