You are what you eat

If you’ve ever said “I feel like a bacon double cheeseburger”, you probably forgot about the old expression, “You are what you eat.”

Too often, we reflexively eat what we crave and think of food as a means to satisfy our hunger. Over the past month, most of us have indulged in treats and feasts, and to burn off the extra pounds many will be heading to the gym. This will be a busy month at our gyms, community centres and pools.

We really are what we eat, and it’s not just the extra calories and weight that we should worry about.

If you had a car that you relied upon to safely transport your family, you wouldn’t use cheap, contaminated fuel nor would you accept inferior replacement parts. Your body is even more valuable and cells that make up your body are constantly being replaced.

The food you eat is digested and metabolized not only to provide you with the energy for the day’s activity but also to supply the building blocks for the cells that make up every organ in your body.

A healthy diet can provide you with the essential nutrients to support your immune system, prevent cancer, improve cognitive function, remain active and feel well. Significant deficiencies can result in anemia, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones and fractures) and skin conditions. Excessive salt can raise blood pressure. Unhealthy and excessive fat intake can promote heart disease. Excessive sugar can result in obesity and in some, diabetes.

My upcoming columns will review the essentials of a healthy diet and provide tips on enjoying a healthier daily lifestyle, but just to get the New Year started, take the one-week healthy eating challenge. If you don’t already do so, eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruit (not including juice) each day and forgo unhealthy snacks, such as potato chips, donuts, pop or fast food. Note how you feel after just one week of healthier eating.

On Friday, January 16th at 7 pm, I’ll be speaking on the topic of healthy eating at the Confederation Centre at 4585 Albert Street in North Burnaby (near the Eileen Dailly Pool and McGill Public Library).

This free presentation is sponsored by the Burnaby Division of Family Practice. Register online with or call Leona at (604) 259-4450.

As a family doctor, I enjoy a privileged relationship with every patient in my practice. But over recent years, the circle of concern for the average family physician has expanded. Thoughout the province, the GPSC (General Practice Service Committee) has supported the creation of non-profit organizations made up of the family physicians serving each community. The Burnaby Division of Family Practice is one such organization whose members are the family doctors of the Burnaby. Our goal is to work with the public and other stakeholders to improve primary healthcare and the health of all members of our community.

Our organization has launched the Empowered Patient public health education campaign. Our goal is to provide unbiased information to help you live a healthier life and get the most from the healthcare system.

At various venues including our community centres, schools and libraries, family physicians will be providing free public talks on a variety of practical topics. I’ve already delivered presentations on improving the patient-doctor relationship, screening tests and achieving your personal health goals.

As topics are presented, we’ve made the key practical information available on the BDFP website at

Dr. Davidicus Wong is the Physician Lead of the Burnaby Division of Family Practice. To learn more about upcoming health education events, see the BDFP website at  



About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
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