When I was a kid, everything I knew about nutrition came straight from the Food Pyramid. Today, the national standard is a simple chart called MyPlate. The core concepts have not changed too much, but the portions and serving sizes have become more equally balanced.
Basically, we are told that a semi-active person can live a long and healthy life through intelligent meal planning with a balanced assortment of healthy ingredients. As it turns out, this is no longer the case.
Getting Healthy Again
More people are vitamin and mineral deficient than ever before. What’s worse, is that it takes chronic or compound deficiencies before any symptoms start to appear. This means we may even be causing long-term damage before realizing the problem existed.
Most people don’t eat enough healthy foods as it is, but now, even the healthiest diets will likely fall short of nutritional expectations. The quality and availability of vital nutrients has been steadily sliding downhill for at least 60 years. This doesn’t just mean junk food and drive-thru dollar menus, I’m talking about 90% of the world’s fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, roots, grasses, grains, and meats.
This affects everyone.
Taking nutritional supplements on a regular basis with healthy meals is the only way to get all of the nutrients necessary to live a long and healthy life. Even though we’re eating healthy foods, they contain a much lower level of vitamins and minerals than in the past. Things like Vitamin A, B, C, D, E & K, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron and Zinc, to name a few.
Besides taking nutritional supplements, we have two options:
Eat twice as much food (Don’t do it!)
Grow everything yourself (Good luck!)
Nutrient Loss in Natural Food:
Most large-scale farming involves growing a whole lot of a single crop in the same location for years and years. This has a devastating effect on soil quality. To keep plants alive, farmers add tons of synthetic fertilizers that boost production, but destroy the nutritional value. If generations of farming has depleted trace minerals like Zinc or Iron, they’re gone until someone adds them back in. (They won’t if they don’t have to.) According to the USDA, only 11% of the earth’s surface is at all suitable for growing food, and just 3% is considered “prime.”
Billions of pounds of industrial byproducts make it into the water, soil, and atmosphere each year. There’s not a single ecosystem on earth that remains unaffected. Pollutants are present in much of the food we eat, as well as the food our food eats. Ingesting tiny amounts of heavy metals and random toxins is an unavoidable part of life. Though basically undetectable, they cause microscopic chemical reactions wherever they go, blocking nutrient absorption and disrupting cellular functions.
To lengthen shelf-life and minimize shipping damage, produce is sometimes exposed to a form of radiation that destroys microorganisms and temporarily postpones the ripening process. On top of that, this process can vaporize or denature the dense water-soluble vitamins and minerals on the surface.
Green Picked, Gas Ripened:
Another common tactic for increasing expiration to pick fruit several weeks before it’s even ripe, then force-ripen using artificial techniques. The final stages of natural ripening are the most important time for developing sugars, breaking down starches, and maturing a more complete and complex nutrient profile. Tomatoes, for example, are picked green literally everywhere. “Vine-Ripened Tomato” means cutting off a whole branch of green tomatoes and “vine-ripening” metric tons in a food lab using concentrated ethylene gas.
Pesticides in Everything:
There are hundreds of different poisons that kill, sterilize, maim or otherwise deter bugs, rodents, and other pests. The EPA has warned that beneficial vitamins and minerals can be destroyed when pesticides are used on fruits and vegetables.They are widely-used on every major farm on earth, and sprayed directly onto plants and fruits. Certified Organic does NOT mean pesticide-free. There is no additional regulation of chemical pesticides for organic farming and produce.
Genetically Modified Organisms: We will have to devote an entire blog to this one! Stay tuned…
Most Common Deficiencies: Minerals & Vitamins
The most common deficiencies in the United States are iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate, and magnesium. Each person has different needs that depend on diet, metabolism, and genetic makeup. To pinpoint your personal nutritional and determine an ideal dosage schedule, it is best to consult a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist.
These essential building blocks are not produced in the body, and must come from your diet. They play a crucial role in every bodily function, from the largest organs to the smallest cell. They aid in digestion, respiration, muscle development, skin health, fat burning, hair and nail growth, energy level, sleep, mood, and concentration. If the best foods available can no longer provide an adequate source of macro & micro nutrients, it’s obvious that supplementation is vital.
When supplementing a healthy diet, the goal is to make up for nutritional deficits that may have arisen through unsustainable farming practices. Adding vitamins and minerals does not mean a free pass to skip meals or eat junk food. Supplements should be taken on a regular basis, in addition to balanced meals. Mega doses have been shown to be ineffective and sometimes extremely dangerous. Proper balance is the key to good health.
More in-depth guides are coming soon where we’ll show you how these work, why we need them, and how to use them for natural health and vitality.