Sunday, January 1, 2012

You are what eats what you eat

That's right.  "You are what you eat" is passé.  The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) theory gives us new insights on personality, heredity, and development, and adds new shades of gray to the nature/nurture debate.

What you eat goes through your gut, gets digested, and becomes you.  So we all learned in grade school.  But now a much more complex process is being uncovered by researchers everywhere.  Our intestines are host to trillions of bacteria, yeasts, bacilli and other microorganisms, all of which have a DNA of their own (all together, about 150 times the number of genes in the human genome).  They exist in a kind of organized ecosystem, vying for nutrients and space just like flora and fauna do in the seas or in a tropical rainforest.  I like to think of it as a coral reef, beautiful, fruitful, and fragile, with new layers building on top of older layers.  The first layer, as Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride explains so well, is formed during the first 20 days after birth.

The French wikipedia articles on probiotics and the microbiota mention that there are 400 different species of bacteria living just on the average human hand (yes, in spite of all that handwashing and dishwashing), and over 10,000 in the human gut (this article says 40,000!).  Meanwhile, the MetaHIT  (Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract) research team, in Europe. presented a paper on Enterotypes (April 2011), which says the human population can be divided into three groups according to gut biota (biota is a more correct term than flora, because it includes both flora and fauna and anything in between).  So there’s all this diversity (40,000) but much similarity from person to person.  To quote: “each individual harbors some 170 bacterial species out of a total of about 1000 that are predominant in the gut. Most of these species are common to many individuals, showing that we are all rather similar.” 
As the GAPS book explains, the influence of gut flora on mental function is huge.  The heartbreaking stories of autistic children whose symptoms all disappear when the child receives Clostridia-eradicating medication, only to return after a couple of weeks because this medication itself is too toxic to be taken any longer than that, are illustrations in point.  The parents get a glimpse of who their child "really" is.  Who is the real child?  The autistic child that the parents live with day in, day out, or the child within, the child they hope to know some day? 

Wish I had time to read more, and write more.  But this is becoming clear as research confirms Dr. NCM's theory: we are what eats what we eat.  Our personalities are influenced, in varying degrees, by the gut biota that feeds on what we swallow.

So, "Be all that you can be", “To thine own self be true”, and “Discover yourself”: free yourself and your family from the microorganisms that undermine your mental health and alter your personality.  Eat the nutrient-dense foods indicated in the GAPS nutrition protocol, and avoid foods containing toxic ingredients like sugar, starches (i.e., almost all processed foods) and industry-created chemicals.  Listen to Mother Nature, who made our guts and all the food they’re meant to digest. 

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