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I've always been interested in nutrition. My grandmother was responsible for the school nutrition program at a private boarding school. She and my grandfather were both avid gardeners. My mother was always conscious of the food she put on the table. I grew up enjoying vegetables and a wide variety of foods. Eating healthy was part of our family “culture”. Consequently, I studied nutrition in college. One of my classes was for personal trainers. There were a lot of heated discussions in that class about whether you could meet all of your nutritional needs with food alone. We debated the question "do I need a multivitamin dietary supplement"? I walked away from those classes with a better understanding of both sides of the argument.
Unfortunately, Health and Wealth are hung in a balance from the beginning of the food chain to the choices we make at the supermarket.
There are documented articles from 80 years ago indicating that our food supply was affected by “modern” farming practices. Economics demand that we grow more crops faster. We have, as a result, declared a chemical war on our soil aimed at eradicating weeds and pests. Pesticides can't be controlled because pesticides kill the bad bugs that eat the crops, but also the good bugs and earthworms that aerate the earth and leave mineral-rich compost behind. What's not in the soil is not going to be in the food produced on it. Nutrient testing between 1950 and 2004 saw a 6-38% drop in food value and the nutrient density of our food seems to be on a steady decline to this day.
Even if the soil is rich, other factors affect the plant's uptake of those nutrients. Pesticides destroy the bacteria necessary to help plants absorb some of the nutrients in the soil. Cheap fertilizers are the most easily absorbed by the plant and therefore compete with other vital minerals that we might need more. Acid rain from air pollution also causes a compound that replaces healthy minerals in the affected plants.
Americans spend about 90% of our food dollars on processed foods. We strip away what minerals ARE there when the food is processed. You can take processing grains as an example. We strip away the bran and the germ (the nutritions parts) when we process grains to produce white flour. To give you an idea of what this does to our food, there are 24 mg of magnesium in a slice of whole wheat bread compared to just 6 mg in white bread. (Read this article to learn more about magnesium deficiency).
Most of us today are suffering from deficiencies in our diet. We exhaust our body's stores and it affects our capacity to function, heal, and recover from the demands placed on it. These deficits prevent us from enjoying optimal health and can even be dangerous. How dangerous? Patients that present at hospitals for chest pain are actually suffering from a mineral deficiency an estimated 30% of the time (rather than any physical blockage). Iodine deficiency affects IQ. Worldwide, osteoporosis causes a fracture about every 3 seconds. Poor nutrition also lowers our energy and makes it difficult to be the people we want to be.
You may have thought about individual supplements you could supposedly take for each condition as you read that list. Remember, though that vitamins and minerals work together in the body. You really need to consider whole foods and/or broad-spectrum supplements for ideal health. My first experience with supplements was a stone-age vitamin you're probably familiar with. I very specifically remember my siblings and I having a conversation when I was about 13 about why we all had after-school energy one day. We were young, but we realized the extra energy was probably related to the recent addition of supplements to our regime.
Can you get all of your nutrients from a good balanced diet? Maybe. If you eat only non-processed, organic food and know that the farmers are using a full spectrum fertilizer. Also, be careful not to overcook your food because when we cook food, the minerals can leach into the water. Avoid stress because stress puts additional nutritional demands on your system. Also take into consideration the range of factors that might affect nutrient absorption in your body.
For most of us, getting all of the nutrients we need from food alone is either not possible or not practical. As a population, those not supplementing correctly are suffering from widespread nutritional deficiencies and its effects on the body and mind. I have decided that the best choice for my family is to supplement. We will, therefore, aim to eat a healthy, organic-when-possible, well-rounded diet and compliment that with a good quality supplement line. (I have not named the supplements I recommend because I am a promoter for the company. If you would like to know about the supplement line I have chosen, click here).
Marcy Vogler is a lifestyle makeover coach, personal trainer, and mother of three. Marcy is passionate about helping women make over their lives from the inside out. To learn more about the courses Marcy offers, check out our parter website at www.thegoodlife4u.club. For daily inspiration, join Marcy's Facebook Group: Love Your Day, Love Your Life.
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