Monday, April 18, 2011

Is Our Food Really Food?

Good nutrition is vital to health, no if, ands, or buts about it. Remember the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? We NEED good nutrition for our bodies to function properly. Unfortunately for us, eating our fruits and vegetables like grandma told us to just isn't enough anymore. Considering our food supply it is no wonder that we, as a nation, are suffering from so many chronic conditions. Our immune systems have been disarmed. It would be like sending a soldier into battle with no ammo, and no method of communication. That would be considered homicide, and yet we are doing this to our own bodies on a daily basis. Our food has become ammo against us, instead of the tools our bodies need to stay healthy.

But wait, how can this be if we are one of the most obese nations in the world? Obviously there is no lack of food, right? Wrong! There is no lack of calories, no lack of things to put in our mouths, and no lack of dishes that delight the taste buds. We are overweight, but we are also woefully undernourished. The answer the government has given us is to eat more. A quick look at the latest info at will just confuse the average reader. But the bottom line is: eating more is not the answer!

First we need to establish the problem. It is really very simple. There is a lack of real foods with real nutrition. Not too many years ago 90% of the purchases made in groceries stores were non-processed. We bought fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh cuts of meat, fresh milk, dairy products, and eggs. Today, only a few decades later, 90% of what we spend our money on comes in a box, bag, or can and the majority of the ingredients are words we can't pronounce. These provide us with calories, and are "fortified" with vitamins and minerals (in an attempt to replace what has been processed out) but they really don't provide us with absorbable nutrition.

It might seem that the answer is simple too: just buy unprocessed foods. Follow grandma's suggestions, eat more fruits and vegetables, and everything will be fine, right? Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as it seems. Even the non-processed foods in our stores have problems because of the nature of our society. Produce purchased from the grocery store is shipped from hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away. Why is this a problem? They have to be picked long before they ripen so they don't have the nutrients that we expect them to have. Some of the statistics are staggering. Broccoli, for instance, has lost 80% of the calcium just since the 1940's. It takes 53 peaches today to provide the same amount of vitamin A you could get in just 2 peaches back when the baby boomers were growing up. These are just a couple of examples. The depletion percentages vary, but suffice it to say that we are not eating what our grandparents ate.

It isn't just about green harvesting either. The soils are used for mass production which strips the soil of all the nutrients. Chemicals are added back in to "fertilize", but those chemicals are only resupplying the three nutrients needed to make the produce LOOK pretty. The other seventy+ nutrients are ignored, and hence even the real food has less nutritional value than it used to. Many of us are turning to organic to avoid the harmful chemicals used to fertilize and make farming easier. Organic is definitely better. Chemicals used to kill bugs and weeds can't be healthy. Organic doesn't really provide a total answer either though because organics are also green harvested and are now being mass produced. They are just as nutrient depleted as their pesticide, herbicide, chemically fed cousins. If you are going to spend your buying dollars on organic, at least take the time to find a local organic farm, and get your money's worth.

Our simplest answer up until recently has been to supplement, but there is still a problem. The issue with supplements, especially vitamins and minerals, is that most of them are synthetic and your body doesn't recognize them as food. With some supplements we are doing more harm than good. Since our bodies don't recognize the synthetic versions, our filter organs (like the kidneys and liver) are just bombarded with more things to filter out. Calcium based kidney stones are most likely from supplemental calcium, and the calcium that is added into foods to "fortify" them. Many savvy shoppers have turned to the natural, whole-food, supplements which are definitely a better choice. Even those are only 80-85% absorbable though, and the cost can be prohibitive. At one time I was spending more than $300 per month on supplements just for myself.

Personally, I have found what I consider to be the best answer available. In 2009 I found the super food of super foods – Moringa. The glitch I ran into is that it doesn't grow near where I live. There are many different varieties of Moringa and it grows in many different countries, but the most nutrient dense variety is the Moringa Oliefera, and it grows up to 5 times more nutrient dense in southern India. As I continued to research, I realized that you need to ingest all the different parts of the tree to get the full benefit. I later stumbled upon a source of Moringa Oliefera that grows in Southern India, contains all the beneficial parts of the tree, is 100% bioavailable, still enzymatically alive, hasn't been heated or denatured in any way, and processed according to UK organic regulations. Now, regardless of what I am consuming, I know that my body is getting the proper nutrition to be armed and ready for the daily battle to remain healthy in a world where the food we eat isn't really food anymore.

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