Most of my first time clients come to me with a big bag of their supplements, pills, and antioxidant formulas. They spend a lot of money on them, and the more they pay for a bottle, the better they assume it is. In my experience, more then 70% of what many bring in, (unless they are from a whole food source), tests very weak on their body. This means the body does not want them, or they are actually causing some harm!
This article may be a bit long but I trust the information will be useful.
Our diet is 80% of our health, and unfortunately more than 70% of the American diet is some form of processed, nutrient deficient foods, (actually they are only by-products of food). This is not nutrition!
Many take a multivitamin to cover their bases, just in case they are not getting all the nutrients from their diet. This could be a good thing, but there is a caveat: Most vitamins are not made from whole food, and can do more harm than good!
Definition of vitamin/nutrient :
1. Any of various fat-soluble or water-soluble organic substances, essential in minute amounts for normal growth and activity of the body, and obtained naturally from plant and animal foods.
2. A functional unit. (Funk and Wagnel)
That last definition is my favorite one. It states the simple truth. Life is made up of many functional units working together.
Most store bought vitamins are synthesized, single units separated from the whole and from petrochemicals!
There are no single elements in nature’s food supply and the body does not recognize synthetic ingredients separated from the many factors in whole food. The body is made to run on whole food.
Imagine if you took a fine Swiss watch to a jeweler and had him analyze the parts. Now take a hammer and break that watch. All the parts are still there but the watch is no longer working. Next, take one of the tiny springs from that broken watch. If you said a bunch of those springs were the same or even better than the watch, you would be considered crazy tight?
That is exactly what they imply with 99% of vitamins sold. Most are just one chemical element of the whole vitamin and made by pharmaceuticals from a dead source, like coal tar or petrol-chemicals! They may have been alive thousands of years ago, but they are definitely expired now!
The body has to make up for the whole food elements that are missing, to create a functional unit it can use. This forces the body to use it’s precious reserves from the cells, and eventually those reserves can run out, resulting in a body even more deficiencient!.
When it comes to vitamins, it is about quality, not quantity! The body needs everything in balance, just like it is in nature!
It is impossible to cram all the nutrients from whole food into one pill, especially if it is more than 200% of the RDA
Vitamin C is one of many examples. Most believe that Ascorbic Acid is the same thing as vitamin C. It says “Vitamin C’ on the label when we buy it off the shelf. But if you read the back label, it says ascorbic acid, or ascorbate, or other forms of that single element.
Ascorbic acid is only part of the whole food complex of vitamin C. It is simply the antioxidant that surrounds the Vitamin C complex to protect the many substances that make up Vitamin C: Rutin, Factor F, enzymes, trace minerals, and other essential components. Many of these micronutrients have not even been discovered yet! They all work synergistically, (can do more together than alone), for the body to function!
Even if scientist could synthesize every whole food element, it would still be no better than that broken watch in the above example.
To add insult to injury, they create mega-doses of these single elements which are way out of proportion with nature. So when you take a thousand milligrams of synthetic ascorbic acid, (there is no more than 20 milligrams in natural occurring vitamin C), you miss out on all the other wonderful nutrients in their pure form. It’s like eating a bunch of egg shells and tossing the egg!
Enriched foods are more of the same. They process real food, by homogenizing, pasteurizing, sterilizing, milling, canning, cooking or dehydrating. This depletes the nutrients so it lasts longer on the shelf. Even bugs and bacteria know there are no nutrients left, so they don’t even bother with it! That’s why they last so long!
Then, chemicals and dyes are added to make it look and taste like real food. Then, they enrich it with these fractionated, synthetic vitamins to make it look nutritious. More profits are made, at the expense of nutrition.
Check out this article on enriched foods:
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, digestion problems, and all the other maladies we have today, were not as prevalent 100 years ago. This is because the soil was not as depleted, most of the food was fresh and whole, and there were no chemicals added to the food supply.
So what is the solution? Eating raw organic vegetables with every meal, and avoiding packaged foods would be wonderful!. But in today’s fast pace environment, some would find that a challenge.
So to start, you could cut way back on packaged foods that are enriched, (that would eliminate most of the bad stuff). Also, eat more organic vegetables, and grass fed organic meats. Get in the habit of having salads or some kind of raw green vegetable with every meal. You can also start juicing organic vegetables with a little fruit.
Organic produce has been found to have 50-70% more nutrition than conventionally grown produce. (“Variations in Mineral Content in Vegetable’. Firman E. Baer report, Rutgers University)
If you want to take a supplement, make sure it is from whole food. There are not many out there, but just look at the label. If it has a long list of chemicals, (like ascorbic acid, alpha tocopherol, riboflavin, etc), and they are all 100% or more of the RDA, it is not from whole foods. You need to see a list of food on the back label, like organic broccoli, kale, berries, carrots etc. It is really that simple.
There are also powdered green drinks made from organic fruits and vegetables. That can be a wonderful option for a busy lifestyle. Throw a banana in a blender with almond milk or juice, a scoop of some green powder, and Viola, you have a nutritious shake that actually feeds your body! (See the links below).
Make sure you are getting good healthy fats like coconut oil, flax seed oil and even raw organic butter. Please see my article on Cholesterol.
I used to get a cold once or twice a year. Since I started taking whole food supplements, I have not been sick, despite everyone around me getting the cold or flu. Most of my clients experience the same thing!
It isn’t normal for us to have diabetes, cancer, heart problems, and even cavities! But, if we give our body the fake foods that are so prevalent in today’s world, it’s like supplying a carpenter with cardboard to build a cabinet. It may look good on the outside, but as soon as you put something on the shelf, it will collapse.
We can exercise all we want and make our body look good, but if we are not feeding it the nutrition it needs to rebuild and repair, illness is given a chance to rear it’s ugly head.
A body does not all of a sudden get sick! It slowly degrades until one more bit of stress is like the straw that broke the camels back. Consider the fact that most disease is just a long term nutritional deficiency that was never addressed, and it all comes together.
Every 14 months, 40% to 60% of your body’s cells are rebuilt. And 90% of our body is replaced with new cells every 7 years. So it is never too late to switch to a healthier lifestyle and give our bodies what they need. We can help it build better cells, which make up every organ, which also makes up our immune system, and creates better health!!
People have recovered from many diseases by changing to whole, unprocessed foods along with whole food supplements and a positive lifestyle! It may not be not over night, but wouldn’t it be better to start a nutrient dense diet and healthy lifestyle, than to wait for illness to occur and take a bunch of medications? Most medications can be toxic to your body and suppress the symptoms that tell you something is wrong so you are not treating the illness but just suppressing the symptoms.
The body is an intelligent, miraculous organism capable of healing any wound. It can kill foreign invaders, and detoxify itself. But it can’t function correctly if it doesn’t get the genuine replacement parts from whole foods!
A healthy body is the best insurance policy you can have!!
In Health and Awareness,
Jill Coleman RN/Holistic Nutrition Practitioner
Here are some good links for green drinks:
For more information on whole food nutrition check out these:
Great books to read:
‘Lick the Sugar Habit’ by Nancy Appleton
‘Empty Harvest’ by Bernard Jensen
‘The skinny on Fats’ by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon