After working as a journalist and political speechwriter for many years,  I was able to pursue another of my passions when I was offered the opportunity to write a cookbook. That was the first of more than a dozen cookbooks and it marked the beginning of my serious interest in the health benefits of consuming nutritious whole foods.  Several years ago, this interest took me in an entirely new direction when I discovered the work of epidemiologist David Barker. You Are What Your Grandparents Ate is based on 40 years of research into the field of science spawned by his research, which is known as the developmental origins of health and disease.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of studies are now showing that many of the risks for chronic diseases — including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even dementia — can be traced back to your first 1,000 days of existence, from the moment you were conceived and perhaps even beyond to the experiences of your parents and grandparents.

Yes, you may be more susceptible to certain chronic illnesses due to your ancestors’ experiences. The good news is you can change this story. Emerging research in the field of epigenetics is showing that taking even small steps, like getting more exercise and eating more nutritious food, can help to reverse  inherited vulnerabilities by changing how your genes express themselves.  The end result is better health, not only for yourself but also for your offspring and their children, and likely for generations to come.


Learn how to live a healthy life and leave a legacy of wellness
by looking both to the past and to the future.



This book makes hard science accessible. It is a call to action for social as well as personal change, delivering the message that by changing our own health, we can also influence the future of the world.

“A fascinating and eye-opening treatise on how a wide variety of chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.) are linked not only to current lifestyle but to such other factors as stress, environmental toxins, and even, per the title, ones grandparents’ diet.” Publishers Weekly.

“This is not just another health promotion book.  It explains why we are suffering the largest health epidemic in human history, why we need better wholesome foods to buy, why we need better food policy and why we must pay careful attention to the health and nutrition of our young women and men as they prepare to bear the next generation. Judith Finlayson offers a new and exciting view of how we have come to our present state of poor health and how we can reinvent ourselves as healthy.”  Dr. Kent Thornburg, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Developmental Health at the Knight Cardiovascular Institute and Director of the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon.

“Judith Finlayson….brings us to the cutting edge of science, showing how the study of epigenetics has heightened our understanding of the mechanisms underlying diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.” Foodista

“If this topic intrigues you, you don’t need to power through a pile of research papers to learn more. In the new book You Are What Your Grandparents Ate: What You Need to Know About Nutrition, Experience, Epigenetics & the Origins of Chronic Disease, Toronto journalist and author Judith Finlayson has done that work for you.” Carrie Dennett, The Seattle Times

“Real science laid out in simple terms makes this book a great resource that is easy to understand. Judith gives you real information that you can easily incorporate into your life so you can live your healthiest and most fulfilling life. Fitness for the Rest of Us.