You Are What You Eat - Dr Gillian McKeith
The review that follows is for the original 'You Are What You Eat' book.
When 'You Are What You Eat' was shown on Channel 4 earlier in 2004 we were all immediately hooked. We watched, fascinated and horrified, as Dr Gillian McKeith examined the tongues, the weekly shops and the stools (!) of families and individuals and prescribed a new way of eating. We watched, jealously, as people lost weight and gained health benefits by following Dr McKeith's eating plans. When the X-Factor's Michelle McManus recently lost 8 STONE by following Gillian's eating plan we wanted to find out more!
While we'd all like Dr Gillian to point us in the right direction and hoover away our bad eating habits it's just not likely to happen. The alternative? Buy her book and see if we can do it ourselves. We bought the book and here's what we found inside.
Click on the chapter titles to skip to a particular chapter or scroll down the page to read everything.
The Introduction, or 'My Story' as it's subtitled, is a condensed history of how Dr Gillian discovered how to eat nutritionally. She talks about how she used to eat fast food, chocolate and crisps and how she met and fell in love with 'an American, a health nut' who introduced her to macrobiotic food.
She explains how she attended a seminar by Elaine Nussbaum who described how she'd suffered with cancer, had been given just two weeks to live, and conquered the disease by following a macrobiotic diet that a friend administered to her. Dr Gillian explains how Elaine's story completely changed the way she felt about food and how she has now treated many, many patients with health and weight problems and helped them turn their lives around.
In this chapter Dr Gillian introduces us to 'Ten important Food Facts' in which she explains how the food we eat affects our health. She then examines '12 Foods People Eat on a Regular Basis' such as fish and chips, pizza and English breakfast and breaks down each portion into it's nutritional components (e.g. calories and fat) and the amount of sugar and lard fat equivalent an individual serving provides. This makes for fairly scary reading!
Still in this chapter Dr Gillian explains 'Why Diets Don't Work' and how they often starve you of something important that your body needs. She describes why high protein/low carb diets are 'nutrionally flawed' and the importance of including fatty acids in a balanced diet.
The final part of this chapter describes 'good foods' (such as organic foods, good proteins etc) and 'bad foods' (such as overcooked veggies and refined foods) and gives an example of 'Britain's Worst Eater' - one of the individual's that took part in her programme.
This is one of the most interesting sections of this book and it's primarily concerned with health self diagnosis and the nutritional 'cure' she prescribes.
The chapter begins with a description of Joanne and Julie, two of the TV programmes guinea pigs, and their health problems. Dr Gillian describes how she diagnosed their health issues by examining their finger nails, their tongues and their stomachs.
The chapter continues by asking the reader to examine their own tongue. Does it have a yellow coating (a sign of excess heat in the gut) or horizontal cracks (a sign of malabsorption)? Does it have teethmarks round the side? Is it sore? Is it swollen? Is it burning? Does it have a red tip? Dr. Gillian explores these appearances (and more) and explains the nutritional deficiencies that cause it and prescribes nutrional solutions to help.
This chapter is absolutely chock a block with self diagnosis help and asks a wealth of questions that the author provides answers to. Have dandruff on the scalp? Take 2 dessertspoons of flax oil a day. Have veins close to the surface of the skin? Take HCL supplements. What is the state of your hands? Your ears? Your eyes? Your mouth and limbs? And for those of you who can't resist peeping into the toilet after a bowel movement there's even a section on 'stools' and how their appearance reflects the state of your nutritional health.
Finally, there's advice for anyone with an itchy bottom, urinary problems, pimples and excessive yawning. Spotted your symptoms yet?!
This chapter begins by describing the poor food diary of one of the TV programmes case studies and continues by asking the reader 'So You Think You Have A Healthy Diet?' and includes a 'Food Intelligence (Quotient) Test' so you can find out how healthily you're eating.
Dr Gillian tells explais how you can 'Make The Change' and describes the food groups that you should include to make sure your diet is nutrionally sound. These include: energy grains, bountiful beans, sources of protein and good sweets.
'The Nasties Challenge' asks us to keep a record of how often we eat nasties such as chocolate, fried food, coffee, pasta, baked goods etc in a week and gives feedback on just how 'nasty' our diets really are.
Dr Gillian includes more information on 'nasties' and foods that we should eat 'with caution'.
The final part of this chapter details 'Food Combining' and how it can help with weightloss and describes the foods on 'The Abundance Food List' that you can eat in everyday life.
The 'Top 5 Bummers' are: always struggling with weight, tired all the time, digestive orders, PMS and other hormonal issues and stress. Dr McKeith goes through each of these in order, explains the symptoms and offers solutions to beating these 'bummers'.
Chapter 5 begins with the question 'Why Detox?' and includes a quiz so the reader can find out whether or not they should follow a detox diet. Dr Gillian then explores Detox, includes hints and tips on body brushing, exercise and spells out what you should eat on a sample 'Detox Day'.
If you were enchanted by the idea of 'Colonic Hydrotherapy' in the TV programme this chapter closes with details on what this involves and how often you should do it.
'Ten Golden Tips For Healthy Skin' begins this chapter. It is followed by the 'Anti Acne Plan', the 'Anti Eczema Plan', the 'Anti Stretch Mark Plan', the 'Anti Varicose Vein' plan and continues with a section on 'Hair and Nails', 'Teeth and Gums' and 'Great Sex'. All these sections include the foods and nutrional supplements you should investigate to get yourself in tip top shape.
This chapter tells you 'How to Shop' and includes items that should be on your shopping list and explains 'Why?' you should be buying them. It continues with advice on how to 'Read the Labels' and explains various terms often found in the nutritional information on food products.
What follows is a 7 Day Meal Planner that breaks your day into small chunks and details exactly what you should be doing (eating/exercising/dancing) and when. For example on Day 1 you should begin at 7.00am with 'Good Morning Exercise (see page 190)' which is followed at 7.15am with '1 cup of warm water with a squeeze of lemon. 1 cup nettle tea'. The recipes and exercises described over these pages are explained in more detail at the end of this chapter.
These 20 quick tips include "Chew slowly", "Eat When Calm" and "Rotate Foods" and are briefly explained.
This chapter explains how you can add to your diet using 'Superfoods', 'Grasses' 'Algae', 'Bee Superfoods', 'Superfood Herbs' 'Sea Vegetables', 'Leafy Supermarkets', 'Live Enzyme Rich Foods', 'What are Sprouts?' and 'The Case Against Cooking'.
In our opinion this book is nutritionally sound, is absolutely suited to vegetarians but if you're looking for recipes and a long term diet plan that tells you what to eat on what day you may find this book lacking. If you just need to be pointed in the right direction about what to eat, what not to eat and what foods can help your health complaints, then you've found the right book. And for those of us looking for a quick fix 'make me feel healthy and lose a few pounds after Christmas' the 7 Day Plan in Chapter 7 is just perfect.
Later in 2005 Dr Gillian is publishing a book of recipes which will help those of us who might buy a handful of alfalfa sprouts and quinoa and go - now what?! We'll review that book when it's published!
We give the book 4 out of 5 stars for clearly presented, nutritionally sound, healthy-eating advice.
The review above is for the original 'You Are What You Eat' book.
Also available NOW is Michelle McManus's Weight loss diary. The diary she wrote while she followed Gillian McKeith's 'You Are What You Eat' way of Eating. We haven't bought the book yet but you can get a sneak peek at the reviews and buy the book by clicking here.
We have also reviewed the following books. See below for more details:
This site was featured in Woman's Own Diet Special Magazine as one of the Top Ten Diet Sites!