Posted by: Jennifer Sage | May 3, 2008

You are what you eat! Getting sick sucks…

Wow, this is a powerful video, and it will be a powerful movie. The people of the United States really need this (although other nations are unfortunately following in our footsteps).

If you eat a SAD, a Standard American Diet, the evidence is showing more and more that you will be sick. More and more and more (sorry for the repetition…I feel rather strongly about this!) evidence is pointing to the fact that so many of the ailments and diseases and aches and pains that people suffer from on a daily basis are connected to their poor diets, to a lack of the proper nutrients and to ingestion of toxins in the form of pesticides, pollutants, fertilizers, etc.  

The sad part is that even if you do try to eat well (i.e. avoid processed and packaged foods, stay away from fast food, limit fats and sugars, eat your vegetables and fruits, have protein at every meal, etc), you can still end up with deficiency diseases, because it is so difficult to get the nutrients that we need from the foods that are available to us. Our food sources have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. The use of pesticides and fertilization have depleted the soil of basic vitamins and minerals by 30-75% over the past few decades. It is said that you’d have to eat 3-4 bowls of spinach today to get the same nutrients that your grandparents enjoyed in one bowl. Americans are eating too much and starving at the same time.  The great paradox of our time is that while at no time in history has food been so readily available and in such great quantities, never before has the quality and nutritional value of our food been so greatly diminished.

In 2005, the USDA did a study and found that almost everyone is deficient in key nutrients to prevent diseases (USDA, Agricultural Research Service), up to 93% of the population for vitamin E, 56% in magnesium, 44% in vitamin A, and so on. Based on that study, the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) reversed a 30-year stance and stated that yes, everyone needs to supplement in order to receive their most basic nutrients. These studies are based on the RDA amounts for vitamins and minerals prescribed by the USDA, the minimal requirements to prevent deficiency diseases. Imagine how many people are deficient if optimal health is their goal!

Buying organic might improve your nutritional intake somewhat, especially if you know the source of the produce (locally grown), but it will also make a huge dent in your wallet.  However, even eating organic isn’t guaranteed to supply you with the nutrients, or avoid the hormones and pesticides that you think it will. The term “organic” has taken on different meanings, and you many just be paying way too much money for a product that has little to no benefits over the non-organic variety. Here is a disconcerting article about Horizon organic milk, that not only discounts the claim of the company regarding their organic and expensive milk, but it also highlights the plight of the milk cows, even those coming from “organic” farms. [NB. I only bought organic milk, usually Horizon brand, until I read this article].

So, if your goal is optimal health (and I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want that, but sadly it isn’t a goal of a large part of our population) then you need to not only monitor and manage what you eat, but you also need an excellent multivitamin. The quality of your supplements is far more important than you might think. Make sure that it is USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) doctor grade quality, has no artificial or synthetic products, and is produced by the top lab in the country who adheres to international standards (far greater than our own standards in the US). The higher the quality of the supplement, the more bio-available it is, the more of the quality ingredients that you can actually absorb. Many off-the-shelf supplements on the market today are barely absorbable by the body, making them a complete waste of money. 

My next few posts will focus on nutrition and how to take responsibility for what you put in your body.  I’ll also describe what I believe (and have researched) to be the highest quality supplements available on the market today, at an incredibly reasonable price. No they aren’t inexpensive, but you get what you pay for. If price is your only requirement and you buy drug-store or discount store brands, you might as well take nothing.  For the quality of these supplements that I am referring to, you would pay almost double to three times as much if you got the same prescription from a naturopathic doctor, using the very same labs!

Taking responsibility for your own health, without resorting to drugs to mask the source of your problem, means reading and informing yourself. There are myriad sources online to learn about how to eat in a more healthy manner. Read! Learn! And enjoy the benefits of optimal health!

If for only one reason…

…getting sick sucks,
…and getting sick is largely avoidable!

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