Another inspirational read, Deep Nutrition by Catherine and Luke Shanahan takes a different twist on the importance of eating traditional, nutrient-dense foods. The authors argue that our genes constantly change based on the nutrients provided. Instead of the idea that our genes pre-determine our health, Deep Nutrition shows us that what we eat on a daily basis determines how are genes are expressed. I was most inspired when I read, “In fact, every bite you eat changes your genes a little bit.”
More importantly, we pass our genes (perfect or not) onto our children. Shanahan believes that each of us has the potential to be beautiful, smart and athletic. Even if the genes passed onto you by your parents weren’t ideal, you can change what you pass onto your kids by eating a nutrient-dense diet that allows your genes to express themselves better.
I want to warn you that she unveils some somewhat controversial ideas. Shanahan shows us that there is an ideal symmetry that all beautiful people possess. She demonstrates how younger siblings tend to become less attractive and healthy as their mother’s nutrient reserves are diminished with each child.
However, after explaining our ever-changing genes and symmetrical beauty, the rest of the book discusses how different foods affect our genes. She shares the 4 pillars that every traditional culture ate on a daily basis: “meat on the bone, fermented and sprouted foods, organs and other ‘nasty bits,’ and fresh, unadulterated plant and animal products.” For everyone, eating a traditional diet composed of these 4 pillars every day is our ticket to optimal health.
Avoiding toxic substances, namely sugar and vegetable oils, is also necessary to having the healthiest genes. Shanahan shows how trans fats in vegetable oils interferes with hormone expression and sugar interferes with hormone receptivity, explaining the rise in infertility in the western world.
Deep Nutrition ends with information in the appendix about how to include the 4 pillars in your diet as well as some meal plans and a couple of recipes. I can’t recommend Deep Nutrition enough, whether the traditional diet idea is new to you or you need re-inspiration from time to time as I do. An interesting and engaging read, the Shanahans reaffirmed the importance of eating well every day and staying away from sugar and vegetable oils to maximize my health and the health of my children and grandchildren.