Pass me the berries and the nuts, and the beans, and the broccoli and the …
Almost daily a new study result comes out with the “solution” to eating healthy. Each time it seems we have to add yet another food to our daily servings.
If the supplement industry has it their way, soon we will be eating nothing but supplements, because getting all the foods we need every day is not that easy. Or is it?
Not according to a recent food convention for technologists, where the food presented was infused with health benefits. For example, there was a fish paste colored with lycopene, a phytochemical known to possess cancer fighting properties. There was rice infused with green tea, a highly potent antioxidant, and brownies with phosphatidylserin, a chemical compound that is said to enhance memory.
Food is being supplemented to be functional. Soon we can live off pills and bars, can’t we?
Food as food or food as medicine?
Many believe that health comes in a bottle of pills. Real food is no longer convenient enough in our busy lives, and fast junk food is, for many, a very last resort. The supplement industry is increasing its sales everyday, as we hope to give our body what it needs when we cannot get it from our food.
But what about food for pleasure and for nourishment? As we also know, the restaurant industry is doing great because our social life these days happens in restaurants. I even think that it’s our source of entertainment too.
Food as medicine is a very ancient solution for health and healing, and I still believe we need food to keep us truly nourished. A supplement can help support us in getting our daily dose of health, but it still needs to be just a supplement, not the solution. Many ask me if they can just eat the way they do and then take vitamins and supplements to get healthy. My answer is no.
How to choose a supplement
Look for supplements that are food-based. Some companies are good at seducing us with a great number of ingredients containing the “stuff we need.” The real issue, however, is can your body actually absorb it?
The question of supplementing versus eating
When we eat a food that is whole, the content of nutritional value is already “packaged” from nature that our body can recognize and absorb it. Many health claims have failed because once the supplement has been taken out of its natural environment (which we have seen in the case of calcium supplements), then the supporting substances that make it accessible to our body are no longer part of it and we therefore cannot absorb it. That doesn’t make it much of a health benefit, either.
When supplements become too much
With regard to our health, it is not true that more of a good thing is better, especially not with supplements. Most people on a healthy daily diet get their basic needs covered, and a supplement might help them get that extra dose that makes a difference. Others eat so many supplements every day that it becomes a meal in itself often resulting in too much work for the liver and strange sensations of imbalances and cravings in our bodies.
Choose supplements that are made from food that you would be eating anyway. My personal favorite is a daily green drink that is a powdered version of the greens I would otherwise drink in a juice or put on my plate. There are many on the market and some have so many ingredients in them that it’s another version of super food overload. I suggest choosing one that is from organic sources, well harvested, and freeze-dried to preserve the wellness of the plant nutrients.
One of the most health intense potions is wheatgrass, which was made popular by Ann Wigmore when she used it for healing very ill patients. Many swear by their daily dose of green grass for energy, wellbeing, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Omega 3 fatty acids, also known as EPA/DHA
This is one that we often can get enough of with a healthy daily diet, but since it’s considered such an important factor in an anti-inflammatory diet, many animal food eaters are not balanced in their fatty acid intake and could therefore use the aid of the supplement. The preferred supplement is the omega 3 healthy fatty acid source in a liquid form of the foods we would be otherwise be eating. That would include flaxseeds, and other seeds such as hemp, chia, sunflower, and pumpkin, and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and avocado. Also try dark leafy greens, and fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, and herring. Other fish also contains omega 3 fatty acids.
So, eat your food, enjoy your food, take your supplements when you need them, but do get your nourishment from all that feeds you, your body, your soul, your heart, and your health. Coming to that place of being truly nourished, fulfilled, and healthy is surely not a scientific answer of more supplements.
Everyone knows their own mind, but they do not know what it is to feel fulfilled. It is almost a mystical statement.—Arnaud Desjardins