Q: What is Bio-Individuality?
A: Bio-Individuality refers to the concept that everyone is a unique person, with their own inherent body type, food sensitivities and pre-determined constitution. In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, this notion is described by the saying that "one man's bread is another man's poison."
Have you ever wondered why certain people can eat whatever they want and not gain any weight? But if you even look at a piece of bread you gain five pounds? Or how about the people who enjoy rich fats, egg yolks, raw milk and grass fed beef but for you they make you feel sluggish and weighed down. Maybe you tried a fad diet with a friend and they lost a ton of weight doing Keto but you couldn't seen to make it work for you?
There are those that thrive on a plant based diet full of grains, beans and legumes yet if you ate this you would be horribly uncomfortable? Many gut health leaders swear by fermented foods + bone broth. Did you know if you have candida you may want to avoid fermented foods or vinegars? Bone broth and other ferments can also lead to histamine reactions in sensitive groups?
When I learned about this concept in school I was blown away. I always thought that I just needed to eat less and work out if I wanted to loose weight. Or that I should be eating the same foods I saw influencers and others online eating. Most importantly, I wondered why I wasn't seeing the same amazing results as everyone else. Why was this way of eating working for them but not for me? It seemed like no matter what I ate I wasn't seeing the results I wanted.
What do you do when you're doing everything right and still experiencing symptoms?
You might be doing everything "right" but it's not right for YOU. Did you know that food sensitivities to healthy foods can often be a source of inflammation in the body? If a certain food protein is tagged as "foreign" by your body, more specifically your blood, it can cause an inflammatory reaction leading to symptoms such as: chronic fatigue, weight gain, difficulty loosing weight, acne, migraines, bloating, gas mood swings, brain fog and more.
For example: I ran a food sensitivity test and found out I was highly sensitive to lemons, sweet potatoes, brown rice, tomatoes, and shellfish. These are mostly considered healthy foods! I used to drink lemon water daily and always added sweet potatoes to my buddha bowl. Turns out, tomatoes also aggravate UTI symptoms, for me.
But that doesn't mean that you will have the same reaction, because we are all SO different! It might be a food sensitivity, it might be difficulty processing lectins in beans or oxalates in certain vegetables. You might have bacterial overgrowth or candida that is causing food cravings or brain fog and joint pain. Do you see how it's not as simple as "eat healthy?" Healthy to you may not be healthy for me.
Stress and Activity Level
We know that stress has a significant impact on the digestive and immune system. It also can cause cravings for comforting foods, sugary foods or excess caffeine or alcohol. If you are already under a significant amount of stress (not feeling well is stressful!) we will want to take it slow when it comes to dietary changes but there are certain very healthy + delicious foods that can help combat stress and actually support your body as you move through challenging times.
Activity level is also very bio-individual. Maybe you are someone who sits at a desk all day and doesn't get as much movement as you would like. This would impact how much of certain foods would be a good fit for you. If you work out a lot you would need more calories to sustain energy and protein to build muscle and fats to protect your joints and tissues. Maybe you're a busy mom or a shift worker and are running around or on your feet all day - you would probably need a little more macronutrients to support your busy lifestyle. Either way, we will work out a plan that is right for you and your lifestyle.
So Cathy, where do I start???
We will start with what works well for *most* people and then make adjustments from there. We know that most people have difficulty digesting dairy + gluten. Believe it or not, eggs or egg whites are the third most common food sensitivity. So we will focus on removing or reducing known inflammatory foods and adding in plenty of healthy, flavorful dishes.
This is where working closely with a practitioner is vital. Cutting out food groups can be very emotional and worrying about all the negative press on certain foods can lead to food fear, which can be difficult to overcome once the seeds have been planted.
The goal is to bring awareness to what is causing your symptoms and make minor adjustments so you can live a full, happy and free life - while enjoying your favorite foods! You might decide that you feel SO GOOD from changing your diet that you want to continue your healthy eating habits. The truth is, once you eliminate processed foods for a few weeks, you begin to actually crave real foods!