Discovering Your Bio-Individuality

bio-individuality blog

Growing up bi-cultural means being exposed to a wide variety of food at an early age and all the richness that comes with this.

I recently noticed however, that I feel much better eating the type of dairy commonly consumed in Jordan than the type of dairy consumed in Switzerland.

Dairy in Jordan consists mostly of labaneh (a natural yoghurt spread) and Halloumi cheese (made of goat & sheep milk) instead of cream, butter or yellow cheese which I love the taste of but don’t feel does my body or skin much good.

This got me thinking. Are we better suited to feel good eating the foods our ancestors ate?

After all, when I think of what my Arabic forefathers before me must have eaten, it certainly wasn’t Gruyère cheese!

This fits perfectly with the concept of bio-individuality, which I use in my health coaching. This is based on the idea that no one diet works for everyone, and each person has a unique palette of foods that suits them best. Finding these foods is a little like detective work, where the key is starting a dialogue with your body and realizing how certain foods make you feel.

A clue to your bio-individuality lies in your roots: What did your ancestors likely eat?

When it comes to dairy in particular, looking towards how much your ancestors ate can be helpful. If you are Dutch and grew up eating dairy and have ancestors who thrived on dairy, you are more likely to have the digestive enzyme lactase that helps break down lactose, the sugar in dairy, than a Japanese whose ancestors ate little, if any dairy.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we can never eat anything ‘exotic’ for us – but it can be helpful in uncovering the foods that truly make your body sing.

I would love to hear from you: What foods do you think your ancestors ate? Could these foods be part of your unique food palette? You might even want to try recreating a healthier form of a childhood dish, like I did with this Arabic semolina cake!

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Is ____ healthy?


Here is a frequent question I get asked: “Is ____ healthy?” where the blank can be anything from milk to green tea to rice crackers to yoghurt.

A perfectly legitimate question. That’s very difficult to answer.

Because it depends.

It depends on what your definition of healthy is.

It depends on how often you consume the food or drink in question.

It depends on the greater context of the rest of your diet because 80% is perfection.

It even depends on the brand as ingredients can vary greatly.

And most of all it depends on you and your bio-individuality. Because no one diet works for everyone and one person’s panacea is another person’s poison. And in the end, the greatest – and only – authority on what works for you is learning to listen to your body’s wisdom.

The health coaching I do is about helping you connect with your inner wisdom to find the food and lifestyle choices that nourish you best. Because the only truly honest answer to the question “Is ____ healthy?” will always be “It depends…”