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. . . ON FILM

Winter, 2007

You Are What You Eat:Gillian McKeith is not happy when she sees all the junk foods in this participant's fridge.


a half hour British television show where participants get a diet makeover to improve their well being.

4 stars

Reviewed by Ricardo van Sertima

Done in typical British style this show's humour is dry and witty, and the facts are very much in the participants' faces. Thankfully, for the viewer as well as the participants, they are presented in a down to earth manner.

The show's holistic nutritionist is Gillian McKeith, a no-nonsense advocator of good health. She has just the right Scottish brogue to be hectoring as well as charming. The narrator is Paul Shelley whose dry wit and penchant for the many monikers he attributes to Gillian help the pacing and "digestibility" of the show. The participants are all working class people and this helps the viewer identify with their daily struggles that keep them on the road to nutrition hell.

The format for each episode is the same. You meet the participant, and Gillian goes though his or her cupboard and fridge to see what the person is eating. The best part comes when the food the client eats in a week is laid out in all its entirety to the shock of the client as well as the viewer. When everything you consume in a week is spread before you on a buffet table, it gives you cause for alarm.

Most of the participants are overweight and non-stop "snack-a-holics". Hurricane Gillian the Diet Dictator sweeps into action. She scolds their poor food choices and starts planning their 8-week diet makeover. Using stool sample analysis as well as lab-directed blood analysis she determines their deficiencies and recommends a plan based on good, whole food nutrition, moderate exercise and a healthy attitude. By the end of their program the headmistress of health has turned them around.

The show is full of little tidbits of healthy information. Types of unhealthy snacking, the value of certain minerals in our diet and the roles of sweat and regular bowel movements in the overall well being of the body are some of the subjects discussed.

The results that the guru of good grub elicits from the former human landfills goes beyond the mere loss of weight. Each former fatty has lost weight but more importantly gained energy, as well as increased self-respect and confidence. The slim reaper has successfully removed the toxic wastes from these former temples of take-aways and set them on a course to a healthier lifestyle .

All in all, this show is entertaining, informative and delivered with humour and pathos. Very "digestible" viewing. Tune in and drop some weight.

"You Are What You Eat " is broadcast on the Women's Television Network. Click here for the schedule and episode guide.

Books by Gillian McKeith:

You Are What You Eat: The Plan That Will Change Your Life
You Are What You Eat Cookbook
Miracle Superfood: Wild Blue-Green Algae


Ricardo van Sertima has a BA in Theatre from the University of Ottawa. He is also a Certified Holistic Nutritionist having studied at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Currently he is a staff Nutritionist and Supplements Consultant at Rainbow Natural Foods.

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