Getting caught up in the wellness and lifestyle industry doesn’t make us stupid. After all, marketing was designed to make us desirous, confused, and frantically spendy. Every day, we are faced with language that tells us what we need and why we need it — and we tend to blame ourselves for falling for it.
But the bottom line is that we are all different, and we all need different things. This is most notable when it comes to our health. What makes us all uniquely special, with entirely different needs, strengths, desires, and weaknesses, is called our bio-individuality.
Even those closest to us — like our siblings, kids, or parents — will have a unique bio-individuality to them that differs from you. Even though you may eat and live similarly, the variations in your day-to-day life as well as on a cellular level will mean that your physical responses to internal and external elements will be different.
Our bio-individuality isn’t something to be exasperated by; it’s a beautiful thing. However, it does make things more complicated. We can’t just rely on our favorite food bloggers to tell us what worked for them, and then copy their every move. Not everyone can just eat typically healthy foods and function optimally.
We all have different responses to different input: allergic reactions, sensitivities, intolerances, pleasure, displeasure, irregularities in digestion… It’s absolutely imperative to be mindful of these responses. There is no one-size-fits-all wellness routine, and certainly not a diet that works for everyone.
A great example of this is gluten. Not everyone is sensitive or intolerant to this component found in wheat. However, it’s very trendy in the world of wellness to cut it out completely. Those who eliminate it completely from their diet while having no intolerance or sensitivity to it may actually develop an intolerance or sensitivity to it as a side effect of cutting it out.
Another example is nuts: Through marketing tactics and social media, we are shown time and time again that nuts are a great substitute for dairy via nut cheeses and almond milk. However, many people have a sensitivity to certain nuts, especially almonds. If everyone followed suit on the almond trend, there would be some serious repercussions!
This isn’t to say that gluten-free grains and flours or almonds are unhealthy. There is nutritional value in these foods, but that doesn’t make them solutions for every body all the time. The key to understanding our own unique bio-individuality is doing a deep check-in with ourselves. If we are suffering, we can try an elimination diet to whittle down the cause. We can meet with a registered functional naturopath to guide us down this trial-and-error journey so that we have a nav system of sorts — there is so much detail in these processes, so professional guidance can be crucial.
Understanding our own bio-individuality can help us understand not only what we can and cannot eat, but also when and what we may need to eat for blood sugar and hormonal reasons. It can also help us learn when it’s ideal for our bodies to fast (if at all), and what we need to do to maintain fertility, joy, calm, and an overall pleasurable life. Listen to yourself: Your unique body is communicating.